Wednesday, February 04, 2009

10-year anniversary trip, part 2

So last Friday night, after spending the day at San Diego's Wild Animal Park, we drove up the coast to eat at The Brigantine in Del Mar. Our table overlooked part of the beach, the ocean and the side-by-side racetracks nearby (one for dogs and one for horses, I presume). The food was terrific, of course. I had sea bass and Jamie had an alfredo pasta dish with oysters, shrimp, scallops and goat cheese.

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Then on the way back to the hotel we stopped at the grocery store and bought some chocolates. They were on sale because they weren't in a fancy Valentine's box like the others on display, ha! So we ate an expensive dinner and finished up with cheap dessert, and thus everything was balanced.

Saturday we checked out of the "Plan B" hotel and drove to San Diego to hit the Midway aircraft carrier, now turned into a museum. It was one of our favorite parts of the trip. It was built in the mid-1940s and was the biggest ship in the world for over a decade after its completion. It was activated in multiple conflicts, saved many refugees and was still our flagship for Desert Storm! It was finally decommissioned a few years ago and has been transitioned into a tourist attraction.

It's massive. We spent a few hours doing through all the levels and rooms. We talked to lots of people. Several former shipmates are now guides on the ship, so we got to hear about the galley/mess from a former Midway head cook (1973-74) and we learned about the steam engines from a former engineer on the ship (1960s). We learned that the ship had four engines, each with more than 52,000 horsepower. They served more than 13,000 meals every single day.
And it wasn't just statistics -- the pictures, stories and physical reality of the ship itself really transported us to another place and time. It was a stark reminder of war for a happy couple who has never experienced it firsthand.

In the hangar and on the flightdeck were more than 40 aircraft, all of which at some point actually flew from the Midway on active duty. Did I mention the ship was big?

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Then we checked into the Hotel Salomar right in the heart of San Diego, and our friend Roland (he often comments on the blog) drove down from L.A. to see us. Thus beginneth our #1 favorite part of the trip -- Torrey Pines with me, Jamie and Roland.

We started out on the beach and walked it for a while, then we went up into the hills and hiked the trails. Just sunshine and conversation. I like that we didn't just go to California and retreat into ourselves. We made some connections: Mrs. Nugent, Roland, a couple at the animal park from Osage Beach, MO, etc... A good reminder that "we" is bigger than just the two of us, and that everybody has a story worth hearing.

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After all that walking, the donger need food (movie reference) so we headed back to the hotel to park Roland's car and walk the area for a good restaurant. We settled on Mexican food, followed by dessert at Ghirardelli Chocolate. Yes, they have stores, and I'm lucky enough that this is the second one I've been to (the other was in Las Vegas). I later discovered that they have thirteen locations nationwide, and that eight of them are in California. What a state!

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We came home relaxed and refreshed, ready for another 10 years.

There's a lot going on right now, so I'm not sure what to blog next. I'm not promising that all of the following will ever get posted, but here are some ideas I'm throwing around:

-- Book reviews of "The Spontaneous Healing Power of Belief" and "13 Things That Don't Make Sense"
-- The sad and strangely humorous (in a dark way) story of when I had to put our neighbor's cat down for him recently. With a shovel.
-- How prejudice is actually overcome (hint: not through articles or debates)
-- Oh yeah, Jamie's pregnant. :)


Orangehouse said...

Was that last line a joke? Are congratulations in order?

Beautiful pictures, by the way.

Hal Johnson said...

Jaime's pregnant, seriously? If so, seriously congrats!

I sure hope you kept your eye on that Roland character.

Don said...

Wow! You saved the best for last. Congrats! Looks like you guys had a great time. Very nice pix.

~aj~ said...

I like how you just threw that last one in there. :)

I'm glad you guys had such a great anniversary trip!

Redlefty said...

No joke, Brian. This is the real deal!

We can find out in April if it's manchild or girlchild. But for now all we know is that it's one child and has a nice heartbesat.

Bob Barbanes said...


So it *was* a good trip!

Love the two posts, love the pics. Gotta love California. Ghirardelli has stores?! Every time I read about it or see pictures of it, I ask myself why I'm not living in the Golden State?


Roland said...

It was great to see you two! :)

hard.rox said...

Glad to hear you two had a great vacation. Even if you did have to meet up with Roland. LOL I keed Roland, I keed.

A hearty 'congratulations' to the two of you for your pending bundle of joy!!!

Anonymous said...


Rob said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip, Michael. Hopefully one day you two can try the Pacific coast a bit further north. :) Serious congrats on the big announcement. 3 is a great number! ;) Cheers.

Bob said...

Great narrative and great news there at the end. Three is a great number. You're outnumbered, you know it, and you relax. Our little caboose is delightful.

What a great trip. I love San Diego. Did the same hike at Torrey Pines. Breathtaking. Thanks for great visuals.

t.k.foster said...

Looks like a fun trip. Happy anniversary.

Debby said...


Redlefty and Redwifey are having another Redkidlet?!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations! I'm happy for you both. Are the kids pretty excited?

Man. That has got to be the most astounding last line I've read in some time. I squealed. Out loud. It disturbed the dog.

Kansas Bob said...

Congrats! Great pics!

MamaRose said...

Well, I'm JUST NOW getting caught up on your blog--late--BUT, WE ARE BOTH SO VERY HAPPY & THRILLED about 'getting' ANOTHER GRANDCHILD--our 5th--YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And, we're praying EXTRA for Jamie & Baby, already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I esp. LOVED the beach & mountain PICTURES from your trip--and, OH, by the way, Samantha & I talked about it--WE THINK ya'll SHOULD go on 'this' Anniversary Trip--somewhere, EVERY YEAR at this time & we're going to 'work on' getting PawPaw to COME DOWN WITH ME to be with them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How does that sound?????!!!!!!!!!!!

CONGRATS BIG TIME on your 10th, TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

James W said...

Wow! That was some amazing pictures! That is cool that you guys got to see Roland. If D and I make it to CA we will have to look Roland up as well. Congrats on the baby news.