A sailboat heads out of Mission Bay to the open ocean
Bird of Paradise in Mission Bay
Tranquility and peace reign at
Cycling the paths along the Mission Bay beach villas
Mission Beach cottages open onto the wide sandy beach
Charming beach houses line the boardwalk
Pacific Beach - kite-boarding paradise.
Anyone can learn to surf here, though the buff bod
may be harder to achieve.
SoCal is truly laid back
A modern day Jesus Freak?
Any smaller, older RV will do.
Jerry relaxes in the back of his toy hauler.
Horses cool their hooves along the beaches at Fiesta
Life's a Beach on Fiesta Island
Hotel del Coronado.
Mission Bay, San Diego, CA
October 1-28, 2008 - A few times during our stay in San Diego, we
moved our RV from Shelter Island to Mission Bay. We (and at least 50
other RVs) were doing the "San Diego Shuffle," moving our rigs around
on the city's waterfront streets to stay in line with California's 72-hour
parking law. As long as we all moved every three days, we could enjoy
the many delights of this beautiful city and gaze at prime multi-million
dollar waterfront views right outside our doors.
of Mission Bay
is a dramatic
contrast to the
bustle of Shelter Island. Also manmade, from sand dredged out of San
Diego Harbor, Mission Bay is a series of waterways through former
mudflats, with the land forming quasi-islands and little peninsulas. The
manicured grass lawns along the bay are largely city parks, and there
are many children's playgrounds, picnic areas and even large bonfire
rings along the beaches. The tall palms and sparkling water offer a calm
retreat from downtown San Diego.
The walking and bicycling paths go on for miles, and we had many happy bike rides in and
around the bay and along Mission Beach. There are endless charming beachfront villas on both
the placid bay side and on the surfing beach side. Each home is unique, and they line up cheek-
by-jowel, with patios and porches facing the lovely views. Most are available as vacation rentals.
We rode our bikes along the Mission
Beach boardwalk up as far as Pacific
Beach, making the transparent
transition from one miles-long
expanse of sandy beach to the next.
Pacific Beach was teaming with
people kite-boarding. Each had a
huge parachute, and they used the
wind to skim across the ocean on their
Surfing is a beloved passtime in this area, and we saw surf shops,
surfers and surfer dudes that were right out of a Beach Boys song.
Sea World is tucked into one corner of the Bay, and bike rentals and
bikes were everywhere.
This is a very laidback
area, where surf, sun,
sand and beach bars all
come together in a
dreamy combination. As
we drove one afternoon,
we passed a young
fellow playing his guitar
while he rode his bike.
Not too much stress
there! Others just rolled
along the sidewalk on
The best way to enjoy San Diego is to have a
lot of money (for a pretty multi-million dollar
beach bungalow, a convertible roadster and a
yacht) and to have a lot of time to enjoy them
(i.e., no job). Most people we saw seemed to
have either one or the other.
This can be an eclectic crowd too. We saw a
strangely painted car, several perfectly
restored Microbuses, and an odd collection of
In Mission Bay, the older the RV, it seems, the better. The
shapes of some are from a long distant era, while others are
The "San Diego Shuffle" of RVs moving from one parking
space to another is actually something of a two-step in
Mission Bay, as parking is prohibited between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. Each evening a parade of RVs makes its way
out of the Mission Bay parking areas into the industrial city streets on the far side of the freeway. Early each morning
the RVs return, many to the same spot they had the day before.
The best setup we saw was Jerry's. He towed his toyhauler "office"
trailer behind his Class C motorhome, and on lazy afternoons he would
string up a hammock inside his "office" trailer, taking in the view of the
Bay from his swing.
The stories of each household living in their RV were
varied, but a common concern was the upcoming city vote
on whether to override the California law and ban overnight
parking on public streets. The days of this urban RV lifestyle of freedom on the waterfront may be
numbered. The vote was held on our last day in the city, and we didn't hear the outcome.
One day we parked our trailer out on Fiesta Island, a tiny dot of California desert perched in the middle of
the Mission Bay. The dry, brown, tumbleweed land is sparsely visited, and we had a stretch of beach all
to ourselves. As we sat there enjoying the view of the homes across the water, a group of horses
suddenly appeared, splashing in the water as they walked.
The weather was unusually warm
for October (90's), and we spent
much of the month in tank tops
and shorts. A visit to Coronado
Beach offered delicious relief from the heat one afternoon, and we
played in the sand and waves. On a return visit we discovered the
history and beauty of the Victorian Hotel del Coronado that presides
over one end of the beach.
After a month of coastal pleasures,
we felt a little nip in the air as the
fog banks crept in and stayed
longer and longer each morning. It
was time to move on, and we
headed inland to the California
desert of Anza-Borrego. But the
temps were falling fast, and we
continued on to the warmest of the
southwestern desert areas in