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2013-52 Week 16 II

Continued from Part I.

So when we last left, Jess and I were leaving Disneyland and heading south for an overnight stay in San Diego. We used Priceline’s mystery hotel to get a four-star hotel for sixty percent off and wound up getting a night at the Omni hotel. When we booked the room and the map came up I knew immediately which hotel it was; it was the hotel that connected to Petco Park, the home stadium of the San Diego Padres. We actually considered going to see a game, as the Rockies would be in town playing that night, but decided against it once a major brawl broke out between the Dodgers and Padres the night before, with one of their players charging the mound on an obviously unintentional hit by pitch and knocking one of our pitchers out for two months when he slammed into the pitcher’s shoulder. We weren’t willing to contribute any money to the Padres’ coffers after that. Still, it was a great location and guaranteed a unique experience, so we were excited.

Of course, being downtown San Diego, I had to relinquish our beloved and slightly dinged Yaris to the hotel and pay for the privilege of parking my vehicle somewhere. We went to the front desk and had our initial two double bed regular room upgraded to a king bed premium room by the very nice staff. We were on the 19th floor which, being in Southern California, didn’t thrill me, but I figured the odds of anything happening were minuscule. Thankfully (and hopefully obviously at this point) I was right. We got in the elevator and prepared to head up 19 floors, but just as the elevator was starting to pick up speed it then slowed to a stop again to pick up a very well, shall we say, lubricated party heading up the 21st floor penthouse. Finally the elevator shot us up to our destination and we emerged; I immediately noticed the building being a little more shaky than I would have liked. It seemed to die down once we were in the room, and it took a few hours for me to realize that was probably an effect of the express elevator on my legs more than any building instability issues. But back to the room, as it was one of the nicest that Jess and I have stayed in yet.


Above, from the front door looking in. Below, from the window looking back.


The room was a fairly standard size, if not a little larger, but all the items inside of it were top quality. What you were really getting your money’s worth for, however, was the view. I liked it so much so that I took pictures when we first got there and then again at night. We were directly over the Convention Center, with the Coronado bridge to our left:


And the south side of Downtown to our right:


Here are both again, from a different spot, later that night:



And I definitely had to take picture straight down, turns out nineteen stories is a long way up:


And then again, at night:


One of the most exciting random things, however, was that our room overlooked a small park behind the convention center, a small park that would host the finish line of the Ragnar Relay the next week.


We decided to hang around the room for a little while, as we knew there would be traffic coming into the area for the upcoming Padres game and didn’t want to have to fight it to get out. As the game was getting underway, we decided to give it a little more time before heading to dinner, but we definitely wanted to explore the hotel a little and to see if any of the action at the stadium was visible to us. The hotel is shaped like a puffed out sail, with one long round edge on one side, two skinny sides, and a flat backside. Our room was on the round outside edge, and the stadium was on a straight line behind us towards the front door of the room. We explored the hallway and found our way to the opposite side of the building and a large window which looked out over:


Yeah, we could see the ballpark.

We hung around for a few batters and hoped to see a ball hit into the outfield, as most of the infield was blocked from our view by the overhang which shaded the third base line seats. I did take the opportunity to take a picture of how far up we were again, and also the sky-bridge that connected the hotel and the ball park.


One of the Padre hitters fulfilled our request and drove a ball up into the air heading for deep left center field. We could track the ball perfectly as it made an arc that completed just over the fence out of the jumping reach of the center fielder. While I missed the fireworks in the first picture (you can see the trails on the left side of the picture, actually just behind where ball landed), I did not miss the columns of fire in the second.



Our curiosity satiated, we decided to explore the rest of the hotel. They took the connection to the stadium seriously, as I have nearly two dozen pictures of memorabilia that they have scattered through the first few floors between the restaurants, meeting rooms, and public spaces. And I only took pictures of a third to a half of it. Don’t worry, I won’t inflict them all on you here; when I get some time I’ll upload them to an album in the photo section of the site. I will share this one, which is one of the earliest baseballs used in the late 1800s.


