Saturday, August 2, 2014

Chicano Park to Petco Park And The Convention Center Then Seaport Village

Hello and welcome back to Old Highway Notes. This week we return to San Diego where we had been looking at the murals in Chicano Park. We will continue North on Harbor Drive tracing the route of old Highway 101 North into San Diego. But first, let me tell you about an improvement I have added here on Old Highway Notes. Under the "Links and related Social Media" tab at the top of the page you can find links to all of the subject matter I used for reference on each post. Check it out if you ever want to know more about the subjects I am telling you about, I hope you will find it useful. Now, on with our trip....

On The Road and Some Musical Notes About San Diego

This is a pretty bland stretch of road. On one side we have the chain link fences of the Naval Base, on the other side of the road the tracks for the Tijuana Trolley parallel the road.  As a diversion I will throw you a little musical Note here. San Diego is the launching point of a few well known bands who left here to gain their fame elsewhere (usually Hollywood). In addition to Tom Waits who we previously mentioned, San Diego was the birthing point of Iron Butterfly of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" fame before leaving for Hollywood and finding success. Eddie Vedder also came from here before here answered an ad to try out for a band in Seattle and gaining his fame with Pearl Jam. The heavy metal band Ratt also was formed here but too off when they went to Hollywood. Anyway, back to the drive...

Google Street View

Petco Park

It's not far to down the road and the skyscrapers loom larger in front of us. After crossing over an overpass we come upon a view of San Diego Padres home field Petco Park on the right hand side of the road. Opened in 2004, replacing Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium as the home park of Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres., Petco Park is a beautiful facility. A modern throwback design of steel girder construction, painted white with blue columns to be evocative of the sails and water of the Marina district that it calls home. Unlike many ballparks where the batter faces Northeast, the batter at Petco Park faces due North allowing for the stadium seating to be provided with spectacular views of the city skyline, the bay, and Balboa Park.

Beautiful Views are a highlight of Petco Park (Flickr/cc)

The Western Metal Supply Co. had a hundred year old historical building located on the site for the stadium, so the building was renovated, retrofitted,  and incorporated into the design of the park. The South East corner of the building  has a strip of metal angle iron that runs up its edge is painted a bright yellow and serves as the left field foul pole. The building houses a team store, private suites, a restaurant and rooftop seating. It ties the field into the cityscape backdrop effectively and beautifully.

Now, THAT is some historical preservation. (Flickr/CC)
While the Stadium was being built PETA took advantage of the opportunity to publicize their long standing protest against Petco and the way it operates. From Wikipedia:

PETA protest[edit]

During the construction of the stadium, the Padres offered fans the chance to purchase bricks outside of the concourse and to dedicate them.
Soon after this, PETA attempted to purchase a brick to protest Petco's treatment of animals (PETA and Petco have a long-standing dispute over this matter), but the first two attempts were denied. Undeterred, PETA succeeded on its third attempt by purchasing a brick which read "Break Open Your Cold Ones Toast The Padres Enjoy This Champion Organization." When one reads the first letter of each word, it forms an acrostic which reads "BOYCOTT PETCO." The Padres decided to leave the brick there, saying not enough people walking by would notice the secret meaning.[21]

The stadium has some notables events associated with it. The first baseball game held there was the first round game in a San Diego State University hosted four round NCAA  invitational tournament. The San Diego State Aztecs, coached by former Padre star Tony Gwynn, defeated Houston that day in a game that broke the all-time attendance record in college baseball.

On August 4, 2007, fans at Petco Park saw Barry Bonds hit his 755th career home run, tieing Hank Aaron's record.

