Days One and Two: San Diego, California (1975)

RetroSign1-1975DAYS 1 and 2 (San Diego)

In 1975, when Mom and Dad announced they were taking me and my little brother Kurt on a first-ever trip to California and Arizona, I thought: “Neat! Disneyland!”

From Honolulu, we flew Northwestern Airlines (now defunct) to LAX, then transferred to a Delta flight to San Diego.

“Google My Maps” is a handy map-charting tool for retracing old routes you might have traveled. Map accuracy is only limited by the accuracy of the sites you described in your Travel Journal when you were 11 years old. This is what I found:

Map data (c) 2016 Google, INEGI
Map data (c) 2016 Google, INEGI. Click for interactive Google Map.

San Diego, California, was the first major city we visited. First stop was the San Diego Zoo, which includes a children’s petting zoo. At the snake display, I wrote: “Some of them were ugly, ugly, uggggly!” There’s always a goat nearby, which “stole a paper from somebody’s pocket and ate it”. And, of course, the orangutans: “I saw one pick up some manure and put it in his mouth and eat it. Yuck!”

ScenicDrive-SIGNFor a good overview of San Diego, drive your car on the “52 Mile Scenic Drive” along the Pacific Coast. (San Diego has apparently added another seven miles as the route is now called the “59 Mile Scenic Drive“). Just follow the scenic road signs, though my journal does note: “Boy, what a ride. We got on the trail then lost it, found, lost, found, lost, then found it.” We eventually drove by or through:

• Balboa Park (a 1,200 acre urban cultural park)

• Downtown San Diego

• Harbor Island and Shelter Island (manmade peninsulas created in 1961 and 1934, respectively) SanDiegoBay&ShelterIsland

• Cabrillo National Monument (commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay in 1542)

• Ocean Beach, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach (they must have run out of names for the beaches)

• Soledad Park (on the hillside of La Jolla, offering beautiful views of San Diego)

• University of California at San Diego

• La Jolla (an affluent seaside community within San Diego)

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