Saturday, July 7, 2012

Road Trip Day 9: San Diego, CA

We left good as time as it was, it was time to move on. We headed towards San Diego via I-15. There was a lot more traffic today and as many times as I have bashed Indiana drivers as a chicagoland driver, I'm ready to go after California drivers. Holy crap they are horrible! When it says "slow traffic keep right", they stay left. They all pass from the right, try to mush themselves into spots where there is NO ROOM for them to merge, all because they think that they are going to get through the traffic if they pass two cars. UGH! After having a near death experience and almost putting my car in the ditch because these people have no sense of driving skills or how to properly use their breaks, I cruised in the right lane, letting them pass at will, and taking my time. The best part was that when we got to agriculture control, they were all stuck (dead stop) in the left lane, while those of us in the right lane sailed on by and had multiple lanes to go through the check in. It was awesome.

So, now that I have that out of the way, we made the rest of the drive to San Diego without incident and checked into our hotel near Mission Beach called The Pearl. It's a quaint, boutique hotel that only has 23 rooms. It's great though because there is a small pool in the courtyard that is surrounded by the rooms, and a bar/restaurant area opens up to the pool, so there are nightly events, great drink specials, and good food. We threw our bags in our room, said hello to Barnaby (a beta fish lives in every room, and he's ours), and headed down for happy hour. The weather is gorgeous here and a welcome break from the heat that we've been in for the past 9 days. We chatted with a couple of the servers to get the lay of the land and then headed out to Ocean Beach.
Barnaby, our fishmate

I've never been to San Diego before, so this was a welcome surprise. People are very laid back and the city isn't hard to get around. Traffic is pretty minor, so you can get to most places in less than 15 minutes. Plus, did I mention the weather?!

Sunset at Ocean Beach
We headed to Pizza Port, located in the Ocean Beach area, grabbed a parking spot and went in. It wasn't what we were expecting, but not in a bad way. There are a bunch of long tables, you order your food, grab a seat where ever, and they call your name when your pizza is ready. Easy, simple, and a good way to meet new people. We were lucky enough to snag a couple seats at the small we sampled a bunch of beer, had an amazing pizza and some garlic bread...all for $20. AMAZING! Who knew you could eat in California for those prices. This place might actually be okay! Feeling full, but happy with our first successful stop, we walked a couple blocks to check out Ocean Beach as the sun was setting. There were lots of surfers and the breeze off the water was rather cool, but it was peaceful. Good way to start the trip in SoCal.

Sunset at Ocean Beach
Our next stop, since it was still pretty early, was Mission Brewery, which is located downtown near Petco Stadium, where the Padres play. There was a game, so getting around the streets with closures and whatnot was a bit of a hassle, but with literally no traffic, we found a parking spot and walked a couple blocks to the brewery. It's located in an old warehouse, so as you can imagine, cement floor, high ceiling, big open space. It was great! They had a ridiculously huge bar area, some high-top tables, you could see all of their brewing equipment, and there were games for entertainment. The bartenders were super nice and helpful and the beer was great. Some of the beers even kicked our ass on the hop factor, yikes! We just split a sampler, got some ideas for the next day, and bid adieu to our new friends.
The Pearl, our boutique hotel

It was a successful night, and we'd had a long day with the drive and all, so we headed back to the hotel, driving along the bay, which was really pretty at night. Our hotel was party central when we got back, living up to it's nightspot label, but we were so tired that the thumping music and screaming people couldn't keep us up! Good night San Diego...until tomorrow!

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