Seven (+1) Bridges Urban Hike, San Diego

As one of the online guides said of this walk, it can be called “walking” or “urban hiking.” Either way, it’s an easy, flat walk through several San Diego neighborhoods that is enjoyable, fills some time, and allows for exploration. Some of the bridges are pretty cool, too!

Map of the Seven Bridges, each one represented by a green circle. The bonus +1 bridge not included in the official description is the University Ave bridge over the 163.

We started at Bread & Cie, where we had placed an online to-go order. It was a little disorganized and even though I knew I should have checked our order, I didn’t. Poor judgement secondary to hunger. So, our iced teas were left behind. We went back to get them, but this added a little distance and I was hungry and out of sorts.

Fortunately after we ate, I felt better. Although I was still a little grumpy, I was willing to give the hike a second chance! We walked through my favorite corner of Banker’s Hill (around Walnut and W. Upas) towards the Spruce St Suspension Bridge.

Spruce St Suspension Bridge

I think this wins for coolest bridge. It spans a canyon and it moves quite a bit. If someone is running, it can be pretty dramatic! The view towards the water is beautiful and overall, I highly recommend!

Quince St Bridge

We continued towards downtown and made a slight detour to cross (and return) the Quince St. Bridge. It spans another canyon and feels much more sturdy.

Returning back to First St, we crossed the only steel-arch bridge in San Diego. It crosses another canyon and as we got towards the end, SMS noted how the side rails were disconcertingly low. Geez, I was fine until then but after that fact, I wanted to get off the bridge fast!

We also saw a cool terraced backyard/hill that is added to the collection of native garden inspiration.
This bridge is a multi-arch bridge and much more beautiful looking from below.

Next, we crossed into Balboa Park and crossed the Laurel St. Bridge, that used to cross a small lake but now crosses the 163. It wasn’t too crowded but this bridge and the pedestrian avenue through the Park were the most crowded areas of the walk.

Balboa Park bridge over Park Ave.

After crossing the park and the single-arch cement bridge over Park Ave, we took a quick break and walked through the Rose Garden. We found some favorites! Although does a rose named “Ketchup and Mustard” smell just as sweet? Talk amongst yourselves!!

The Desert Garden is right next to the rose garden and is another one of my favorites.

Cactus tree in the Garden. It looked cooler in person.

Then we walked up Park and crossed the Georgia Ave bridge. It used to be made of redwood trellises in 1907, but this concrete bridge has been in place since 1914.

Once we crossed, we saw a hill that seemed to be partially cultivated- maybe by the neighbors? I leave you with pictures of otherworldly beauty.

We crossed Washington Ave and were a little unsure that we’d find the Vermont Street Bridge. Trust the walk! We found it! I would vote it as “Bridge most likely to party” since it was decorated and has a lot of quotes incorporated into the bridge concrete design.

Finally, as we were walking along University back to our car, SMS noticed that, yes! We were crossing another bridge! This is not included in the official description of the Seven Bridges walk, but it is definitely part of the loop. So, we present the bonus bridge! It is another bridge crossing the 163 and has charming green side rails, also somewhat low.

Overall, it was a great day and I recommend this walk. SMS found it when searching for social distanced activities in San Diego, but even in more normal times, I think this would be a lot of fun. You could add more bar-hopping through Hillcrest, more museums or the Zoo in Balboa Park, or more garden walks in Banker’s Hill. Five stars!

Summer 2020 Catch-Up

If 2020 was a drink, what would it be? Vodka in a water bottle when you were expecting it to be water. Now, this is from a funny person on the internet, but I laughed so hard since this has happened to me, it is a horrible surprise, and it aptly describes 2020.

A quick round-up of a few highlights on the Summer.

SpaceX rocket launch 5/30. It was successful. It was also preceded the doubling of Tesla stock which, alas, we missed out on. But $2000?!?! I never would have dreamed. Need to dream bigger, I guess.

