We are loving it here in sunny San Diego! After spending a few rainy days in Washington State and the weekend in cold little Logan, Utah, it’s nice to be in a place of palm trees. Sunday after the morning session of General Conference, Aaron and I drove straight from Logan to Draper to say a quick hello to my parents and switch out our rain jackets for swimming suits & sandals. We nibbled on some left over Olive Garden (have you tried the Steak Gorgonzola?! It’s delectable) then off we went. Sunday night we boarded at the Virgin River Hotel & Casino which was actually nicer than where we stayed at for our first year anniversary — haha! We’re cheap. Monday morning began bright and early with our remaining excursion to California. Our original plan was Las Vegas but it didn’t take much flirting for me to convince Aaron to spend six more long hours in the car to come to…yes, SEA WORLD!!
But before I get to that, we are huge fans of airbnb, anyone else? We use it on all of our trips and we are staying in thee coolest spot! It’s like our own little oasis here in Lemon Grove, California at a home built in the 1880’s. Our abode for the week is actually a yurt in the backyard of this magnificent home. We have even our own little private pool and fancy outhouse! And the trees — I’ve never seen anything like it! The trees were planted around the same time the home was built so they have collected quite a bit of character over the centuries. We are blocks away from the trolley and a 20 minute drive from the beach. I’d totally considering myself a “glamper” this trip, considering our accommodations (“glamper”= “glamorous camper”).
After John, our welcoming host, helped us settle in on Monday afternoon, we took a 20 minute drive to Seaport Village. Thanks be to Whitney and Corbin, a few of our best friends, for introducing it to us! It’s exactly what it sounds like — a village by the board walk! It’s filled with shops, parks, Navy ships, restaurants, live music, and street vendors. We were there for several hours and wish we could have stayed longer. We ate fish tacos, famous fudge, and bought a postcard to send to my Grandpa Ray. I saw him only a week ago while we were visiting my family in Washington but I already miss him so I had to send some love his way.
Okay, now. SEA WORLD. We went there yesterday and it was awesome! I hadn’t been for about 18 years, give or take, and neither had Aaron so it was an easy choice of destination. The weather was perfect and the park was the least bit crowded so I think we learned that early Spring in the best time to come. We arrived about 50 minutes before it opened and we are so glad we did because we were first in line at the entrance! It definitely helped to plan out our activities because we were able to see everything there was to see. There are four main presentations: Killer Whale, Dolphin Days, Sea Lions LIVE, and Pets Rule!. My personal favorites were the dolphins and sea lions. Both were amazingly entertaining and to see how smart these animals are is an unbelievable experience. I can’t forget to mention the food, either! (Food is an essential part of traveling). Calypso Bay Smokehouse has mouthwatering BBQ chicken, ribs, and brisket but Aaron and I easily shared and entree and a side salad. #moneysaver You’ll see the coolest shark tanks, turtle reefs, arctic animals, and even have your own skyride across the bay! We loved that part, too. You get to sit (yay, after hours of walking) and enjoy the view of San Diego city and Mission Bay. There were a few other rides but we didn’t take them, except for the Manta. Ahhhh, SUCH A RUSH! It takes you “deep into the world of Rays” and you “soar, dive, and twist” through this double-launch roller coaster. Aaron, as I’ve said before, doesn’t handle heights or motion very well so I went by myself #noshame. I actually feel like a terrible wife for doing that, like, “See ya later, Aaron! I’m off to have fun without you!” He’s so nice to let me try all the things I want to try (and that applies to many more things, not just roller coasters). One more thing: make sure to have sunscreen and lots of water. We probably wouldn’t have survived without those items!
Next was Old Town, San Diego. Have you heard of it? YOU MUST GO IF YOU ARE EVER NEARBY! It’s a State Historic Park that has stories to tell on every corner about life in the Mexican and early American periods of 1821 to 1872. There is so much history and even more fiestas because San Diego was California’s first Spanish settlement before the American culture blended into it. Our favorite piece of Old Town though was Mormon Battalion Historic Site. As a Mormon, I’ve heard of the Battalion but haven’t known the actual story. It was really quite something to experience. Missionaries welcomed us as a small tour group gathered in the front room where we were given a small introduction to what the Mormon Battalion was. We “marched” room to room and discovered why this group of 543 Latter Day Saint men and women joined the U.S. Army in July 1846. What we found most interesting was how the Saints had been earnestly praying to the Lord for a way to travel west. They didn’t have the supplies, clothing, or food but when Captain James Allen came to them with an order from the U.S. President to join the war, Brigham Young believed this was the Lord’s answer to their prayers. It took insurmountable courage for these men to volunteer, but Brigham had promised that if they followed the Lord, they would be protected. Many wives couldn’t bear the thought of their husbands marching off to war so women volunteered to join as well and it was a blessing they went along because they were able to care for the handfuls of men who fell ill along their journey. Difficult as that was, they did not lose their faith in God. They kept pressing on with hope and determination to reach the ocean and fight in the war. Once they reached San Diego, however, there was no war to fight because the Mexican and American cultures became friends and the converging cultures transformed San Diego from a Mexican pueblo to an American settlement. The Lord had promised protection through their faith, and He did. Although they faced hardship along the way such as thirst, sickness, and even being charged and run over by a herd of bulls, the Lord withheld them from the war due to their faith to act.
This surely was a testament to me that the Lord truly knows us. He will answer us even in the most unsuspecting ways but it’s our choice to have faith that He will lead us where we want to be. I have loved having this time to spend with my sweetheart and to explore new cities, cultures, and people. Today we are taking a trolley tour all across San Diego and we will tour the USS Midway Museum. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
Until then, find the most out of your moments today. I’ll try to, too, even while navigating through city-life traffic!