Category Archives: Travel Archive

Petco Park, in A Trip of a Lifetime

A Trip of a Lifetime

Last week my wife and I took a trip of a lifetime. We didn't take a cruise on one of many mega liners that depart from our inviting harbor, or board a plane to some far off exotic land. We simply boarded the San Diego Trolley and headed west toward downtown San Diego. We laughed and joked with fellow passengers as we passed through La Mesa, Lemon Grove, and East San Diego, headed for the 12th and Imperial stop, two short blocks from our ultimate destination, Petco Park. From infants to super seniors, the trolley was filled with Padre fans decked out in jerseys and caps that represented Padres of the past. All of us shared a sense of excitement, a sense that this was the beginning of a new era. We were all happy that it was also a time of closure to the bitter battle to build San Diego's answer to Denver's Coors Field, Baltimore's Camden Yards, and San Francisco's SBC Park. We were pumped.

The new scoreboard welcomed Padres fans on Opening Night.
When we arrived at 12th and Imperial, and began our short walk to Petco Park, the excitement began to grow. We could see the lights of the park. We could hear the buzz of the crowd. We knew we were just moments away from seeing the newest addition to San Diego baseball history. We talked about days at Lane Field, Westgate Park, Jack Murphy Stadium, and Qualcomm. They were about to pass into history. As we arrived at the park and proceeded to the turn styles where new bar code readers would read the codes on our opening night tickets, we realized that Thursday, April 8, 2004 had arrived.and so had Petco Park, the newest and brightest addition to downtown San Diego. We headed to our seats, walking past scores of food operations and well placed restrooms. We smiled back at the multitude of cheerful Padres employees who welcomed us to their new home away from home. Although there was a relaxed atmosphere in the air, both my wife and I were nervously excited as we realized we were about to become part of San Diego baseball history. Our Trip Of A Lifetime will forever be a memory of viewing the pavers we purchased to honor and remember my father, Horace Miller, a long time San Diego resident and Padres fan, and my wife's brother, Ron Greenberg, an El Cajon resident and multi-year Padres season ticket holder. It will be remembering former President Jimmy Carter throwing out the first ceremonial pitch to owner John Moores, Tony Gwinn striding to home plate to a well deserved standing ovation, the Western Metal Building's old brick facade beaming with pride as it became part of a new tradition, and the Armed Services Color Guard unrolling a huge American flag across the manicured outfield grass.
It was time to Play Ball when Pt. Loma High's David Wells took the mound on Opening Night.
We'll remember the pride of San Diegan's of all ages as we stood to sing the Star Spangled Banner and then watched four jets from MCAS Miramar do a fly over at the precise moment the last note was sung. We will always remember two of the most exciting moments in San Diego baseball history.Pt. Loma High's David Wells firing a first pitch strike to officially welcome America's National Pastime to Petco Park, and Granite Hills High alum Brian Giles delivering Petco's first hit, a sizzling single to right. The game itself was terrific, full of good pitching, great defense, clutch hitting, and an opening night win for the Padres. Whether this opening win is a harbinger of things to come only time will tell. However, for my wife and I, our ride on the San Diego Trolley, and our Opening Night at Petco Park, will always be A Trip Of A Lifetime.
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Cruising the Antarctic Peninsula…A Visit to The White Continent

Why would anyone want to spend a week cruising the cold turbulent waters of South America ’s Drake’s Passage and the Antarctic Ocean ? While the answer might be to view penguins in their natural habitat, or to watch million year old glaciers calve into the deep blue waters of the Antarctic Ocean, the answer for many is simply the opportunity to step foot on Antarctica and successfully achieve a lifelong goal of visiting all of the world’s seven continents.