On May 30, SMS and I watched the SpaceX launch of two astronauts to the International Space Station. It was a success! Our little stuffed owl put on his cosmonaut helmet but, given the size of his wings, stayed firmly grounded.

Left: Luminous Starter and Right: Proofing loaves

I continued a few quarantine hobbies. I received the gift of a sourdough starter from Stacy and Michael and made some pretty decent sourdough loaves. It took me a few tries to get the leaven concept, but then it was pretty awesome. I haven’t made any loaves recently but we had some deliciously fluffy pancakes this morning!

Cucumber blossoms, a baby cucumber, and tomatoes!

My garden ended up being a little bit of a bust. I need to do some more research on optimal sun and water for specific plants, but it is also true that the soil is only so-so. Especially when inconsistently watered.

SMS and I in Bird Rock, CA.

SMS and I were apart for part of June, together in July, and then up in Menlo Park for his birthday. We celebrated his birthday there and then I drove back down to SD alone, which was unplanned. He had been put in charge of a short timeline, high stakes project at work so he stayed back in case he had to go in. So, for August, I was back in SD alone and it was a tough month to be apart with heat, wildfires, real estate misadventures, and work stressors. Even though we are still incredibly fortunate and we can still find silver linings, August was definitely the month that 2020 became very 2020 for us.

Brady-bird also had a rough month. I rescued her from behind the wine fridge though. She was ungrateful.
Cynthia’s super-cute dog at the Oceanfront house!
“No workie.” Fortunately, there was a back-up that did, in fact, “workie.”

I went to NMCP for the last week in August, which was a great trip professionally but still stressful since the surgeries were high-stakes and required a lot of concentration. Everything went really well and it was super rewarding. I also had an awesome visit from Mom and Dad, who came down from DC to visit Thursday evening through Saturday. The highlights were our amazing dinners at Luce and York 411, with excellent food and great conversation. I wish I saw them more!

From L-R: Sutro Height Lion and me, view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Sutro Baths

I went back up to the Bay Area and SMS and I had a fun trip to San Francisco. We actually had an impromptu stay overnight after deciding to treat ourselves to a hotel room for the a/c. We used points and definitely like they were points well-spent!

From L-R: A marriage proposal, Saint Frank coffeeshop, Andytown Coffee Roasters
9/9/20: A really weird day, super orange-y with the wildfire smoke blowing through. This photo is unaltered/unfiltered.
Suuuuuuuuuuper lazy gardening hack, Palo Alto-style.
Robot vacuum, hard at work.

SMS’ work had their big reveal on 9/9 and it went really well. He made the decision to give up his apartment in Menlo Park and move down to San Diego. Working remote will still be “a thing” for several months and it just seemed time to be together. This was/is very exciting news!

And finally…

Catch-Up and Upcoming Trip

Over the years, I have had sporadic breaks when I wasn’t traveling/I was busy/I was lazy/etc.  There has never been a month break where so much has happened.  I don’t have any deep thoughts about the COVID-19 pandemic but I implore anyone reading to please listen to the experts. By this I mean, CDC, WHO, and the national treasure Dr. Anthony Fauci.  My career is based on science, facts, and a healthy respect for the number of unknowns that exist in our understanding of exactly how our miraculous bodies work.  Acknowledging these unknowns is a sign of humility and strength, not a reason to thereby dismiss everything someone is saying.  Total certainty is impossible and while it’s comforting when someone offers it, it is likely a shallow and fallible.

IMG_8541

So, how has COVID-19 affected me?   Well, I’m embarking on the USNS Mercy to our mission in LA.  While things could always change (and we were told something different up until yesterday afternoon), it seems this will likely be the destination since it was announced by the President.  SMS is here in San Diego and we’ve had a great week together.  Our families are healthy.

Since I do like to document my travels on this blog, I’m going to briefly sum up the last month prior to 12 March or so.  This is not to trivialize the current situation.  As for updates from the Mercy, I will certainly be writing privately.  Not as certain what will be on the blog but I will try!

IMG_8269

SMS and I are social media stars.  Ha, ha, not really.  But we are in Lucid Motor’s promo video from the reveal event.  So, I grabbed a screen capture for posterity!

