The NCAA was nice enough to put the Nebraska-USC game in San Diego. My brother attended Nebraska and is a die-hard Husker fan so he and his wife took the midnight train from Kingman, AZ to Fullerton, CA where I picked them up at 7 a.m.
The game was at 5 p.m. so we had all day to go 100 miles so we took the Pacific Coast Highway most of the way. Perfect Saturday morning – all the locals were out jogging and biking. Views of the ocean constantly. We stopped in Del Mar to see the famous horse track (out of season).
We started getting hungry – stumbled across the storied Torrey Pines golf course and decided to have breakfast there. Everyone there was very friendly and we got a prime table overlooking the first tee. Food was reasonable and very tasty. Life doesn’t get much better!
From there, we headed to the Juan Cabrillo National Monument which is just east of San Diego on a Naval Base. Cabrillo was a Portuguese Explorer who has the distinction of being the first European to step foot on the west coast of the United States when he landed in San Diego Bay in 1542. Cabrillo was a genuine conquistador: first serving in the Portuguese naval military and then became an entrepreneur and permanent resident of Guatemala. He was a merchant and shipbuilder – building the ships that he sailed up the west coast. He died during the trip – from complications of a broken leg.
What a beautiful place! Great views of the ocean and of San Diego.
The Port Loma Naval Base also is home to the Fort Rosencrans National Cemetery – a very large and immaculately kept cemetery.
We left the cemetery and headed to our hotelthrough some winding streets which had more great views of San Diego.
We then went to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego to watch Duke play in their bowl game. Very upscale area – restaurants and sports bars everywhere.
After watching Duke suffer a heartbreaking loss to a much better Arizona State team, we headed to the Holiday Bowl. Our seats were up high and exposed to the wind and surrounded by USC fans. I expected the game to be played in balmy weather – I was very mistaken. It was a cold and windy 50 degrees.
The pregame had Navy Seals parachute in – they put on quite a show and a flyover from old aircraft. The introductory picture showed the impressive American flag to honor military service men and women during the singing of the National Anthem. Halftime had the requisite high school bands and a fireworks show. A lot of pageantry.
After the 1Q, we found a friend of my brother’s who was sitting in ground level seating with extra seats in his section and no security guards. And more importantly – the section had a wind break around it. We upgraded!!!
Like Duke, Nebraska battled to the end. Like Duke, Nebraska also suffered a heartbreaking loss. But it was a great game!
We took the trolley to Qualcomm Park (used to be Jack Murphy Stadium). We and most of the other 50K fans took the trolley back also. The line for the trolley looked horrendous and it was cold but it took only 30 minutes to get on a train.
Sunday morning, we explored the Hillcrest section of San Diego (just north of Balboa Park) for breakfast. We had a leisurely breakfast. Not as upscale or touristy as the Gaslamp Quarter- a bit more character perhaps.
Onto Yuma! In search of another stamp at the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Site, which apparently is not a very busy site. The stamp was last used on Nov 6 – approximately 7 weeks ago. What is the significance of Yuma Crossing: it was the only viable crossing point of the Colorado River for a thousand miles for the early Indian Tribes and the explorers of the before 1700. Shipping routes were optimized to bring goods into Port Isabel, Mexico and then up the Colorado River to Yuma instead of to San Diego and then overland.
From Yuma, a 3.5 hour drive put us in Kingman about 10 p.m. – 46 hours after my brother and his wife started their journey. A busy 46 hours!