After our eight days stint in Yuma getting dental work done across the border in Mexico, we were going a bit stir crazy to get on our way. So the morning after the final stage in which our permanent crowns were attached, we made the long push to San Diego. More specifically, we passed through San Diego to the Navy RV Campground on Coronado, just across the bay.
If you recall our original route planning for this year’s journey, we anticipated getting to southern California in mid April. But passport delays, dental work, and our leisurely pace across the south, especially as we lingered in San Antonio and Tucson, put us roughly three weeks behind schedule. Fortunately, this doesn’t matter at all; we always looked at that original route plan as very loose, something from which to deviate as other options were exposed along the way.
So we are in California now, and near a major tourist destination at that, so the prices dictate our selections more than ever. At Fiddler’s Cover Marina and RV Park we had a full hook up, pull through site in a fantastic location, right on the San Diego Bay and just over the bridge from the Gaslamp Quarter. At $35 a night ($40 for the bay front, water view sites), this is the most expensive military campground at which we have stayed, but compared to the state park just up the road (Silver Strand) it was a decent deal. That park offered water and electric only, parking lot style sites for $50 a night, $65 for beach front.
I’m not gonna lie this park had some issues: it was one of the more dog noisy places we have stayed, with apparently little effort made to enforce excess barking problems. There were a lot of families with young kids in the park, which comes with the expected noise level. And finally, since the place is not located on a gated base but rather an off base annex, there were some security issues that you would not normally see at military campgrounds, i.e., homeless people entering the facility to use the bathrooms and shower houses, etc. Still a good price for the location, and the staff was quite helpful and efficient.
While there we took a day to wander around San Diego’s Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter. As cities go, we have really enjoyed our two visits to San Diego. We had a slice at a local pizzaria and enjoyed the pedestrian friendly areas, but we didn’t bother to cross the bridge and spend much time in the big city this time.
Mostly we stayed in Coronado, The Strand, and Imperial Beach (at the other end of the strand.) In our travels one of the things we are big on is indulging in the local delicacies and food traditions of each region we visit. Gulf shrimp and oysters in the Florida panhandle, crawfish, boudin and cracklins in Louisiana, BBQ in Texas, lobster and cherry stones in Maine, elk in Colorado, you get the idea.
A bit of googling revealed that if there is any one food specifically associated with San Diego, it is the fish taco. Armed with that knowledge, we selected one of the top rated places in Coronado, Miguel’s Cocina, for an early afternoon meal. We ordered way too much, but I thoroughly enjoyed the lightly battered fried fish tacos topped with cabbage, Rosemarie preferred the more traditional carne asada version, and we both agreed that we should have tried the grilled swordfish or seared tuna taco option. Mixed with local craft beer and sangria, this was a fantastic meal.
While there we too advantage of the various military bases in the vicinity to stock up at the very large commissary and exchange over the bridge at the San Diego Naval Base. It is tough city-type driving to get there, but once secure on the facility we had great and wide ranging options for our culinary needs. While the RV campground quality and prices are the main benefit to base camping, access to the base facilities is a close second.
Our biggest disappointment was our inability to get into a single craft or farmers market while there. Had we been successful we might have extended our stay. In some cases the markets excluded anything but produce, in others the paperwork and licensing requirements were excessive, and in several cases the managers just didn’t respond to emails or texts. After looking into other areas, we are starting to think that California may be a wash for us entirely, but there are plenty more states in our 2017 route, so we remain optimistic on this front.