Winters

Full-time RVing isn’t a perfect lifestyle though it would come close if it weren’t for something called “winter.” Sure, we could swoop through the South, and probably will some year, but so far those dastardly storms that sweep through Texas and the Gulf states have kept us West of the Mississippi. We drift back and forth between southern California and Arizona, avoiding high mountain passes where snow forces many skiers to stop and chain up. Ugh!

Not that there isn’t plenty to do in the Southwest….

Like explore. San Diego, anyone?

This was, like the Vancouver Island trip, a visit we made without the RV. We found a nice little hotel in Coronado and immediately hoofed it to the waterfront.

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Water birds caught our eye as they paddled and dove and watched us watching them… here’s a Surf Scoter….

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… a gang of American Coots…

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… and this solitary sandpiper which I’ve given up trying to specifically identify. It seems to have the body shape of a yellowlegs, legs like a Western Sandpiper, a Wilson’s Snipe bill, and the body shape of a Stilt Sandpiper. I’m sure I’ve just discovered a new species! (Again.)

The front desk clerk recommended the Coronado Brewing Company for dinner, and I was thrilled to find two of my favorites in one dish: Lobster Macaroni and Cheese. Aahhh!

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Old Town San Diego was still closed up tight when we arrived, which meant we got a great place to park and plenty of time to wander around before the tourists arrived.

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We found a Mexican restaurant where the sombreros decorated more than the chairs….

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… and our lunch was served in a big “volcano.” I was so startled by it I missed getting a good photo, which is too bad because it looked more amazing than it tasted.

What better than a long walk on the beach to burn off some of those lunch calories?

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Of course, no trip to San Diego is complete without a bear encounter….

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… at the famous San Diego Zoo, of course…

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…where we made an immediate visit to the panda exhibit…

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…then spent the rest of the day wandering a relatively complete circle around the zoo. We peeked at all kinds of animals, like this red panda (which isn’t really a panda but a member of the raccoon family):

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I couldn’t take my eyes off this cute-faced critter, a Schmidt’s Spot-Nosed Guenon (what a name, eh?!?), as it did its yoga stretches….

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…but finally looked our way:

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Around the corner, an older relative wasn’t in the same easy-going mood:

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Many of the primates were very accustomed to having human beings walking by their abodes, staring at them, speaking homo sapien gibberish to them….

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…which they know means “Smile for the camera”:

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And this Okapi from Africa, with it’s not-quite-a-horse head and legs like a zebra, was the first of its kind we’d ever seen:

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Since we’ll never get to the Galapagos Islands, seeing the tortoises was high on the list. Notice anything about this gang (other than the fact that they’re eating)?

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Give up? Take a close look at the shape of their shells over their heads — some have a high arch, while others don’t. Look again:

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The tortoise eyeing you on the left has the close-cropped shell, while the one on the right has the high-arc shell. The shape of the shell indicates which island in the Galapagos is their native land — high shells allow those tortoises to stretch their necks high to reach food, while lower shells mean those tortoises can forage on the down low.

And what’s left after a great meal? A nap, of course:

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A good nap is catchy:

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Speaking of which…..

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About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
This entry was posted in and Critters in General, Animals, Attractions, Cool Experience, Interesting Stories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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