Icebergs float lazily in the waters of the Antarctic Ocean.
In the past, Antarctica has been the last continent visited by most of those with such a desire. However, this may change as “The White Continent” has become easily accessible to other than the myriad of scientists who explore the world’s highest, driest, and coldest continent. Ships from Orient, Holland America , Norwegian and Princess cruises lines, as well as a number of smaller exploration type vessels, now navigate the waters around the slender thread of Antarctica known as the Antarctic Peninsula .Each December through February, during the Southern Hemisphere’s austral summer, ships leave from Ushuaia , Argentina , the world’s southernmost city, and head south to the Antarctic Peninsula . It is there, among thousands of chinstrap and gentoo penguins, that curious travelers and adventure seekers are able to visit nature’s refrigerator freezer.

Typical penguin rookery on the Antarctic Peninsula
If you wish to visit “The White Continent,” and do so in comfort while enjoying excellent food, service and outstanding lectures given by highly qualified lecturers, take a cruise. If stepping foot on the continent is a must, book your cruise on Orient Lines’ Marco Polo as this classy and comfortable ship is the only major cruise ship providing the opportunity to actually set foot on the Antarctic continent. The 22,000 ton Marco Polo is very sea worthy and that’s a major consideration when plying the waters around South America’s Cape Horn. Although seas can be as calm as a swimming pool in your backyard, it is also possible to encounter 40 to 50 foot swells, and 80 to 90 mile per hour winds. The Marco Polo normally carries 850 passengers but on Antarctica cruises, the number is limited to 425. This reduced number is necessary as environmental concerns limit the number of cruise passengers allowed on the continent to 100 at any one time. A full compliment of passengers would make it impossible for all to go ashore at all locations. This limited number also makes for a very enjoyable and relaxed cruise.

The Marco Polo at anchor in the Antarctic Ocean
When cruising to the Antarctic Peninsula on the Marco Polo, you will be able to enjoy cozying up to wildly sculptured icebergs. You will skim over the waters of the Antarctic Ocean in 15 passenger zodiac rafts. You’ll see hundreds of Charley Chaplin look-alikes as they waddle past you headed to the family nest, or to the ice covered beach for a swim in water hovering in the low 30’s. You’ll be able to take a dip in a section of geothermal heated Antarctic Ocean , or possibly walk in balmy 30+ degree weather on a desolate, black lava beach. Cruising the Antarctic Peninsula , and a visit to “The White Continent,” is a trip to be considered. It’s certainly one I will remember forever. For more information on how to visit one of the most interesting and intriguing places on earth, call you local travel agent, or visit the Website of your favorite cruise line.
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Not Just An Island, It’s Another World

It has been made famous in song. It has been the playground for Hollywood stars. It was once the spring training home for the Chicago Cubs. Its golf course has played host to Tiger Woods. It's Catalina Island, and it is just "Twenty Six Miles Across The Sea". With a quiet, relaxed life style, and an average of 267 days of sun annually, Catalina is an idyllic place to visit. Thanks to concern for conservation and preservation by William Wrigley, Jr. and his family, owners of controlling interest in Catalina Island since 1919, the island has kept its tranquil charm rather than become an island of high rises and high tech. To get to Avalon, Catalina's seaport and main town, you can take the hour and one-half journey from Long Beach, San Pedro or Dana Point aboard the comfortable Catalina Channel Express. Or, if you want to shorten the trip, and your budget can afford it, you can take a 20-minute helicopter flight across the channel. Either way, Avalon, home to all but a few hundred of the island's 3600 permanent residents, will greet you with a beautiful crescent shaped harbor and a picturesque main street that boasts a variety of restaurants, shops and hotels. Avalon has lots to offer. Its many shops can provide a daylong adventure for even the most jaded of shoppers. Non-shoppers can take highly educational and relatively inexpensive tours, including one to see historical sites, native flora and fauna, and possibly the 300 bison that roam the island. Tours on a glass bottom boat or the Nautilus undersea submarine present an opportunity to see migratory sea lions in their natural habitat, and view the highly colorful fish along the island's reefs Combining the Avalon Scenic Tour and The Casino tour is highly recommended. Both guided and narrated, these 50-minute tours highlight historic and scenic sights in and around Avalon. The Avalon Scenic Bus Tour will take you on a nine-mile ride along the seashore, though the hills, past the Wrigley mansion, the Catalina Country Club, and stop for outstanding photo opportunities of tranquil Avalon harbor. A guided tour of The Casino, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, will awaken your artistic instincts as you view Wrigley's wonderfully restored building which houses both an art deco movie theater and a highly impressive Grand Ballroom. During its 1930's and 40's heyday, the Grand Ballroom played host nightly to upwards of 6,000 tuxedoed gentlemen and gowned ladies who danced the night away to the top big bands of the era. Surprisingly, in spite of its name, The Casino has always been a ballroom and never a gambling casino. If relaxing on the beach is more your style, join people of all ages who enjoy the sun on the small but inviting white sand beaches that line Crescent Avenue, Avalon's main street. For those who want to sit and people watch, Crescent Avenue's European style outdoor bars and restaurants are a must. Whether you plan to stay a day, a week, or a month, Catalina is a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Southern California. For an enjoyable getaway, visit Catalina, the friendly island known worldwide. After all, it's only "Twenty Six Miles Across The Sea". For complete information on transportation, lodging, restaurants, and things to do on Catalina, visit the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce website at www.catalina.com.
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Hotels That Move

