Russ & Mary’s

49th Anniversary in San Diego, CA

February 9th thru 13th, 2022

Wednesday | February 9th

Travel Day

This is what we left…

It was cold and gray on Wednesday morning in good old Roseville, MN in February. It was also our 49th Anniversary and Mary’s 69th Birthday. It’s time to get the hell out of “Dodge”…





Good Morning,

First things first. I’d forgotten to give Gina my USB Backup mini-Drive to be swapped out each day so I texted her. It turns out she had a better idea. So not to upset Bubba too much by dropping by the house and NOT getting to walk to work with Grandpa she texted Dan. Dan and Otto picked up the Drive. Bubba didn’t get upset, I think.

I did my usual Wednesday routine (breakfast, garbage, recycling etc. then finished packing, turned down the thermostats and headed for the bathroom. Mary was already finished and ready to go. Beth showed up just after 9 AM so we locked up and headed to the airport.

The only glitch in the system was Mary’s ticket. It wasn’t TSA-Pre and I did everything right. Luckily we both made it through the “gauntlet” with a minimum delay. Mary did get her carry-on inspected. Apparently they didn’t like her charging station battery but she got through just fine and only minutes after me.

Off we went to Gate G11 for the normal “hurry up and wait” routine. The flight was fine, a little bumpy when we landed as it was windy coming into SAN (San Diego) airport. No problems.

We landed, deplaned and headed for our rental car via Enterprise. We ended up with a Chevy Terrain and made the 20 minute trip to our new home for a few days, Kona Kai Resort on Shelter Island across from the Naval Air Station on Coronado Island.

Kona Kai Resort & Spa



A beautiful resort just across from the water where the doors are always open and the fireplace is most always on. No need for heat or A/C here it seems, at least not this week. The fireplace comes in handy after sundown.

A beautiful, laid-back little island with warm breezes and palm trees. What a difference a four hour flight makes…





We unpacked and toured the resort grounds to familiarize ourselves with all of the features then settled in at the poolside restaurant for a light lunch and cool drink. Mary is “on the wagon” this week so she’s experimenting with different non-alcoholic drinks. She had a light “near-beer” and I went with a glass of the house Chardonnay. All is well in my world!

After lunch we decided to take a tour of San Diego, mainly to find out where some of our planned stops were and to get the lay of the land. So far all the places we want to go are within a 20 minute radius or so.

We drove north to Hotel Circle via city streets which was interesting. It basically followed the freeways but stayed below and next to them. It was actually smart as we were driving around during the start of rush hour so the freeways were packed getting out of town. We found everything we wanted then headed over to the “Little Italy” area to check it out and see if we could find a place for dinner.

After walking around the area Mary decided on a cozy little place called Barbusa, a nice Italian joint. We split a Caprese Salad, a great big bowl of Bolognese with some garlic toast and couldn’t finish. I wanted to keep eating but just couldn’t. Their super-Tuscan was great as well. A thoroughly enjoyable meal.

We finished and walked around a bit more on the way back to the car then headed back to Kona Kai for the evening.

We changed and sat outside in the courtyard around a fire table while watching the moon directly above and the many stars shining brightly even though we were near downtown. Kind of interesting how good the visibility was near a major metropolitan area. Maybe the fact we were on the water muted the brightness of the city lights. Who knows, I like it in any case. We stayed outdoors for quite a while seeing as though the temperature was around 60 degrees and the fire table didn’t hurt. Perfect weather once again in San Diego, 80 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night. No need for much heating for A/C around here…

Good Night!


Thursday | February 10th

Headed to Point Loma, Cabrillo Nat’l Park & the USS Midway

Good Morning,

Up around our “usual” time (adjusted for Pacific Time) after a pretty good night’s sleep. I made coffee while Mary was in the bathroom then it was my turn.

