South To The Sun
"A Winter Break trip to San Diego"
Friday dawned foggy and rainy. Sam and I had an appointment at
UCSD university for a prospective student tour while Dawn was going to
meet with her brother Tom, who had flown in early for a business
conference the night before.
Sam and I left around 10 to drive up to the campus for
our 11 o'clock appointment. Things were slow at the parking permit
machine as the wet weather made it act up and not take dollar bills
correctly. Finally we got our permit and went to find parking.
Our ticket was good in any 'B', 'C', or 'V' lot. We found many
open 'A' spaces but none of the others.
We tried the parking
garage which was a big mistake and after making our way all the way to
the top and back down again finding no places we went NW to the fringes
of the campus thoroughly frustrated. We found a spot in a lot over
by some student housing just as the clock struck 11.
Unfortunately, we were still a long walk across the unfamiliar campus to
We passed through the engineering school area and
finally found the center of campus. Asking at the information
booth we were told there was no such place as 'Triton Center' but we
should head through a couple adjacent buildings to student services.
On our way there we came across a group taking a tour. It wasn't
our tour but we tagged along until we got to student services and the
sign proclaiming we were at 'Triton Center'. Since it was now
11:30 we asked the girl at the desk what our options were. She
gave us a map (which we could have used at the start), and told us to
head to the library and the turn left. She felt we should run into
our tour group at some point.
Following her instructions took us to the quite cool
library building, but we never saw any sign of a group to join. By
now we felt we had conducted our own tour sufficiently and after some
shopping for UCSD sweat shirt in the bookstore we headed back to the
As it turned out we arrived back home before Tom had
even left to come over to our condo. He arrived early in the
afternoon and we all had a good time catching up on each others family
news and enjoying what now was a nice sunny afternoon.
It was nice to be at the condo where we had plenty of
space to relax and enjoy the conversation. Before we knew it
evening had come and it was time for dinner.
We decided to all go to dinner at 'World Famous' just
a ways south along the boardwalk. We found the restaurant
eventually and once we dropped the car off at the valet (parking is just
terrible along the boardwalk) we we seated after just a short wait.
Not bad for a Friday night with no reservations.
Everyone had a good filling meal
along with lot's of fun was had by all. We finished up the evening
back at the condo with 'Cold Stone' ice cream for desert.
Saturday dawned a beautiful day, the nicest of the week, perfect for our
departure. After finishing up packing and the necessary cleaning
chores we left just after checkout time, 11am. We dropped off the
keys, made a quick stop at the store and then headed across town to the
airport. As we had some time to kill before our 2:10pm flight we
stopped at a park and relaxed while we soaked up the warm sun.
Nick and Sam spent time building sand sculptures.
The rental car return was quick as was check in and
security. They did have little trouble figuring out what Nicks
laser etched crystal block was in the xray machine.
Soon we were boarding our flight to Portland Or.
Flying free as we were you don't get the pick of the best flights and
our return route included a stop over. Once on the plane it turned
out that we had the perfect empty seat in our row of three and were able
to relocate so Nick could get the window seat he wanted. It was a
quick though turbulent 2 hour flight and we touched down in Portland.
We quickly made our way to the Horizon gates and were able to get
re-booked onto a 5:30pm flight instead of the 6:30pm we originally had.
The flight back to Seattle was a new experience for
the kids on a small Q200 40 seat prop plane. Once back on the
ground in the chilly northwest we free'd the car from the Doug Fox
parking lot and were soon at home. Dawn and I then drove up to
Dennis's and rescued him from the terror dogs Jenny and Jessy.
The Day After
Sunday found us settling back into the routine of life, music at church,
laundry, and housework. We did decide to finally go do something
we haven't done for a long time. The Suburban is getting a bit
long in the tooth and is not the best choice for daily commuting to the
office. It was time to get a new vehicle.
I'd been looking for something different for a while.
I still wanted a very capable vehicle, just smaller with better gas
mileage and a bit more fun. There are a lot of midsize SUV's on
the market, but only one that truly is a do anything, go anywhere
vehicle that is also a convertible. Dawn and I decided to go for a
test drive and of course were hooked once we spent some time cruising
with the wind in our hair.
We returned later in the evening with our newest
addition, a Silver 2008
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with full 'Sahara' trim.
This is the 4 door version of the completely
redesigned classic Jeep. While it's still the most off road
capable vehicle in the entire Jeep line, the 'Sahara' package plus
some other additional options brings a nice city style to the classic
For those who care, it has a 205hp 3.8l V-6 with
Command Trac 4wd, a heavy duty rear axle and Trac Lock limited slip rear
differential. This is coupled to a 4 speed automatic transmission.
All the usual off road gear such as skid plates (including a couple
optional ones), Electronic stability control, and tire pressure
monitoring are on it. Add to this 4 wheel anti lock disk brakes
and the 18" aluminum wheels with oversize tires and it is ready to go
anywhere. Fog lamps and tinted windows along with tubular side
steps complete the package.
It has the dual top option so we have both a 3 piece
freedom hard top and the usual fold down soft top. It has the tow
package, remote start, and even removable doors. With the top
down, the doors off, and the windshield folded down you have true open
Bringing some upscale creature comforts to it's rugged
reputation, it has power windows and locks, remote keyless entry and
security system, air conditioning, Reclining front seats and 60-40 split
rear seat. The adjustable seating, interior trim, and carpet makes
it very civilized and comfortable.
It has the high end MyGIG stereo with a 7 speaker 368w
infinity sound system including sub woofer. The touch screen MyGIG has
AM, FM, and Sirius Satellite radio; a CD/DVD player; a MP3 player port;
and a 20gig hard disk you can load your music up on. It even plays
movies. Mix in a full GPS Navigation system and it does everything
but drive you to your destination.
We look forward to lots of fun adventures in the new
Jeep. We still have the Suburban to pull the boat, and for the time
being Dawn still has the Dodge van.