Mystery Trip: Day 4 & Pro Tips

We didn’t have to be at the airport until 12:30, so I had goals for the morning:

  • coffee and a croissant or perhaps a donut
  • selfie in front of the Longhairs‘ place of business
  • buy a couple of bottles

It is a truth universally acknowledged that one simply does not set out for any destination with the Lovely First Wife without double-checking 1) the address; and 2) the directions. I foolishly failed to do so as we set out for the Donut Bar, “only seven blocks away.” (That sounds like a hike, but San Diego’s blocks are only 1/4 the size of New York’s by design.)

Therefore, when we had gone the required distance and not only was there no Donut Bar but no shops of any kind, I double-checked on my phone. The Donut Bar was nowhere close. We had gone the distance on J Street; the Donut Bar was up Sixth Ave. We ended up back at Achilles Coffee, which has only food food, not croissants or donuts.

I double-checked the Longhairs’ address, and it occurred to me to look at the street view — there was no indication that the Longhairs were in that building. They just moved there this past fall so perhaps the street view was not up to date, but we decided not to make the trek just to take a photo in front a nondescript industrial building. Sorry, my dudes, I’ll catch up with you next year.

Back on my phone, I found that Skinflint’s Wine & Spirits Shop was right there on Fifth Avenue, across from our hotel, and it was already open at 10:00 a.m. Awesome!

Except that it wasn’t. The map led us to a door on J Street, with no indication there was anything there but office-type businesses. Around the corner was the Wine Bank, but it didn’t open until noon, plus it advertised itself as a tequila shop. Even now, Google Maps will tell you it’s at 363 Fifth Avenue, but it appears to be in the middle of the building. The photo is of the Wine Bank, which was actually padlocked. Is Skinflint’s inside the Wine Bank, like a speakeasy? It occurs to me that this might be the case, but if so, why it claim to be open at 10:00 a.m. when the front door is padlocked until noon?

Not a problem. Perhaps the shops at the airport would have what I wanted? Nope. The bottles there were nothing but big name bottles that you can buy anywhere. Come on, San Diego (and every major airport, for that matter), stock your local distilleries! Represent!

Thus defeated, we flew home, the end.


Pro tips

First of all, Pack Up & Go is a good thing. The excitement of not knowing where you’re going — only that it’s not somewhere you’ve been recently — is fun, and the events they scheduled for us were solid (although we blew off two of them). If you’re an experienced/savvy traveler, filling in the gaps once you find out where you’re going is not a problem. If you’re not, then head straight to the concierge at the front desk of your hotel and make them your best friend.

I must also note that Pack Up & Go put us up at the Pendry at their corporate rate, which is about half of the regular rate. I just checked to see how much rooms regularly go for, and it is a pretty pricey joint.

San Diego is lovely! Normally much warmer than it was this time, it’s probably tops on my list of where I’d flee if Georgia becomes a Nazi state like Florida. (This would be right after I won the PowerBall: like most of California, San Diego is crazy expensive.)

Double-check the dates of Comic-Con before you schedule your trip. That’s an extra 300,000 people you don’t want to have to deal with. Plus they’re dressed like Storm Troopers.

Old Town is a thumbs-up, particularly if you like Mexican food. We were not there when the Old Town Park village shops were open, but we’ll be there next year.

The hop-on/hop-off trolley is a good overview of the city.

We were constantly amazed at the fact that pedestrians literally have the right of way. Most of the intersections where we were are four-way stops, and drivers who pulled up even a fraction of a second before us would wave us on. We saw people just walk out into the street without looking, confident that cars would stop. And they do.

You can probably skip Coronado Island. It’s a lovely enclave, but it’s essentially shopping, and mostly shops that you have in your own area. I think we will go out to the Hotel Del Coronado just for the ambience, but the isle itself is skippable.

Little Italy is jam-packed with fine dining.

Uber is a great way to get around town. We never had to wait more than five minutes for a ride, and the drivers out there seem to have nicer cars than you. (Twice our Uber was a Tesla.)

The WNDR Museum is really cool!

The SAN DIEGO ZOO is reason enough to go to San Diego. It is probably one of our top ten places ever to have visited, and we will go back there next year.

Things we didn’t get to do this time that we’ll check out next time: Old Town Park village; the Museum of Art (and the other museums in Balboa Park); You & Yours Distilling; cocktail bars that we just didn’t get to; maybe Kansas City Barbeque, which we laughed at when we drove into town but which is the bar from the original Top Gun; the city’s trolley routes.

Go to Fifth & Rose for a cocktail and say hi to Cody for us.

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