We decided to have breakfast here at the resort. We’d looked at the restaurant and menu yesterday and it looked good. We headed down after the usual fiddling with computers, email and… a phone call from Gina. It turns out the “service” PC was wiped of it’s dl4Term scripting after another “update” from good old Windows 10. Gina and I fought with it for a while until I gave up and had her install Teamviewer on her side while I updated my copy. Once I had control over the offending PC I got it up and running in about 15 minutes. Another day of earning my “keep” and I received a big “THANK YOU” for the effort from the boss.

We headed down to breakfast consisting of eggs benedict for her and huevos rancheros for me. Again, we barely finished. Too much food but we are on vacation and that’s what we do…

Back to the room for more fiddling and planning. Mary needed some supplies so we decided to head to a Target Store nearby (well 20 minutes away). I noticed it was in the general direction of Point Loma and The Cabrillo National Monument so we headed up the hill and on top of a ridge overlooking the downtown and the Pacific coast. A beautiful drive. We stopped at the Naval Base at Point Loma gate for an I.D. check but the fully armed young guard in her camo BDUs and flak vest seemed to think we were “OK” so she waved us on.

We arrived at Cabrillo National Park after a couple of miles of navy base property and parked the car in the visitors lot. Note to self. Bring your Senior Pass to all National Parks the next time you go out of town instead of leaving it in your hotel room… Dummy Me. That lesson cost me $20…

We walked the entire Park (Mary did just fine) up hills and down taking in the beauty as well as the scenery. It was a bit breezy but felt good as temps were approaching 80 degrees. We stopped at the monument as well as the lighthouse and walked through several buildings to read about the history and life of the lighthouse keepers back in the day. Small cramped quarters especially if you had a wife and kids with you.

The fun part of this area is the view. Depending on where you are you can either see the downtown area or the Pacific Coastline and the vast blue water of the pacific beyond. Absolutely beautiful!


It was a long walk but well worth it for the sun, scenery and ocean breeze. We enjoyed being in a sunny, warm world far away from the cold, gray Minnesota we came from yesterday.

We finished our tour and headed back down the road through the Naval Base back to “civilization. A great, unplanned tour.

We stopped at Bali Hai for a light lunch (split a Club Sandwich) and something cold to drink before freshening up at Kona Kai for our next stop of the day, The USS Midway Museum and #CV-41 USS Midway Carrier.


This was on my “bucket list” and Mary humored me but as it turns out we both enjoyed the tour. It was hot and windy so we got too much sun and a little wind burned but it was worth it.


We walked two levels of the carrier. The hanger deck below the flight deck and the main flight deck. We could have ventured up to the bridge but it was hot and a LONG way up there so we decided to stay away from heat stroke and vertigo and stayed low… As it turns out we still got a lot of walking in and too much sun but it was fun and informative. We picked up audio sets that activated via Blu-Tooth at many different stations in front of the aircraft on deck. There were many aircraft on deck above and below. This thing is massive. Two of the planes had names I recognized, George H W Bush and John Glenn. There were names on each aircraft and a story behind each one. Very interesting. We also listened to the history and missions the USS Midway was on from the Vietnam War to the Gulf War before it was decommissioned.

We spent over two hours touring the ship learning it’s amazing history and the people who were stationed on the carrier. I’m humbled and amazed by all the effort that went into keeping this (and any) carrier running. No small feat.





We exited the carrier and decided to head to New Nails for a Mani Pedi. New Nails was much like our own “Super Nails” next to Byerlys in Roseville. Very nice Vietnamese people. Been in San Diego for over 26 years. We were the only two in the store so the three of them (2 girls and a guy) ganged up on us all at once. Very nice.

When we were “Manied” and “Pedied” we headed back to Kona Kai for a much needed nap. After an hour we were up and thinking about dinner. We decided to stay close so we picked Brigantine Seafood Restaurant because we noticed it every time we were headed to or away from our hotel. It looked nice so we made reservations and stopped in at 7 PM.

