San Diego, CA / 2016-07-11

Brooke’s alarm woke up her and Caitlyn up and they headed out to La Jolla Cove for some time with the sea lions before the rest of the tourists and local visitors came to see them as well.  There were at least 100 of them on the shore in La Jolla Cove, mainly younger, juvenile ones, rest on the beach.  They come up to the beach for a few reasons, one for rest and one for warmth.  They lay close to each other and often would lay on top of each other, which made for some great comedy when one of the group decided to shift, then they all had to shift.

Sea Lions cuddling
Sea Lion fast asleep
Caitlyn up early to see the sea lions

After the other kids awoke, I got them ready and headed down to the cove as well to meet up with Brooke and Caitlyn.  It still wasn’t too crowded, but we did notice a few other visitors getting too close to the sea lions and one even brought their dog down to the beach, which was clearly stated to be not allowed.  The sea lions did not appreciate this either and quickly started to head back into the water.

Brooke had prepared to spend some time in the water here, and quickly donned her snorkel gear and set off into the water.  For us Floridians, the water in San Diego in July is still very cold!  She lasted for a while swimming with the sea lions before having to return to shore.

 Next, we turned our attention to hungry bellies and drove to a locally recommended breakfast and bakery place called Sugar and Scribe yelp_icon.  The kids loved the food and bakery items that were offered for free with our meal.
Lila enjoying Sugar and Scribe
In addition, some of the baked goods for sale were so good that Brooke earmarked the place for us to come back to later in the trip.  After eating to our fill, we decided to let the kids play at the beach and in the water and took a trip to the Children’s Pool, which is an artificially created cove in 1931 provides an amazing beach for the public.  It also attracts seals and sea lions from the turbulent waters just outside its rings.  We traipsed down the stairway with our belongings (beach toys, towels, snorkeling gear, food….) and the kids immediately headed for the water.
It was still too cold for my taste, but the kids loved it and Brooke ventured out with her snorkeling gear again.  We had watched a seal sunbathing on one of the rocks to the west and a few sea lions playing in the water just inside the cove, but nothing closer.  Nearing our departure from the beach, we noticed one sea lion creep closer and closer to shore until finally he rolled with the waves on the beach itself, just in front of us.
Sea Lion rolling on the beach with the waves
 A mother who Brooke had befriended nearby (and also happened to have worked with sea lions in San Francisco in her past) informed us that the sea lion was just desiring the warmth of the beach and sun, and to use caution as he looked agitated.  He quickly made his mood known the the onlookers with multiple loud barks, which helped identify his personal space.
Sea Lion barking for space!
We gave him clearance, but were still close enough to watch him sunbathe and take some pictures.
He eventually returned to the ocean, and we returned to the hotel, first stopping back at the Smokehouse BBQ for a mid-afternoon lunch by the pool.  I returned with the food and met up Brooke and the kids already enjoying the pool and hot tub at the hotel.
The kids in front of our room overlooking the pool and ocean at La Valencia
We quickly devoured the food (it’s amazing how hungry being at the beach can make you).  We dried up, changed clothes in the bathrooms (we had already checked out), returned the towels, said goodbye to my favorite chairs and loaded ourselves and belongings into the car to head to our next stay – a vacation home near the San Diego Airport.  We reached the vacation home (which was another town home) and quickly noticed the challenging parking situation.  Situated on a sharply inclined road (or declined depending on which direction you were facing), parallel parking on the street would prove difficult and the short driveway was partially blocked by palm tree branches.
Our parking situations and the San Diego Airport in the distance
 I choose the driveway and we unloaded our belongings to explore this modern (IKEA furnished town homes are always described as modern on the vacation home websites) town home which featured a very nice patio eating area, two bedrooms and tight quarters.
It also featured a very close proximity to the airport, the main train station and the highway.  So, when you were outside, it was loud.  But, on the inside, it wasn’t noticeable.  We showered, got dressed in our Lily Pulitzer best (for the girls) and stepped out for our next adventure – a ride on the Bahia Belle, a steamboat that cruises around Mission Bay.
The girls in their Lily dresses
We arrived, paid our fee (fairly cheap for our family of six) and boarded the boat, which had three levels.
Brooke and the girls in front of the Bahia Belle
 The bottom level featured a dance floor with a band, the second level had a bar and food to purchase and the top level was outside to enjoy the views.  Being near nightfall and on the water, the temperature began to drop and the kids did not fare well.  Though Lila had a great time on the boat ride, the rest of the kids did not enjoy it as much.
Lila enjoying the boat ride
We did our best to keep them happy and photo ready, but were somewhat glad when the ride ended and we departed.
“Behind the scenes”….Weston wasn’t interested in picture taking
I found the car (I had to park off site from the hotel in a nearby parking lot which by nightfall didn’t look too safe anymore) and picked up the group at the hotel lobby.  Our late dining throughout the day had enabled us to shift eating dinner until after the boat ride, but we could tell the kids were not in the mood for anything that would take too long.  So, we paid another visit to In N’ Out Burger (honestly our first visit there in a while) and then to Trader Joe’s to stock up for the next few days at our vacation home.  We made it back with a few sleeping kids and very tired parents.  Time to rest for our next full day in San Diego.
This is day 21 on our California Road Trip Summer 2016.  Make sure to check out the entire trip!

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