San Diego, California Trip & A Petrolicious Article

Odometer (Vigor):  107,599

Trip Distance:  710 Miles

The Center of the World, as it turns out, can be anywhere you want it to be.

The (three) residents of the small town of Felicity, California think they’re the lucky ones who can claim such a title.  Passers-by on Interstate 8 between Yuma, Arizona, and San Diego California may look to the north of the highway and see a spiral staircase seemingly leading to nowhere.  It’s a 25-foot-tall set of stairs that were brought over from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Also among the oddities on this site are a pyramid (it’s the desert, after all) and a small church set atop a man-made hill.  When my friends and I travel to southern California, Felicity is one of my favorite pit stops, and it was just one of the highlights a short & sweet trip to San Diego and back this past weekend.

For a change of pace, I pulled the 1994 Vigor out of the garage and put it to work.  After all, it had only been driven about 2,400 miles in two years and it hadn’t left the state since July of 2015 since I first brought it to Phoenix from Denver.  Luckily, the old Arcadia Green 5-cylinder was up to the task and made the trip flawlessly and in the comfort of nice cold air conditioning.  In all, there were 7 of us making the westward trek to escape the summer’s heat so a couple of friends drove separately.

San Diego’s weather forecast is among the country’s most predictable and comfortable.  The highest monthly average high temperature (in August) is 76 degrees and the lowest (in December) is 48 degrees.  To those of us who’ve been hitting triple-digit temperatures since the first week of May, it’s a perfect escape at only 5.5 hours away.  Plus, Yuma, at the halfway point, has a Panda Express.  Sign me up for that roadside destination.

James secured us a sweet 1910 era home on Myrtle Avenue via AirBNB which suited our needs perfectly and was located within a few blocks from the social activities which we wanted to attend.  It was located in the Hillcrest part of town, just north of Balboa Park and conveniently located not far from the I-8 freeway that we had come into town on.  I was able to stash the Vigor streetside for a couple of days and not have to worry too much about parking.  On Saturday I enjoyed the opportunity to throw a beach towel on the front yard under a shade tree and enjoy the cool breeze.  That afternoon, a few of us attended a pool party.

Here’s one heck of a chair.  Or a scene from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Our evening took us deeper into downtown San Diego, to the “Little Italy” part of town.  It was originally an Italian fishing neighborhood and today is home to some of the best Italian dining in southern California.  From our table at a restaurant on India Street called Civico 1845, I could see the harbor just a few blocks away and the open air dining was a nice refreshing break.  Not to mention – the food was phenomenal (albeit $22 for my entree).  At the end of the meal, our wait staff delivered a plate of tiramisu so James in recognition for his 31st birthday the day prior.  He graciously shared with the rest of us, and we burned off a few calories by walking down to the waterfront afterward.

For our return trip to Phoenix on Sunday morning, Rob took the passenger seat of the Vigor and we sampled its audio system while relaxing to Enya’s “Caribbean Blue” on CD.  The car’s motor whirred at 3,100 RPM.  One of my favorite stretches of interstate in the country is the piece of I-8 between In-Ko-Pah Road and Ocotillo, California, which descends sharply from 4,000 feet to seat level.  You can see old segments of US Highway 80 in certain areas, long since bypassed when the interstate took its place in the 1960s.

Thanks for coming along for the trip!

Fuel stop in Alpine, CA as we began our descent into San Diego

Brunch spot for Saturday morning

Rob, Tyson, James, Kyle, Jack

This wasn’t brunch; it was lunch.  But it was amazing!  From Luna Grill on University.

Departure time and loading up the car.

Saying farewell to our temporary home.

Stopping at the Center of the World in Felicity, California.

The Vigor, James‘ tester Genesis G80, and Jack’s RSX.

Here is some reading material for those of you who might not yet have seen it.  Petrolicious editor Alex Sobran asked me to put together a guest editorial for the site.  I was honored at the opportunity.  Petrolicious is one of my favorite automotive websites.  One day I’d like to collaborate on a video production with them.  Here is the article I put together.

Finally, a friend showed me a cool old TV commercial for the 1994 Legend coupe.  I thought it was great how the car is shown in a setting of such opulence and class.  I think you might have to have Facebook to view it, and can’t figure out how to embed the video here so see if the link works for you.

Have a great week!

17 Responses to “San Diego, California Trip & A Petrolicious Article”

  1. Todd and I had our first AirBNB experience this past weekend. It was a quaint home in Panguitch, where we were assigned a room in the basement. The ping-pong table proved too tempting so we played 5 sequential games (first one to 15 wins) and Todd came out victorious, though I truly had him working for it. I love ping pong.

    Your lunch from Luna Grill looks not only nutritious but also COLORFUL! Did you and Rob watch “What the Health” yet? You may steer clear from meat… no pun intended.

    It looks like a great road trip with some of my faves. Making memories — that’s what it’s all about!

    P.S. How is marathon training coming along?

    • Marathon training, ha! I have 2.5 months to get that figured out. Too bad Todd beat you at ping pong. Did you know that my neighbors across the street to the north have 3 dogs of the same breed? Their names are Ping, Pong, and Ball.

  2. Looks like a very fun trip!! Food, friends, and 90’s Honda/Acura products… what else does a guy need? Also, cool picture of the harbor. Reminds me of a scene from Blade Runner.

    Did you find out what was in that pyramid? I’m curious.

    • I’ve not been inside the pyramid at Felicity since it seems that every time I stop by, it’s closed up. There are guided tours of the whole facility so I will have to schedule a visit for when they are actually active / open. The only thing I’ve been able to find online is that the pyramid itself is the “actual spot” that’s the center of the world, and it’s a place where you can make wishes inside.

  3. Really cool to see Ms. Cognac get to see some
    Road trip action! I want to get it to Miami in January. Maybe 4 corners.

    • Sounds good. We will get to Miami, 4 Corners, or both. Ms. Cognac is enjoying some road time. I just commuted with her for the third consecutive day this week.

  4. Most people do not consider a 710 mile round trip “short”. 😉

  5. That was pretty fun little get-a-way. Shame we didn’t get any beach time.

    • I know! I could have used a little sea breeze in my face, aside from the one we got late-night at the harbor. I might try and get out there again later in the summer for a more low-key weekend.

  6. Nice to see the Vig get more drive time but more importantly great you’re able to escape this convection oven we call home…

    They say San Diego this time of year has more Phoenicians than natives so it must have been really crowded especially at the beach…

    • I tend to believe that – we ran into LOTS of Phoenicians out there. Almost makes me think we should collectively go in on a timeshare or 2nd home out there and just trade off whichever weekends we’re hitting up the beach! I’ll get back on your email soon. Just finished listening to the podcast on “speakerless” audio. Technology!

  7. Midnight Mystery Says:

    Glad to see the Vigor taking a trip… They’re such cool cars, really something special… I hit 200k in the RDX yesterday, getting new front struts soon…

    I saw your video on the ILX hitting 200k, very nice!!!

  8. Brad Heffran Says:

    Panda Express again? Sad!

    • Haha, I can feel those judging eyes, Brad, and I don’t like them! If you just gave the delicious orange chicken a chance, you’d change your mind! 🙂

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