Brigantine has a second floor entrance and either indoor or outdoor seating. We chose indoor as it does cool down here once the sun goes down. I’m glad we did as the breeze was cool and I don’t need Mary freezing her a** off… OK, I’m sure it was cool enough that I wouldn’t be comfortable either. There were people seated outdoors and they seemed fine with it. Whatever…

The meal turned out to be wonderful once again. We split the house salad, a dozen oysters on the half shell and the jumbo Scallops. Plenty of food but we still had to go overboard so Mary had the Creme Brule and I had a dish of ice cream. Nothing like overdoing it on vacation… We headed back to Kona Kai for the evening. I worked on this log and Mary fiddled on her phone until we both cleaned up and collapsed. It was a very good day.

Good Night!


Friday | February 11th

Couples Massage and The San Diego Zoo


Good Morning,

I woke up several times from fighting weird crap in my dreams. Not sure if it was the oysters or what. I kept going back to sleep and re-waking. Strange night but I’m no worse off than usual. Mary got up first. Well, she sat up in bed and was about to get up when I said “good morning” so she laid back down for a quick snuggle.

Same routine, I made the coffee while she headed for the shower. After my “duties” were finished (coffee and lotion applied) I headed back to this laptop to try to catch up on emails and this log. I’m a day behind but working diligently to catch up. A big day ahead once again.

We headed down to breakfast then out to the car for our ride to our Couples Massage scheduled at 10 AM. As we approached the car we saw a Naval Carrier entering the bay area. I took a shot of Mary with the Carrier in the background. You’ll have to expand the picture below to see it. I’m still trying to figure out which Carrier it is… There are several stationed here apparently.

We took the 15 minute drive to “Deluxe Spa Services,” a hole in the wall on the third floor of an office building. They had recently moved which caused some minor confusion but we adjusted accordingly. Their website hasn’t been updated yet and I’m not sure it will be any time soon. The “main” masseuse is Irina and I’m pretty sure she and her side-kick are from Russia or some eastern block country. They spoke well enough but couldn’t text for a damn and didn’t always understand us. No problem, we adapted and overcame and it all turned out well. Irina was my masseuse and her side-kick (didn’t catch her name) was Mary’s. A bit different from what we’re used to (Julie) but OK. Very relaxing and much needed after freezing in MN and walking the USS Midway the day before.

We finished up, paid the bill and headed back to Kona Kai to rinse off the lotion from the massage and get ready for our next stop, The San Diego Zoo.

We jumped in the car and plugged in the GPS (actually Android Auto) for the zoo which is in/near Balboa Park.

It’s only 15-20 minutes away depending on traffic. Which begs the comment, seems to me, San Diego is amazing in that it’s got so much going on in such a confined place. There is so much to do all within a 15 minute (or less) drive that one little four day mini-vacation just doesn’t do it. We’ll have to come back soon especially if the weather in MN stays as cold as it has been.

We started out with the bus tour just to get the “lay of the land.” The tour guide/driver did a good job of explaining where we were and what we were looking at but we were on the upper deck away from the animals and on the wrong side of the bus for the most part so we were both standing a lot to see what she was talking about. (Note to self: Lower deck/passenger side…)



We finished the bus tour and decided to get something to drink at one of the kiosks nearby. We found some shade and relaxed while trying to figure out how to proceed next. We decided to find the hummingbird sanctuary. That was fun. As always, “The Googles” can tell you a lot of things but they can’t tell you which way you are facing so I had to start walking and let the little blip catch up so I could tell which way we were going and if that was the right way. Frustrating… We did it though and ended up cutting through the middle of the park up some stairs and through the “jungle” to the area near the sanctuary. The hummingbirds are in their own structure. You have to wait in line and enter one at a time so the little ones can’t escape. Once inside the sanctuary there are misters and lots of water to simulate a jungle apparently. We walked around for a while watching all of the little ones fly around and land. The one thing that struck me, they liked to land on the screen near a window. I’ll bet they knew there were outside places to go as compared to the enclosure they were stuck in… It seems to me they want to migrate and don’t know how once they are locked in… Too bad in a way. We finished off, left the building and headed to our next area, the “Urban Jungle.”