We also found the roof top (sixth floor or so, not the penthouse) sitting area and pool, which both looked great at night. It was a little chilly, so no one was taking advantage of them at the time (well, there was one guy on his iPad in the Jacuzzi, thankfully he didn’t make the picture).



Satisfied that our wandering had finally killed enough time to get us out of the majority of traffic, we went down to retrieve our car from the valet. We then made our way to the western side of San Diego towards a place that one of Jess’ applicants directed us to, a barbecue joint named Phil’s (Point Loma edition, apparently the original spot). We were scolded for eating our way around San Diego (Hodad’s, Pizzeria Luigi, etc) and never having tried Phil’s, although that was primarily because we had never heard of it. Apparently we were the only ones who hadn’t however, as there is always a line out the door and a webcam that monitors said line. Not only that, but the building itself had helpful signs posted outside:


After waiting in line for the twenty minutes listed on the sign (it might have been slightly shorter) and talking to the nice hostess at the front of the line, we made our selections from the menu and then got some extra things to try. We might have gone a little overboard, but there were so many things that looked interesting:


Phil’s is best known for their baby back pork ribs and I’ll admit, when I first started eating them I wasn’t that big a fan. Jess asked how I liked them and I expressed my opinion, and she looked at me like I had gone insane. Turns out I was eating a slightly over-done end, and I’ll tell you from the second rib on I was hooked. They were definitely as good as advertised. Don’t need to get the beef rib or the Caesar again (The beef rib was good, but overshadowed by the baby back ribs. The Caesar just didn’t stand out and the dressing was a little weak), but everything else was well worth it. While it is certainly a tempting proposition with friends already down there and gorgeous weather, Jess and I are glad we don’t live in San Diego as we’d both weigh double what we weigh now.

After wrapping up our BBQ-fest, we adjourned back to the hotel. Going to bed, I found out why there were complimentary earplugs in our night stands, the train tracks that ran below our window were still in service and very active. One long train stopped for over a half-an-hour under our window and across an intersection, and you could hear the warning klaxon even up in our room. It finally cleared out however, and I was able to get some sleep (Jess had brought her usual earplugs and was well asleep before I was). Morning came and we spent as much time as we could in the room before checkout just before noon (pretty generous since check-in time started at three pm). On the way to our next destination Jess saw a park off the freeway that we decided to stop at, and take a little hike. Jess found a tree that had a fun branch and, from that branch spotted what we initially though was a snake, but wound up being a lizard with really tiny arms and legs (I think that’s a skink?).



It was a lovely green area and a nice little walk to stretch our legs after driving and lounging for most of two days.


After that it seemed appropriate to continue the weekend’s minor baseball theme, getting lunch at an outdoor mall near UCSD and then catching “42” at the Arclight there. It was a really good movie, the only complaints I heard going in was that it made the story a bit more mythical than it might have actually happened. I’m fine with that, I go to movies for my hero journeys and “42” really delivered. Having a connection via rooting for the Dodgers all my life certainly helped. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, I definitely recommend it.

Finally it was time to top off our trip with a sojourn to Hodad’s, since Jess was going to miss my visit with my Ragnar van the next week (spoiler alert: our van didn’t make it to Hodad’s because they randomly decided to close from 11 am to 5 pm the next Saturday!). We had our usually awesome food, and I found that my name made it up on the wall!


Why Nebraska? I don’t know either.

With many great memories and full tummies (we probably won’t be doing Phil’s and Hodad’s on consecutive days again . . . whew!), we finally had to head back from our lightning trip down to San Diego. On our way back up the Interstate I saw five floating lights, which I remarked was probably LAX’s holding pattern. As we got closer Jess was the first to identify them, they were actually the floating fire lanterns like you see in Tangled (and, you know, apparently, real life). They drifted over the freeway and on past in a few minutes, much like our trip did. We had a lot of fun in a short amount of time, and spent Sunday resting and recuperating to get fully charged for the week ahead after many hectic ones.

Next up, though probably not tomorrow as I’m pretty booked, Ragnar!

Weight: 226 Loss: 4 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 204.5 miles (+0 miles) Last year-to-date: 127 miles – Words-to-date: 30251 (+1908)

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