Day 6: January 31, 2011
A Bit to the North
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With everyone back to work or school today, I headed north for a little solo exploring. In Mission Beach, I managed to drive onto a "street" reserved for walking. I swear I didn't intentionally do anything illegal. No one was harmed in the making of these photographs.

Whenever "breakfast" and "San Diego" get together in a search engine, the name Broken Yolk Cafe is almost certain to appear. It's a small local chain with five stores scattered around the San Diego area. It made sense to give them a try today as my route passed barely a mile from the original. The French toast is served with a topping of real strawberries which I tried and found tasty. But after eating a couple of slices with the strawberries, I switched to good ol' maple syrup to finish. My coffee never got much lower than what you see in the picture.

As I passed through La Jolla, a stop at the cove seemed almost required. The water teemed with seals and sea lions despite its violent crashes against the rocky shore. I watched that big fellow climb ashore and enjoy several large waves wash over him. Then I caught him jumping back in. I've included the last picture to show that there is more to La Jolla than water.

This statue is officially named Magic Carpet Ride but it's just as often called the Kook of Cardiff.

I'd already eaten breakfast and I wasn't ready for lunch so I just had desert at the 101 Cafe in Oceanside. Yummy. I discovered a small fastener museum when I crossed the street to take pictures of the exterior. And I also learned how the cook keeps the sun out of his eyes. A cool place that has to be good for the road.

The Oceanside Municipal Fishing Pier is a good place to view the beachfront and watch surfers.

Old US-101 fades into I-5 at Ocesanside and I stuck with it to the first rest area. The waitress at the 101 Cafe mentioned that there was an observatory in the area and when I saw the word Palomar on a rest area bulletin board, plans changed. I turned around at the next exit, returned to Oceanside, and headed west on CA-76. The road rises somewhat gently over the first thirty some miles then climbs much more quickly after the turn onto county road S6.

Of course, I had no idea what I'd find at the observatory. Were visitors allowed or even tolerated? Hopefully I could at least get close enough for some photos. The last four miles are on a road that goes only to the observatory. At that point, a sign was posted saying the observatory was closed. There was also a sign saying the road was icy. It was and it was. And I couldn't even see the big dome from the gate. I had spotted it through the trees once or twice while driving up so stopped on the way back down and snapped my long distance shot of the Palomar Observatory.

I've since learned that the observatory welcomes visitors and is "open daily except December 24 and 25" and when "conditions are hazardous". Today was obviously a hazardous day.

ADDENDUM: Feb 7, 2011 - The drive to Palomar Observatory is included on the locator map for this trip. It's a line heading northeast from Oceanside with a hook on the end. If you're really sensitive to such things you might notice that the hooked line is a little thicker than most but it sure doesn't stand out. Even on a map of just the Oceanside to Palomar portion, the squiggles of the mountainside road were lost. So I've produced a map of just the bit on San Diego County Road S6 after the branch from CA-76. That map is here.

Warning signs of this sort were at both ends of the drive from CA-76 to the road to the observatory. There were also signs like this along the way. There are plenty of places where you feel like you could meet yourself coming back. Just shy of one minute after passing me while I stood at a turnout taking the second picture, a motorcyclist rolled though the pictured curve.

The closed observatory gate was marked as 5550 feet elevation. The overlook where I took the last three pictures was at about 3700 feet. Yeah, I do wish the observatory was open but the drive was great all by itself.

Big orange groves start appearing well above 1000 feet and there are lots of them.

I returned to Oceanside for the night and had dinner at the Breakwater Brewery. It is a real brewery with about a dozen of its own brews on tap. "Guest brews" bring the total selection to near forty. Pretty good beer but these guys really like their hops.

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