The 8 minute walk was worth it. The only thing missing was a Hippopotamus. But the giraffes and Rhinoceros made up for it. There was a “zookeeper” giving a talk about the Rhino. Interesting and amazing. She was feeding the Rhino by grabbing some food and shoving it in his mouth with her hand/arm. I’ m sorry, I’ve done a lot of things, some of them stupid but I don’t think I’d have the cohones to shove my arm in a Rhino’s mouth. Just sayin… We watched for a while before moving on. Next up, the giraffes.


After wondering what to do we headed over to the reptile area and looked at all of the reptiles on display. Lot’s of new ones I had never seen and don’t necessarily want to see in the wild.

At this point we were both hot and tired enough to call it a day after more than three hours in the sun so we walked back the 8 minute walk to the exit and headed back to the Kona Kai with a refresher stop at the Bay Club Hotel.The Nachos were hot and good.


After a relaxing snack and a couple of “cold ones” we returned to the Kona Kai to relax in the room planning on where to go for dinner.

Turns out Friday nights are as busy as anywhere especially on Valentine’s Day “weekend” so our first couple of choices were full. We finally decided on Pomodoro, an Italian restaurant (again) just off of Shelter Island not far from us. We called and made reservations for 7:30 PM.

We drove over and the first thing we noticed (on a Friday Night) was the lack of parking. I dropped off Mary to let them know we were here… on time… sort of then headed for the nearest parking spot. Turns out after several times around the area blocks I found one about 2.5 blocks away. I parked under a street light and headed back to the restaurant. I’m not complaining. The walk did me good and it shows me how busy and popular this area is.

Once in the restaurant I found Mary all alone (thankfully) at a table for four but only two place settings were there and she already had her drink. I ordered a glass of their Tuscan Red, a good choice. We split a Beet Salad, Mary ordered Vitello Piccata and I, kind of stuck on great Bolognese, ordered their Fusilli Bolognese. All wonderful dishes and once again, too much. We were at the end of prime time so we relaxed and watched the restaurant empty out while finishing our drinks. It’s amazing how restaurants make it. All or nothing, it seems. We walked in and not a table in sight (except for ours and by the time we left there may have been a half-dozen tables occupied.

We walked back to the car for the short ride home. Another wonderful evening (and day for that matter…). By the way, Mary whooped up on me at cribbage but my time will come…

Good Night!



Saturday | February 12th

Our Lazy Day!


Good Morning,

We slept in because we could. I got up to open the curtains once again and saw the same thing, clear skies and cool breezes. I can’t remember seeing any clouds on this trip… yet. Amazing!


We were lazy so I let Mary take care of her morning routine while I caught up on my emails and this log. As usual I made coffee and applied the “lotion” per her request.

We headed back down to the Vessel Restaurant for breakfast. I tried to keep it light but ended up very full once again. The restaurant has outdoor seating with gas (I think) heaters hung from the walls around the building to take the morning chill off. It worked well. We relaxed and had breakfast watching the boats in the harbor and the people moving around the resort in a sunny, cloudless 60 degrees headed for the mid 80s. Very relaxing. I was wearing my bright Key West tank top and shorts. We were discussing how I hadn’t added any new “bright” tank tops to my assortment for some time. Our waitress happened to be nearby and suggested “Wings Beachwear” with several locations nearby so I check Wings out on “The Googles” and found a location over in Ocean Beach nearby. It’s along the Pacific coast where we hadn’t spent much time. We decided I needed more tank tops so we jumped in our Chevy Terrain for the 20 minute drive to Ocean Beach.

Ocean Beach is a little “hippie” town 20 minutes away from San Diego on the Pacific Coast. A beautiful area full of “touristy” shops and vendors as well as surfers, VW Microbuses and all of the other things you’d expect including the local “CBD” store.

