Wednesday, March 17, 2010

California Dreamin'

This month I had the fantastic opportunity to take a trip with my family to San Diego, California, to connect with more of our family including a visit with Grandma Dorothy. As you can well imagine, Minnesota had gotten quite "wintery" by the end of February so the warm winds and blue skies of Southern California were a very welcomed break. We were all ready for some balmier weather!

The traveling team consisted of me and my sister's family - Becky, Jim, Nicki & Natalie. We flew out of the Fargo airport, which is only an hour from their house in Northeastern Minnesota, landed in Minneapolis, and then took a connecting flight directly to San Diego. The flights were excellent (thank you, Delta Airlines) and we were walking on California soil before we knew it. Our group was meeting up with Mom and Dad at the airport since they had already driven their motor home to San Diego a couple weeks prior. My parents, Tom and Yvonne, are "snowbirds", you know - they leave Minnesota and fly south for the winter. Smart birds :o)

Since Grandma lives in downtown La Mesa, my Uncle Daryl and his wife, Jana, usually host the family whenever we come to visit. They live up on Mount Helix (a beautiful mountain in the suburb of La Mesa), and I am always so impressed with their garden. They have a wide variety of flowers and fresh fruits including oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines. Mmmmm! We drank freshly-squeezed orange juice every morning. Their garden also has a beautiful view that overlooks San Diego and provides you with amazing view of the city and mountains.

You've probably heard of the San Diego Zoo - well, it's one of the largest zoos in the world and full of wonderful animals. Now I'm not much for caging animals, but many of these animals may have been rescued from dangerous environments and they are very well cared for at the zoo. We saw everything from bears, giraffes, rhinoceros, and gorillas to exotics birds, monkeys, and elephants. The zoo was very clean and the staff were friendly. A great day all around!

Another highlight of our vacation was a trip up to Long Beach to see the historic RMS Queen Mary ship and Hotel - the sister ship of the RMS Titanic. This deluxe cruise ship was the flagship of the Cunard Line from 1936 until 1945 where she was used to transport over 16,000 troops back from the war. To this day, she holds the record for most passengers on a maritime vessel! On the ship we got to walk around and explore the different decks, rooms, and parlors. If you take the tour be sure to visit the ghostly depths in the Ghosts and Legends show - quite a thrilling attraction! All a great time and fun experience. It felt almost like being on the decks of the Titanic.

Other areas we visited include the Hotel del Coronado and beach on Coronado Island, Carlsbad Beach, shopping in La Mesa, and Dad and Jim went to Navy harbor to visit the USS Enterprise (sorry, Trekkies out there - it's the aircraft carrier, not the star ship... but wouldn't that be totally fun?!) There was also plenty of downtime and everyone was able to catch up on their reading. I finished two more books on the trip!

In the end, we all had a great week enjoying the warm weather and enjoying each other. It was great seeing Grandma, Daryl and Jana, Mom and Dad, and spending time with Becky, Jim and the girls. Lots of rest and relaxation, and good food, of course. Another reminder about the importance of family - they matter!

I hope you're having a great spring and traveling somewhere in your near future. If you are, be sure to take the opportunity to explore - there's all sorts of things to do and learn out there, so take advantage it.

Get on the move and experience the world!

Mr. Michael