IMG_8259
Michelle’s cute dog and me!

On 19 Feb, Michelle and I had a ladies of ENT workout and slumber party.  In the evening, we went for a run in the beautiful Del Mar Heights area.  Then, we drank some wine.  Not a lot, but I had planned to stay over so we could workout early (5:15 am) in the morning.  We took an ok aerobics/toning class, followed by an awesome spin class.  Hooray for work colleagues/friends!

trail map

That next weekend, SMS and I went on a hike on 2/23 to Muir Woods.  We went in the “back way” so we could park on the road along a trailhead up Mt. Tam, near the highlighted Mountain home parking.  We went on a 5 mile hike and it was awesome!  There were beautiful redwoods in the gully and, as we went higher, we cleared the treelike and saw beautiful vistas.

IMG_8322

Afterwards, we went to Sausalito and had some oysters and soup to re-energize us.  We went to the Fish Peddler and it was really good.  It was also a little less expensive than the restaurants in the heart of “downtown” (it’s really a small place overall).

IMG_8332

The next weekend was the Lucid battery team’s 4th annual ski trip.  We skied at Northstar and were finally able to use our Epic passes, which really do save money.  We won’t get to use them this Winter but since we skied two days, we saved about $50 overall.  Maybe next year we’ll try again.

IMG_8382
Parking Lot Selfie

IMG_8388
Lake Tahoe in the background

IMG_8411
Lakeside selfie on a dock near our AirBnB

We stayed at a really cute AirBnB.  I would want to stay there again in the Summer, but can I tell you one annoying thing about AirBnB?   The cleaning fee, taxes, and admin fees aren’t included in the room rate that pops up during the initial search.  It really can add quite a large percentage to the actual amount paid.  However, in fairness, AirBnB has had an amazing (for the renter) cancellation policy for COVID-19.  So, I’m not anti-AirBnB, I’m anti-hidden costs and fees.  Also, hosts that add a sizable cleaning fee should just rethink their room rate.  Unless maybe there are tax reasons for doing so?

IMG_8427

It snowed our last night there, which led to some adventures with tire chains on the way home but it was very pretty to look at from the inside of a warm house.

IMG_8523

Then, things started changing.  This is my colleague when we went to PAPR training.  This was Tuesday, before I knew anything about the Mercy, which I first heard about on Wednesday.  Such a compressed timeline!

IMG_8553
The cutest bird in all the land!

And, in case you want to know about another problem of mine, here’s a screen capture of my camera roll.  When I get home, please stage an intervention.

 

Weekend Review

IMG_7820
Evening Smart!

After four weekends in a row away from Menlo Park, SMS finally got a break and I travelled North.  I took Valentine’s Day off not because it’s a holiday we go all out for (honestly, it feels like Christmas just happened and who wants back-to-back gift buying pressure?), but because Lucid was having a special reveal party for reservation holders.  That’s us!

The event was called, “Love is in the AIR.”  The attire was evening smart and it was an incredible party.  I would have loved to be there from the start, but I arrived 45 minutes into the party due to insane (but typical) traffic from the airport.  The showroom was open for the first time and the interior was exquisitely luxurious.  There was a craft cocktail bar, which was for the party only.  Lucid will not promote a drinking driving culture in everyday operations.  There were special cocktails named after the different interiors. I ordered a drink with whiskey, fig, and a sprig of burnt rosemary that they flamed then and there.  Impressive!

There were a lot of delicious hors d’oeuvres that were passed.  I tried most of them, but didn’t act disgracefully.  I always remember a party I went to where the poor server carrying the shrimp got mobbed by people who acted like they hadn’t eaten in days.  Who knows, maybe they hadn’t.  But it looked like a shark thrash zone with chum in the water.  So, yes, I had some food as it showed up in front of me but afterwards, SMS and I realized we hadn’t really had dinner so we split a kabab plate at Oren’s Hummus.