We parked and walked to Wings where I picked up two nice bright tank tops. I bought two because they were 2 for $25. How could I go wrong…

We then proceeded to walk around the town to see whatever else was interesting. We ended up walking along the boardwalk on the Pacific watching all of the surfers and beach-goers as well as the vendors selling their wares.

Mary looked but decided they were too pricey for her budget so we enjoyed the warm breezes and blue salt waters of the Pacific for a while before heading back into the “downtown” area again.

I’d noticed that CBD Store earlier and wanted to see what that was all about so we stopped by for a visit to learn whatever there was to learn. I was delightfully surprised. The young gal that took care of us was well-versed in her products and gave us an extensive “lesson” in the hemp products and what they could do for whatever malady you had. In fact, you don’t need a “malady” to use their products. After her presentation I purchased two items for muscle pain and inflammation. We’ll see if I wasted my money… I’ll report back once I’ve tried out the products…

We finished up our tour of “OB” (Ocean Beach) with a dish of gelato before walking back to the car for our next stop, Sunset Cliffs.

Only a few blocks down the coast (south) we stopped at Sunset Cliffs parking lot which was full but we squeezed in and took a walk around to enjoy the view. Apparently this is a favorite place for whale watching as they migrate north and south depending on which season.

It being “Happy Valentines Day” weekend we found a couple enjoying a picnic lunch at the edge of the cliff. Very romantic as long as you don’t lean over too far… 🙂


We finished up our tour of the cliffs and headed back to the car for our trip home. There was another car looking for a parking spot so we told him to hang on and where we were parked so he could take our spot when we left. Crowded and busy but a beautiful day for our tour…

We headed back to the Kona Kai Resort for an afternoon in the sun around the pool.

We changed into our swimsuits and headed down to the bar for a “cold one” watching the crowd of kids and their parents enjoying the wonderful weekend in and around the pool.

We saw a few open pool chairs and decided to sit in the sun for a while among the “natives” around and in the pool. Great people watching… We sat in the sun until it got too hot so we headed back under the shade of the bar to enjoy the activity from afar.

After a few hours around the pool it was time to head back to the room to see what we could get into for dinner. Neither of us wanted to roam too far away so we decided on a place fairly close to us we’d noticed passing it by several times as we headed elsewhere, Ketch Grill and Taps.

It was busy but there were seats available so we choose a booth inside. The wind had come up a bit and the evening cool air was cooler than we’d be comfortable with. The waitstaff were bringing out the portable gas heaters as we ate so we’d “chosen wisely.”

The meal was great once again and we ate too much as usual but this being the last evening in San Diego we figured tomorrow would begin our trip back to reality… We finished and headed back to the resort to begin packing and early turn in as the flight was very early in the morning.

Good Night!




Sunday | February 13th

The Trip home…


Good Morning,

Up at 3:45 AM and pretty much packed we did a fast version of our morning routine and were finished and headed down to check out by 4:15 AM. We jumped in the rental for the last time this trip for the short trip back to the Rental Car Return and the shuttle to the Delta ticket counter.

Back through the TSA “gauntlet” which went much smoother because we finally got Mary back to TSA Pre approved status after spending, what felt like forever, on the phone (twice) with Delta.

After a sandwich for breakfast we boarded the plane for the three and a half hour flight back to a wonderful 4 degrees Minnesota arrival around noon.

Our favorite and always prompt “Aunty Beth” was waiting for us. We loaded up the car and got into her warm Saturn for the drive home. Beth had “upgraded” us to warmer jackets because we’d left our “spring” jackets in the car when she dropped us off.

What a welcome home. The shock of the cold (but sunny) temperature made us wonder why we left the 80 degree weather in San Diego… Oh well…

It was a fun trip. We look forward to our return with lots of new things to get into.

Welcome Back!