Road Trip Part 9: A Month in San Diego, Including a Trip to Joshua Tree

By the time we hit California, we were pretty sure we were going to stay in San Diego for a month and regroup.  We were fat, out of shape, and needed some semblance of normal life.  Since San Diego was at the end of the potential cities loop (minus Austin) and is known for its great weather, it seemed liked the perfect place to settle down for a bit.

I spent quite a bit of time looking for places to stay - Airbnb, Craigslist, Property Management companies, etc.  Airbnbs lack privacy for the most part, and the ones I contacted all told me the price on Airbnb for a month was wrong; Craigslist is mostly scams (I had one guy asking me to wire money; it looked legit, was a property management company, etc., but the apartment number didn't exist in the building); and property management companies were a bit expensive.  We ended up using a property management company - we needed fully furnished and short term, which aren't the easiest things to find.  We were able to meet with the broker on the Sunday we got into town, see a few places, and "move-in" that afternoon.  The location was right downtown in the Gaslamp District - if it was summertime, we were right near Petco and would've gone to plenty of Padres games; instead, I watched the ALCS and World Series on television, which, quite frankly, was amazing since everything is three hours earlier.  East coasters missed a hell of a World Series because the games didn't end until 1:00am.

Across the street from our apartment - we were right in the heart of downtown.

It was really nice to have a home and some space.  Our building had underground parking, a fitness center, and a grill, all of which were used frequently.  Our balcony was right on a busy street (6th Floor), which was pretty loud, but it was nice to be in a city, and we were right near the waterfront and amazing views.  The only things we really needed to buy were a good chef's knife and a grill basket; all other kitchen and cooking items were in the kitchen.  Adam got really good at grilling, and I just need to say that the maintenance and cleaning people in the building cleaned the hell out of that grill weekly - it was so clean!

Dia de los muertos in Old Town.  Adam was excited to see that the holiday is catching on in the USA!

San Diego

Sunsets here were pretty incredible.

View from our balcony

ALMOST reminiscent of sunsets in San Juan del Sur.  Almost.

Downtown skyline from the Coronado ferry. 
Adam rented a bike and did a 21 mile loop on Coronado and back over the land bridge - so proud of him for doing that!

Since we were paying for the month, we didn't really want to spend any nights away - if we did, we probably would've gotten to Death Valley or the Grand Canyon.  Instead, the only day trip we really took was to Joshua Tree National Park on a day that the building had the water turned off for pipe repairs.  It was about a three hour drive, so we packed lunches and water and headed out, entering the park in the southern part/Colorado Desert and exiting at the western part/Mojave Desert.  It's pretty cool to see the change from the Colorado to the Mojave, with different plants and trees growing in each.

Joshua Tree National Park

Colorado Desert

Cholla Cactus Garden

Cacti as far as the eye can see

Cholla cactus

The sky in Joshua Tree National Park is SO blue.

A Joshua Tree!  They don't really appear until White Tank.

Skull Rock.  Very crowded and not very exciting.

Keys View

Coachella Valley behind me

Coachella Valley

Yep, it's beautiful.  The high season for Joshua Tree starts in October and lasts until May - the summer months are too hot.

On our way back, we stopped in Palm Springs for dinner.   It was only the second meal we'd had out since we'd started our diet/exercise regimen, and frankly, it wasn't worth it.  It was a barbecue restaurant, and it was meh.  But, we made better choices (salad for me, no mac and cheese side for Adam), and it was important for me to be able to eat out and not go crazy.

Palm Springs

Most of the rest of our time in San Diego was spent exploring neighborhoods, exercising, cooking, doing work stuff, and updating this blog.  I was determined to be completely caught up by the time we left, and dammit, I did it!  The more recent posts may be a bit less in-depth than Adam's posts and my earlier posts from Jamaica, but I'm pretty proud that I got caught up.  Now the trick is to stay current for the last month or so of our trip!

Cocktail after we were 3/4 of the way done with it. 
Liquid nitrogen in the base to keep it cold.

We did splurge on one meal - we were so good all month and decided to go to Juniper & Ivy (from Richard Blais of Top Chef fame) the last Saturday night we were in San Diego.  It was wonderful, but our stomachs had shrunk so much that we took half of the main course to go and didn't get dessert.  Adam struggled more than me, and while it sucked, it was a good thing that we're definitely eating less and stopping when we're full.

Uni roll and yellowtail tostada

Pork belly with a mango miso and radishes.  This was my favorite dish.

Short rib with a lobster raviolo.  Delicious.

So we head out this morning (Tuesday) for Austin, Texas, with a stop in New Mexico (we'll be getting breakfast burritos on our way out of San Diego).  It's going to be two long days of driving to get there (and losing an hour each day en route to the Central Time Zone).  After Austin, we'll go to Augusta, Georgia to spend Thanksgiving with Lauren - it'll be the first time since early college that Adam will be spending Thanksgiving with a member of his family!  Right now the plan is to be back in NJ in time for Christmas - we'll see where the roads take us.


  1. Or, if you're my Dad, meaning you are a lifelong Dodgers fan and you're retired, you just stay up for all the games no matter how late they go.

    1. Uh, yikes. Those were some LATE games for the east coast...