San Diego – the 59 Mile Scenic Drive

Since we didn’t have a real plan (or a huge budget) for seeing the sights of San Diego, we decided to start with the “59 Mile Scenic Drive.” The drive seemed to hit all of the high points of the city and surrounding area and we figured it would give us feel for what we might want to spend our tourist dollars on in the weekends to come. Plus, the price was right. The visitor center charged $.50 – and we could have downloaded it for free if we had done enough research!
So, pretend you’re in a sleek convertible ’cause here we go!
Downtown San Diego
Downtown. It was lovely, even though we did have a rough time finding the visitor center. And then it turned out we found the WRONG visitor center. (You’d think they would have had largely the same “stuff”, but the downtown VC is really just about, well, downtown. Go figure.)

After we found the RIGHT Visitor Center we began the Scenic Drive by checking out the two man-made islands in the harbor – Harbor Island and Shelter Island.
Harbor and Shelter Islands
Next on the route was Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument. There were some pretty interesting sights along the road down to the Cabrillo National Monument (which celebrates the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who first discovered the San Diego area.) We were intrigued by this facility –
San Diego Scenic Drive-12
so we did a little research. The SSC stands for SPAWAR Systems Command, which is short for Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, which according to their website is all about “transforming information into decisive effects”. Whatever that means. And who knows what it actually done in that building, but we thought it looked pretty interesting.
We also passed the Fort Rosecrans Cemetery –
Ft. Rosencrans Cemetery
Always beautiful. Always sobering.
At the very tip of the peninsula is the Cabrillo National Monument. We checked out the view, saw a video on tide pools and then went to check out the coastline. Since we hit it at high tide, there weren’t any tide pools, but we enjoyed the walk. I confess we didn’t actually see the monument and historic lighthouse since we were feeling a little pressed for time (and Gary was saying, “just how many monuments and lighthouses do you need to see in a lifetime?????”). But still, a very pretty spot!
Cabrillo National Monument
Our drive then took us through Ocean Beach and over Mission Bay and on to Soledad Mountain in the La Jolla area. While I doubt it’s the hightest spot in the area, it certainly afforded some beautiful views. Also, at the top of the mountain is the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial, with of all things, a 43 ft. high cross to honor the nation’s fallen heros.
Soledad Mountain Group
From Soledad Mountain we continued north to University of California, San Diego (UCSD). It wasn’t exactly on the “Scenic Drive”, but we decided to drive through the HUGE campus.
San Diego Scenic Drive-27
Our little guide had made particular note of the “magnificent library that is located in a eucalyptus grove and is a spectacular sight”. We spotted a sign for it, tracked it down, and while it wasn’t anything like what I was expecting, it certainly was spectacular….
San Diego Scenic Drive-28
(My driver’s comment was – “Maybe this is why California is broke!”)
From UCSD, we began our drive back down toward downtown. But oh, the sights along the way –
San Diego Scenic Drive-29
San Diego Scenic Drive-30
And whether we were driving through Ocean Beach or La Jolla or Pacific Beach, the drive was lovely!
San Diego Roads

We ended our day in Old Town State Historic Park which represents San Diego’s Hispanic heritage from 1821 to 1872 when that area was the center of San Diego. (Yes, I copied that from the guide paper.)
Old Town Group
It was fun to walk around, check out some of the living history “stuff”, and enjoy a couple of expensive tacos. By then we were beat – and decided the rest of the tour (Hillcrest, Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, Gaslamp Quarter to name a few) would have to wait for another day.
Aside from a few tense moments as we attempted to follow the directions on our little 50 cent scenic tour guide and managing to hit the 4:30PM Friday traffic heading out of the city, it was a very fine day indeed. And just today one of our fellow SOWERs stopped by to see if we would be interested in 2 passes to the Zoo! Whoohoo! At $35.00/ea you bet we’re interested! So there will certainly be more San Diego adventures for us!

PS – I consolidated some of the pictures into groupings, but if you would like to see them as individual photos you can check them out HERE.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

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