Category Archives: san diego

Goodbye Durango (You will be Missed)

Durango and Fort Lewis College from Hogsback. Oct, 2009

Kinsee and I are moving. We’re headed back to San Diego. We’ve known for a while now that we’d be leaving Durango, we just didn’t know exactly where we would be going or when we would be leaving. Last week Kinsee got a job offer in San Diego and we decided we’d be heading back.

San Diego’s not the perfect city, but it might come close. I feel like I’ve had a love/hate relationship with it in the past, but I’m excited to be going back. I’m sure there will be things I hate (traffic, well driving anywhere in general) but so many of my friends are there, the weather is damn near perfect, and there’s a whole lot going on in the craft beer realm.

There are things I’ll miss about Durango (and a lot of things I won’t miss, but I don’t want to dwell on the negative). I can’t imagine a better place for cycling (well 9 months out of the year). Road or trail, it’s pretty much perfect here. It’s beautiful, the picture above doesn’t do Durango justice. And I’ve had no complaints about the craft beer in Durango.

But we need to get back to a bigger city. Durango can be a little stifling if you’re not prepared, that’s not to say we haven’t had a lot of fun. We’ve met some really great people  too.

My last hurrah in Durango will be the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. I’ll be racing the train 50 miles and 5700 vertical feet up to Silverton in just a few weeks, then we’ll be on our way to San Diego.

We’ll be back to visit plenty  (hopefully in the summertime) but we’re both looking forward to getting back to San Diego.

stifling

Blogging and San Diego

I haven’t been blogging much here, but I’ve been doing a ton of blogging over at BeerNBikes.com Durango, CO (and the surrounding Four Corners area) is an awesome place for both craft beer fans and cyclists.

I still read up on things happening in San Diego every once in a while, especially all the wonderful beer being made.

I saw this post on Draft Mag’s blog about the SDCityBeat Festival Of Beer coming up in May, and their summary of San Diego pretty much sums things up for me:

Occasionally, we consider moving to San Diego. It’s warm. All the time. It’s beautiful. All the time. The people are attractive. All the time. Honestly, what’s not to like? Then you visit, however, and realize it’s essentially a city devoid of culture, unless you consider being a stop on the way to Tijuana an important cultural experience. We don’t.

They do have good things to say about the CityBeat Festival of Beers though.

La Mesa Bar Bike Adventure

There are all sorts of bars in La Mesa, the city I grew up in, that I’ve never been to. Places that I wondered about when underage, but just didn’t seem cool enough once I could get into bars. Last night Kinsee, Derrik and I rode our bikes to five of those La Mesa watering holes.

First up was Centifonti’s, I’ve walked past it a few times before and always assumed it was a restaurant or bakery, I was shocked when I saw a coupon in the Citybeat advertising their “Boot of Beer”.  Why a place like this serves a boot of beer is beyond me, but we weren’t concerned with that, we just wanted our 112oz of cold, foamy Stella Artois. I felt a little out of place at first, most of the patrons were older than the three of us combined, but as we drank the boot I stopped worrying about La Mesa folks and started having a good time.

Pouring the Boot

Pouring the Boot

Drinking the Boot

Drinking the Boot

Finishing the Boot

Finishing the Boot

Next up was Pete’s Place. Pete’s used to be one of two dive bars on La Mesa Blvd, but they both recently closed. Pete’s Place opened back up after some remodeling, Joe and Andy’s, the other dive hasn’t reopened yet. When tearing down the old walls they apparently found nice brick walls behind them, so Pete’s Place looks nice these days. Even though they got remodeled the bar tender said they still have the same people hanging out there and drink prices didn’t go up. $3.25 for a decently stiff whiskey and 7up was pretty good.

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Brick Walls

Brick Walls

After Pete’s Place we rode down the street, passing such places as Hoffer’s Cigar Bar and the Turquoise Room at the Riviera Supper Club for the tried and true Falcon’s Lure. They only serve beer and wine but we found some good local brews. We played the jukebox (I resisted putting on Alice’s Restaurant, three times), met a local who showed us a magic trick, he originally wanted us to buy him a beer before showing us the magic behind it. When we showed no interest whatsoever he decided to tell us free of charge.

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Bikes in the Bar

Bikes in the Bar

We sprinted down University Ave to The Dragon Room at Wong’s Golden Palace. This was the most divey, and least fun bar of the night. We walked in and it was almost silent, no music was playing, and nearly dark. No one was behind the bar so I asked a guy sitting there if he’d seen a bartender around recently. He looked at me and laughed and said “nah”. Then he started yelling “MEATLOAF! MEATLOAF!”, shortly after that the bartender started walking over. We didn’t feel comfortable ordering drinks from someone that responds to the name Meatloaf so we went into the restaurant and order our Flaming Volcano drink. We downed the drink and got out as quickly as we could.

