Saturday, September 22, 2007

San Diego Honeymoon

It took nearly four months, but Tash and I were finally able to get away on a honeymoon to San Diego. We booked our train and hotel reservations at the last minute and headed south from the Portland train station on 9-11. We would like to share some of our honeymoon photos with our family and friends.

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean near Santa Barbara, CA. I took this photo from the observation car of our Amtrak train at 60 mph.

We stayed at the Sofia Hotel in Downtown San Diego and ate some great meals at the nearby Currant Restaurant. The Sofia was known as the Pickwick Hotel in its early days.

Our first tourist activity was a visit to the San Diego Natural History Museum to view the Dead Sea Scrolls. The musuem is located in the middle of beautiful Balboa Park.

Next we took the obligatory two-hour boat tour of San Diego Bay where we sailed under the Coronado Bridge, observed sea lions sunning themselves, and watched America's Cup yachts practice their maneuvers. The Bay was bustling with more activity than usual because of preparations for the Red Bull Air Races World Series (September 21 & 22).

A genuine America's Cup sailing vessel practices off our stern.

Lots of pleasure craft of all types were enjoying the sunny weather.

The San Diego skyline from a mile out in the Bay. The tall buildings shown here are part of the 1,625-room Grand Hyatt Hotel.

The Bridge to Coronado is in the distance. We passed under it and were in the process of turning around to head back to San Diego when I took this shot.

Birdies to the left and sea lions to the right. Notice the difference in weight displacement of these docks.

Old Town was the original downtown section before the Gas Lamp district (and eventually Broadway) took over as the center of activity in San Diego. We had lunch on the outdoor patio of Cafe Coyote where they have the biggest margaritas that I have ever seen.

A view of the train station from the Embarcadero. Our hotel was a 10-minute walk from here.

On Sunday we visited the Faith Community Foursquare Church, where we heard a wonderful message from Pastor Mark. Afterwards, our cab driver Tsgey (pronounced: sig-guy)took us back to Balboa park to see the exhibits at the Museum of Man. This photo was taken from the walkway that crosses from the main exhibits of The Museum of Man to the special "Journey to the Copper Age" exhibit.

There was no performance on the afternoon that we visited the Globe Theatre, but Tash & I enjoyed it as a rest stop nonetheless. It was another gorgeous day in the park.

We had lunch at the Prado Restaurant in Balboa Park, with its interesting decor (witness the antler light fixtures), before taking the double decker city sightseeing bus back to our hotel.

There were flowers everywhere, of course. This photo was taken at the train station in San Luis Obispo.

A view of the Gas Lamp District where Wyatt Earp apparently spent his later years running gambling halls and a brothel, so we were informed.

This is a view of our hotel from the tour bus as it traveled down Broadway, which is San Diego's modern day main street. One thing we didn't see was a San Diego Padres baseball game. The Padres were in town, but they are in a playoff race with the Giants in town (and Barry Bonds). So I figured trying to get tickets would not be worth the effort. By the way, San Diego was the last Major League Baseall city on my list to visit in my lifetime. I previously have landed in all of the other 27 at one time or another, and have seen games in more than half of them.

The most scenic part of our train trip, in my opinion, was the crossing of the Cuesta Grade (shown in this photo) between Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo in California. Here the tracks descended over 1,000 feet in 11 miles. The structure in this photo is the Stenner Creek Trestle, which was built on the East Coast and shipped around Cape Horn to be assembled. The descent included sweeping horseshoe curves where we could see the entire train from the observation car.

The train skirted the California coastline for more than 100 miles giving us some very nice views of the Pacific.

This old Mission in San Miguel, CA, located just north of Paso Robles, about half-way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, was damaged by a recent earthquake. The cracks in the building rendered the Mission San Miguel Arcangel, founded in 1771, unusable until extensive repairs can be completed. From Oakland to Los Angeles, the railroad tracks follow the same route of the old mission road, "El Camino Real", which means "The Royal Road". From 1769 to 1823, Fransican Friar Junipiero Serra founded a chain of 21 missions and four mission chapels along this road from San Diego to Sonoma. Each was built to be one day's horseback ride from the next. Serra became known as the "Apostle of California". This was one of Father Serra's original missions along El Camino Real. The photo was taken out of our roomette window at 45 mph.

We had a two hour wait in Klamath Falls, OR while they replaced some railrod ties on top of the Cascades. I found a comfortable spot to get some fresh air.

Here's something we had never seen before...a stash of railroad spikes.

Last evening at 7 PM, we finished where we the train station in Portland, Oregon.

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