The car reveal was preceded by a 20 minute-ish talk by the CEO/CTO highlighting some specific advances/innovations/exclusives of the car.   Then, the garage door opened in a haze of fog-machine produced atmosphere and the car rolled in.  It is a beautiful car and everyone was very impressed.

We spent the rest of the party trying the VR car viewer followed by talking to several Lucid employees.  It was a great time and I’m so glad we went.

IMG_8173
My favorite water tower in Palo Alto

IMG_8182
Biscuits and Gravy- can you feel the romance?

The next day, SMS had to work and I hung out in Palo Alto.  I went to Rumble Boxing, Blue Bottle (twice!), the mall, and the grocery store.  I also did some laundry and cooked dinner for Valentine’s Day.  Forget “Engagement Chicken,” I made SMS some biscuits and gravy!  It turned out pretty well although I think the sausage we used the first time was better.  Then we had molten lava cakes for dessert, which were very tasty.  I know the menu is not pleasingly cohesive but, hey, it worked for us!

IMG_8199
Avocado Toast: We’re such Wannabe Millennials

On Saturday, we had a Blue Bottle breakfast and shopped for veggies at the small farmer’s market. Then we headed up to Lafayette to hang out with Jyotsna and Akshay.  It was a fun afternoon of eating, drinking, and socializing.  We went to their friends’ house in Orinda for a bit.  It was nice to talk to them.  We had met once before and got along well.  We headed home for dinner.  I made a Zuppa Tuscana that was pretty tasty and a dupe for the Olive Garden soup for those in the know.

Sunday was our more active day.  We ate breakfast at home and then went for a hike on Windy Hill.  It was a gorgeous day.  I feel so lucky to be able to go on such great hikes!  I also made a veggie lasagna that was pretty good.  Thanks Smitten Kitchen!

IMG_8196
This is pretty delicious

Monday was another work day for SMS/holiday for me.  I went to Rumble and Blue Bottle.  I was going to go to the museum but Jyotsna invited me to a farm tour!

IMG_8242
Wine, my favorite farm product!

We went to the Nest Box farm and it was a delight!  We fed cows, chickens, goats, and sheep.  We collected eggs.  There was a small picnic that we supplemented with more food and (surprise!) wine.  We looked at the barn, garden areas, and pet rescue rabbit area.  It was a beautiful day to be outside and a really cool experience.  I want to go back with SMS and stay overnight, which will allow us to do more on the farm like milk a cow!

SMS came home a little after 6.  We had some dinner and after that, it was time to go to the airport since I needed to head back so I could be on time for my Tuesday clinic.  It was such a great weekend!

Weekend Review

SMS and I had another great weekend in San Diego.  After he arrived Friday night, we woke up Saturday morning and decided to go to Morning Glory and try the famous soufflé pancakes.  We got there around 9:30 and the line was already pretty crazy.  We had been warned to go early but hey, it was Saturday and I didn’t want to hurry.  There were two seats left at the seat-yourself bar area so we lucked out!

We had coffee, soufflé pancakes, and the Georgian (country) dish Khachapuri.  There was an extensive boozy drink menu but I was on call.  The guy next to us said his was intense!  The soufflé pancakes were pretty good and the Khacapuri was basically fancy cheesy bread.  Overall, I liked the place but there are so many brunch places in San Diego that I would choose trying a new place rather than going back.

IMG_8149
Super cute, very IG-friendly interiors!

After breakfast, we went to the Farmer’s Market.  Overall, it was a pretty mellow day which was great since the next day was race day!

Yes, I had signed up for the Coronado Valentine’s 10K after my sister-in-law told me about it.  She’s an amazing athlete so her time was about 10 minutes faster than mine and she didn’t even had a good race.  But, I was very excited about my splits since I averaged just over 8 min/mile and it had been awhile since I’ve done that!  Also, my last mile was run in 7’34” which was unexpected and motivating to keep working out!

Afterwards, we went to The Henry with the whole family for brunch so two good brunches in a row.  SMS went home later that evening so kind of  a quick, mellow weekend.