Tuesday, 13 January 2015

San Diego

By Mark

After Adam dropped us off at the bus station in what seemed like Little Mexico we waited patiently for our bus to arrive, within minutes we were bored of this charade and were already missing the bikes. Over an hour late we boarded our bus (we were the only non-Mexicans on board) for San Diego where our next ADV rider host was awaiting our arrival. After a long bus ride for the distance we were in San Diego. Our host Keith came to pick us up at the terminal.

Straight away he had us sightseeing, driving up around through the suburbs in his big bad arse Ford F350. It was dark when we arrived so Keith thought he should show us the Christmas lights that have been a favourite for the locals to visit for many years. My word - they were over the top! I am sure that they could be seen from outer space. They do not only put up lights here but they also make Christmas themed displays in the windows of their house, like something you would see in a department store. It was so busy navigating the busy streets so we decided it was time to head out for some dinner at one of the many local Mexican restaurants.
Sitting down to dinner with Keith we got to know one another well and quite quickly as he likes to talk. After dinner he took us back to his humble abode, a 36 foot cruiser docked at the San Diego Yacht Club. What a great place to stay, we had access to the hot tub, sauna, swimming pool, bar and restaurant and gym (not that we ever used the gym). The best thing was the view, every morning waking up on the water was awesome, I could not get sick of that. The mornings were always still and calm and the sunsets were just as impressive.

Over the coming days we started to get a bit of a feel for San Diego, I really liked the whole laid back feeling to the place, especially around where we were staying and Ocean Beach. We went to check out the front of SeaWorld to see if there were many people rallying out the front but it was quiet and free of protesters. After the release of the movie Black Fish, SeaWorld has seen a massive decline in visitors to their parks around the USA where Orcas are being kept in very small confines. If you want to know more click here.
We had access to a couple of bicycles that Keith loaned to us so we also rode around the bay area, through the city and also Balboa Park which had some beautiful buildings and gardens. We also went to La Jolla where Keith showed us around the gorgeous coast line, parts that were lined with seals and Elephant seals. The tour finished of course with a few cold beers.

Our Christmas was a quite one, we were still with Keith and had been invited to one of his friends homes for lunch and meet up with some others later for dinner. Keith and I started pretty early with a couple of beers before we walked up to EJ's house who was holding the get together. Andy his wife put on an incredible spread which we gladly tucked into, including a few more cold ones to wash it all down with and not to forget dessert. EJ was a great guy, a 51 year old professional paddle boarder who puts many a young guy to shame out on the water, he also builds custom paddles for a living and he gave us a tour of his setup that he has in his garage. After a chilled afternoon hanging out with Keith's mates we headed out to dinner with Rick, Tamara and Rick's two kids Mo and Matt. We were still so full from lunch that we just had a snack for dinner and a few more beers. There was not too much drinking involved as I had been invited out to the desert the following day to go riding with Keith, Rick and his two kids along with another of their friends and his four kids. It had only been about one week since we had said goodbye to the bikes but I could not wait to throw a leg over a bike again, especially a dirt bike.

I woke to a stunning sunrise on the boat on Boxing day, Keith and I shot off early to get out to the dessert which was roughly a two hour drive away. When we showed up everybody else was already there. In total there was close to 15 bikes including quads to hoon around on. Most of the bikes were mini bikes for kids but there was also a Yamaha banshee quad, a YZ250f and a KTM200exc and of course Keith's WR250. I had a ball on the banshee hanging out sideways everywhere I went, it was so much fun but really I needed to be on 2 wheels! After a quick spin on the WR250 I got to throw a leg over the YZ250f, boy was that fun. It had been so long since I had been on a dirt bike, let alone one with no panniers or all that other unnecessary stuff. I did only have jeans, hoody and cons on so I had to take it easy but the bike begged to be ridden hard so I gave it some and the smile just got bigger on my face with every twist of the throttle. We were not alone out here though, being the day after xmas everybody had made their way out to try out their new xmas toys. Wow, was there some money out there. People were showing up in huge RVs, huge pick ups with toy haulers as they call them here. Luckily enough there is plenty of space to ride and not have problems with other riders, the same can not be said for Glamis dunes just down the road.

We also had the chance to get out onto the bay of San Diego for a bit of light sailing, I mean light because there was not much wind which made for easy sailing all the same, there was quite a few people on board so many hands to do the hard work and well my hands were left free to drink some rum!
The time had come to part ways with Keith and head onto our next hosts, a younger couple than us who also ride and are part of ADV riders tent space. Funnily enough Keith said to us before we left that if we had any problems we could always call him and he would come get us and we could stay with him. So we met up with Anthony and Chelsea and they were a lovely couple if not a tad quiet. The next few days saw us heading around a different part of town, but by foot now. There are many cool places all over San Diego but we were now staying in enemy territory, the mighty hipsters were in high numbers here and well it was not a place for me to want to stay to long. As nice as our new hosts were it was so difficult to get any conversation going and with our time up here we called Keith and asked if we could stay with him until we left San Diego. Thankfully it was not a problem and the following morning he was parked out front ready and waiting in his big truck to take us back to his cosy boat.

Straight away we felt so comfortable being back in his company, the conversation flowed freely and it was all smiles and happy times, even more so knowing we had another chance to get out onto the water which Sanne passed up after a few too many beers on New Years eve. It was also a quiet affair. We started the night drinking with Keith on the boat and I cooked us all dinner before meeting up with some more of his friends on their yacht before later crashing the yacht club's new years shindig. It was funny to see how quick the place emptied out after midnight, the oldies just could not take too much partying and we stayed out until about 1.30am.

Well Sanne did not miss out on too much on the boat. It was a nice day out on the water but the wind was dead and we were meant to be participating in a friendly race. There were no shortage of others out on New Years day and in total about 50 boats were going to compete. We were the last to leave after some problems on the start line and by the time we got up the bay the decision was made to pull out and go eat and drink. I like that idea much more.

Sadly our time was drawing to a close so we made the most of it with a ride over to Sunset Cliffs to watch the sunset for our last night on the coast. It was just what we needed to wind down our past twelve days. We were so lucky to have gotten into contact with Keith and all his friends that all made us feel so welcome. Keith is such a great guy and we so hope to see him in Oz in the future, if not I am sure we will be back to crash on his boat again in the not so distant future. For now we have horses to attend to.

Chilling out looking over Sunset Cliffs, San Diego

Surfs up in OB

This big guy was hanging out around the local fisherman waiting for a little fish

Downtown San Diego

USS Midway, retired aircraft carrier

Balboa Park

Could not ask for a better view, and this was taken from the boat we were staying on

A few seals hanging out in La Jolla

The surf was going off on Christmas eve, here a few body surfers taking advantage of it

It's a hard life but someone has to do it.

La Jolla coastline

Ahhhh, sunshine

Hanging out at San Diego Yacht Club

Keith's boat

Sunset from our boat on Christmas eve

Sunrise from our boat

Desert riding time

My first ride on a Banshee and it was fun, I must say I prefer 2 wheels

I think it's this way back

This is  a sign we came across in the desert for the Mexicans crossing the border into the USA illegally

Time for some sailing

Sanne with our awesome host Keith

Not a bad day out on the water to take in the city skyline

And we are sailing

Enjoying a meal with Keith on his cosy boat

Sunset Cliffs


  1. Thank you so much for all the kind words!
    I'm glad you enjoyed my city and home. I look forward to visiting you and yours!

    Peace and Bon Voyage! Keith

  2. Awesome. Thanks for sharing the interesting blog about San Diego.

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