Check Into A "Hotel That Moves" For a Fun Filled Vacation

Have you ever experienced a vacation that seemed as if all you did was drive from one city to another, check into one hotel after another, and pack and unpack? If so, chances are your memories of this time for relaxation include more thoughts of drudgery than vacation. When planning your next vacation, consider stepping aboard one of the more than 150 cruise ships that sail the oceans of the world. Each of these multi million dollar floating hotels will transport you from scenic port to scenic port in a relaxed and luxurious environment..and you'll only have to unpack once.

Celebrity Cruise Line's Millennium and Crystal Cruise Line's Crystal Symphony at dock in St. Petersburg, Russia while cruise guests tour the famed city.
On a cruise ship you will enjoy the life style of an all inclusive resort knowing your stateroom, meals and entertainment, along with a myriad of daily activities, are all included in the price of your cruise. You will enjoy daily maid service, delicious and sumptuous meals served 24 hours a day in a number of restaurants and cafes. You can enjoy nightly cabaret and/or Las Vegas type shows, tempt lady luck in the ship's casino, or "shop til you drop" in the ship's boutiques. You will also have time to recline in a comfortable lounge chair on deck or by the pool, or curl up with a good book in your stateroom or the ship's library.

The Caribbean harbor of Castries, St. Lucia plays host to Holland America's Volendam, a beautiful five star "Hotel That Moves".
With 25 cruise lines offering cruises worldwide ranging in length from three days to over 100 days, there are many variables to consider when contemplating a cruise. In order to insure you receive the best advice, engage the help of a qualified travel agent associated with an agency that specializes in cruises. He or she can guide you as you ponder the length of your desired cruise holiday, which itinerary would be of the most interest, your preference as to stateroom size, the demographics of potential fellow passengers, the number of sea days versus port days, the cost of the cruise, and a host of other questions. If all this sounds complicated, don't be concerned. A qualified and experienced travel agent can guide even first time cruisers through this process. A suggestion: If you are a first time cruiser, you may want to get acquainted with cruising by taking one of Royal Caribbean's three or four day cruises out of San Pedro, California on the newly renovated Monarch of the Seas. Or, you may consider booking one of the many seven day Mexican Rivera cruises beginning and ending in San Diego. Cruising on lavish multi million dollar ships, visiting exciting ports of call, being pampered with wonderful personal service, enjoying outstanding food and entertainment, and participating in the scores of available shipboard events, is fast becoming the vacation choice of singles, couples and families Eliminate the drudgery of driving from city to city, checking into one hotel after another, packing and unpacking. Replace these tedious tasks with a relaxed vacation full of fun times, fun people and fun activities. Join the nearly 10 million people worldwide who find cruising a relaxed and cost effective way to vacation. Check into a "Hotel That Moves". For additional insight into cruising and cruise ships, visit www.cruisecritic.com.
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