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The Volcano

The Volcano

The Flaming Volcano

The Flaming Volcano

Last was Mr G’s Tavern. It was bright with loud but not too loud music and a decent crowd. One patron was apparently trying to make fun of us and our bikes but I didn’t let him get away with it.

Him: “So you guys ten-speeded in here huh?”

Me: “They’re single-speeds actually.”

We quickly became friends with him and another regular named Tim. By the time we left we’d earned his respect by riding around the hills of La Mesa with only one gear.

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A Few of the Regulars -- We met Tim

A Few of the Regulars -- We met Tim

A Couple of the Other Regulars

A Couple of the Other Regulars

Photos mostly by Derrik.

I’ve Said it Before…

…I Love Santa Ana’s.

Urban Tumbleweeds

Urban Tumbleweeds

Some Thoughts on the US-Mexico Border

The REAL ID Act allows the Department of Homeland Security to disregard all environmental laws to protect our borders. I don’t think they’ve started filling in the canyon on the border near the Tijuana Estuary yet, something that will cause all sorts of environmental problems with run off, erosion and effect plenty of birds, but it’s in the works.

Today I just read a story about the DHS using the REAL ID Act to start building roads in designated wilderness east of San Diego in preparation of building the triple border fence. Wilderness designation is supposed to keep the land free of human influence, a road and border fence are definitely human influence. A couple of years ago a border patrol spokesman said the area wouldn’t need fencing because the rugged land was fence enough, but apparently something has changed and they’re going ahead with it anyways.

One of my favorite things about much of the designated wilderness areas east of San Diego on the border are that they’re not wilderness for humans. There are few trails, few natural wonders for people to visit, but plenty of wide open space for the environment to be left alone. What wilderness designation was meant for. But no longer for the Otay Mountain Wilderness Area.

The blog post linked above (and here it is again in case you missed it, because I think it’s important to get the word out) is the first mention of this I’ve seen. Nothing in the newspapers, no other press. The DHS is doing a lot of stuff with very little public input.

The Best Haircut of My Life

Straight Razor Shave. Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Straight Razor Shave. Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Last night I went down to Two Roses Inc, a tattoo parlor, barbershop, and cafe in Barrio Logan for a full service haircut and it was amazing. The place has a good feel to it, everyone was friendly, at least three or four tattoo artists introduced themselves to me and chatted while I was waiting including the owners.

By the time I got in the chair Carlos the barber was chatting and we were having a good time, looking back on it, I’m not sure why I turned down his offer of a glass of Scotch while I was getting trimmed, but there will always be a next time.

After the cut he started prepping me for a shave with a straight razor. I was really looking forward to this because I hate shaving, so someone else doing it for me seemed pretty nice, and because of the old-time-machismo-getting-shaved-with-a-big-ole-sharp-blade thing. He started by putting some moisturizer on my face. Then wrapping me in a hot towel. He did this about three times to soften my skin and get it ready to shave. He put on some warm shaving cream and started shaving. By this time he’d been chatting it up and built some rapport so I wasn’t nervous about the blade at all.

he shaved all around, taking extra care around my beloved moustache. When done he toweled me off, put some sort of after-shave on that burned, but as he said “it doesn’t quite hurt, just makes you feel alive”. He put some more moisturizer on there and then toweled all the hair of my face, back and everywhere else it ended up. I was feeling great, in a sort of relaxation-haze, about to stand up when I pulled out a massager and gave me a little back and neck massage. It was already the best haircut of my life, but that just put it over the top.

He even recomended some waxy like stuff for styling my moustache, I’m gonna give that a try tonight to see if it holds up better than the Clubman’s wax I’ve been using.

Not only was this the best, most relaxing haircut ever. It was cheap too. The haircut was just a bit more than Supercuts would charge, the shave was $16 as well. The best part about it was the comfortable, old time feel they’ve got going.

Santa Ana Winds

Santa Ana winds are my favorite weather phenomena. Santa Ana winds happen in Southern California (I wonder if they happen other places in the world?) in the fall and winter, the wind blows in from the east towards the ocean, usually getting warmer closer to the coast. They’re unseasonably warm and windy. I’m not really sure what causes them, scientists say it’s a misconception that it’s hot air from the desert, something to do with adiabatic compression but ya got me.

Santa Ana winds are coming back to San Diego this weekend and I’m excited. Most people hate them but I love it. I heard on the radio this morning that it would be in the 80’s this weekend, but this weather report says only low 70’s. Either way it’s going to get dry, windy and warm. A bad combo for fires, but otherwise nice and balmy weather.