Even with that milestone, Petco Park was considered extremely "pitcher-friendly". To address that concern, and maybe generate a little more scoring action for the fans to enjoy, some changes were made in 2012. Again from Wikipedia:


Petco Park has been one of the most extreme pitcher-friendly ballparks in the majors since its opening. Following the conclusion of the 2012 season, The Padres announced that they were moving the fences in to make this ballpark more favorable to hitters than it had been previously. The left-center field wall was moved in from 402 feet to 390 feet, the right-center field wall was moved from 402 feet to 391 feet, and the right field wall was moved in from 360 feet to 349 feet. In addition, the visiting team bullpen was moved from foul territory in right field to behind the left-center field wall, right behind where the Padres bullpen is. The right field wall was also lowered from 11 feet to 8 feet, and the out-of-town scoreboard was relocated.[20]
One last piece of trivia about Petco Park, It is the only Major League Baseball stadium to have a bee delayed game. On July 2, 2009 a small swarm of honeybees took up residency in a chair in left field. While a beekeeper was called in for an emergency extermination of the swarm, the game was put on hold for 52 minutes.

Over The Trolley Tracks and Across The Street

The other side of Harbor Drive across the tracks of the well known Tijuana Trolley is The San Diego Convention Center.A monster of a building, it is probably best known among cyber-citizens as the site of the annual ComicCon in San Diego. It straddles the land between Harbor Drive and the slips of the Marina. Completed in 1989,and expansion completed in 2001, it's most well known architectural feature are the "sails" attached all over the building. Triangular shapes of concrete and steel evoke the boats in the adjoining Marina.
San Diego Convention Center (Flickr/CC)
Do you see the sails? (Flickr/CC)
Another view of the sails (Flickr/CC)
Sails, sails everywhere! (Flickr/CC)

Pass the Hotels to Go To Seaport Village

As we continue North on Harbor Drive we are surrounded on all sides by hotel skyscrapers as all the big hotel chains compete for the lucrative San Diego convention trade. A half a mile more and we hit the intersection of Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway (That would be old Highway 101). Ruocco Park, a lawn surrounded by a promenade with benches sits at he edge of the waterfront. overlooking the Bay. To its left is Seaport Village. Opened in 1980, this would be a typical shopping streetscape experience kind of place like so many cities in America have built in the last 25 years. Featuring more than 70 shops, galleries, and restaurants on 90,000 SF bordering the San Diego Bay with a view towards Coronado Island and its famous bridge. The building are built in a variety of styles, from Victorian to traditional Mexican to Cannery Row shanty.

Seaport Village (San Diego) (Flickr user Sylvain Leprovost/CC)
Alone & Texting (Flickr user Prayitno / Thank you for visiting !/CC
Seaport Village, San Diego (Flickr user Katerina and Vassilis Last/CC)
Seaport Village San Diego (Flickr user jc.winkler/CC)

The lush climate and plentiful foot traffic caused by conventioneers as well as cruise ship passengers from the nearby cruise ship terminals keep Seaport Village a lively place. There are buskers, shopping, dining, not to mention views and a very pleasant environment to stroll through with the usually sunny and mild  California coastal weather and flowering planter boxes all year around. For those of you who are into such things, it also features a Looff Carousel built in 1895.

I found a YouTube user, travelandtransitions who posted some informative videos. It is home movie quality and the wind on the microphone can be a bit much, but still a nice tour. I also found a clip of a family visiting the Carousel with their toddler having a ride. Last is a professionally shot video with a pleasant reggae soundtrack showing off the charms of Seaport Village, San Diego, CA.

I leave you at his point to enjoy the amenities of Seaport Village until we meet up again in three weeks to resume our journey North on the old Highway 101 as it slices through San Diego County. Next week we return to Interstate 95 where we have been looking into Spring Training in Florida. Two weeks will take us back to Chicago on Route 66 where we continue our biography of Muddy Waters. I hope you can join us.

Before you go, two questions. If you were visiting San Diego, or live there and have a suggestion, what would you make a point of seeing? If you have been to San Diego what was the most memorable part of your visit? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed it, please tell a friend about this blog. If you didn't enjoy it, let me know what you do not like in the comment section. Until we meet again, enjoy the views!

Mileage Stats

Route 66: 0 Miles/1 State/621 Tracks/141 Videos/26 Posts
Highway 101: 19  Miles/2 Countries/1 State/503 Tracks/186 Videos/23 Posts
Interstate 95: 77 Miles/1 State/24 Tracks/60 Videos/8 Posts
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