Wednesday, April 15, 2015

More Bike, Hike, Beer


Debbie and Kim left us Saturday for greener pastures, so Friday afternoon we went out for one last happy hour. Slater’s 50/50 is well known for its huge burgers, including a very good veggie burger. They also have over 100 beers on tap, so we were all able to find something we liked. They are located in Liberty Station, an interesting area of residences, shops, restaurants and galleries in what used to be the former Naval Training Center in Point Loma.

Saturday we took a walk along the bay and just took it easy while Suzanne visited with a friend. On Sunday we did a six mile hike in nearby Tecolote Canyon. It isn’t the greatest place to hike but we got a good workout going up and down all the steep hills, and even came to a cool riparian area along a creek.


We had a good view of the UC San Diego Catholic Church.


There is also a nice little nature center with a helpful volunteer who told us about several other places to hike. Just outside the building were these Matilija poppies (or fried egg flowers) full of bees. Jim managed to get some good shots without getting stung.


Check out the pollen baskets on their legs.



Jim and Allison arrived that afternoon and we had a long happy hour catching up. They are glad to finally be out of Tucson and are enjoying the much cooler San Diego weather.

On Monday we all rode bikes around the bay loop and along the boardwalks of Ocean and Pacific Beaches. It’s obvious spring break is over as the beach crowds are much smaller, and Mission Bay RV park is more than half empty. We’re ecstatic that the kids are back in school!


Suzanne was anxious to try Barrel Republic, an interesting high tech brew pub in Pacific Beach where you can taste as much or little of any of the beers and pay by the ounce. You get a wrist band which you hold up to a sensor and it opens the tap. There is an iPad at each one that describes the beer. Unfortunately we were early and they didn’t open until four so we had time to ride home, eat lunch, shower and go back in the car. Out of over forty beers we only found one we really liked, but it’s a neat concept and a good way to sample a little of everything.


Tuesday we all drove up to Poway, about 25 miles northeast, to hike the popular trail to Mount Woodson. About a quarter mile from the summit is what has become the much photographed Potato Chip Rock. Apparently this rock has been sitting here forever, but within the past five years or so someone noticed it, climbed on it, got their photo taken, posted it to social media, and it was “discovered”.




Since we waited for this hike until spring break was over, and did it on a weekday, there were not many people. We’ve heard during busy times you might have to wait 30-45 minutes just to get your turn on the rock.


Out of the five of us, only the two brave women, Allison and Suzanne, had the guts to get out there. In fact Allison was up and on it before we even knew it. She said if she thought about it she would never have done it. Good for her! I thought way too long and watched her and Suzanne jump across and slide down, and I just couldn’t bring myself to attempt it. Jim was having images of brain bleeds from hitting his head on the rock, and the other Jim is not crazy about heights, either, so we passed and took photos instead.

Allison couldn’t quite bring herself to stand up, but at least she got out there.



The long slide down.


Suzanne, on the other hand, hammed it up for the cameras.





We continued up to the 2800’ summit and had our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on a much bigger, less precarious rock.


Even if Potato Chip Rock breaks off tomorrow (hopefully while nobody is standing on it), this is a great trail. We logged 7.5 miles with a 2,000’ elevation gain, quite a steep little trek. But the company and scenery helped make it such a fun hike.

A little trick photography.


Suzanne and Jim wondering if the climb is ever going to end.



Lake Poway, a surprise to see so much water in a California lake.



A playground for rock lovers.




I am the walrus.


Summit view.


Busy at the top.


We were all ready for a beer after the hike, and there just happened to be a Karl Strauss on the way home, and it just happened to be happy hour.

Jim, Suzanne, Allison and Jim, happy to be sitting after five hours on the trail.


We liked just about every beer we tried there, and the food was good, too.


Traffic was still pretty heavy when we finished, so Jim, Suzanne and I decided to make one more stop, this time at Alesmith Brewing Company. It’s one that Paul and Nina recommended, and we must say this is now our favorite brewery in San Diego. We got a flight of four different beers and they were all excellent.

Another fine day in San Diego.



  1. You guys sure know how to have a good time. Those matilijas are very cool, as is the walrus rock.

  2. Did you go to Stone Brewery at Liberty Station? Another blog I follow just wrote about going there.

    Another awesome trail. HAHAHA...the walrus rock is a hoot.

    1. Yes, as a matter of fact after Slater's we walked over to Stone just to look around. We had already been to the main brewery in Escondido and did the tour a few weeks ago. Very nice!

  3. That's a cool rock! I see Suzanne did a little flirting with "fate." Gee, a timid gal bags Angel's Landing and Ms. Evel Knievel is born… proving It's never too late to blossom, and that the thread that life hangs from is stronger than it looks. Maybe next time do the beer drinking before the hike and get some good youtube videos :)
    Box Canyon Mark in Lovely Ouray Colorado

    1. You know you're right, if I had some beer beforehand I might have gotten out on that rock, too!

  4. Nope. Not going to be a pic of me on the potato chip. Nope. It is a beautiful hike though and the lunch spot has gorgeous views. Seeing bees makes me as happy as seeing water in CA! Jim really got great shots of them and their pollen baskets - the colors are amazing. I don't remember there being so many breweries in San Diego in all the times I've been there......they must all be at the "end" of hikes :-))

    1. We wonder if all these breweries will survive. Just last month the 100th brewery in the greater San Diego area opened up, and more are on the horizon.

  5. But of course Suzanne was a photo ham....Luv that you all had a great time. There will always be next time.

  6. Jim, did you get those great closeups with your Panasonic FZ-150 ?? I must be doing something wrong because I can't seem to get things properly in focus for closeups with mine. If I'm reading the instruction book correctly, it says not to use the zoom lens when shooting macro, but still I get major blur. Sometimes it's the wind that must share the blame, but usually, it is just my ineptness. Your shots are - ahem - the bee's knees!

    What is your secret?

    Virtual hugs,


    1. Judie, ours is the FZ-200 but I assume they are the same. On the left side of the lens is a setting that offers three options. Manual, AF/Macro and AF. I generally take these shots using the zoom and that setting on AF and it always seems to work.

      To catch the bees I was actually focused on the flower or it would not have gotten the bees since they are in constant motion.

      Should also add that most of the time I have it set on intelligent auto as I did this time.

      And, of course, if anything else gets in the way, no matter how small, it is likely to focus on that when you least expect it.

      All that said, I'm not close to an being that good but I get lucky.


  7. That rock was no worse than some I saw you do in Utah. We should have done it after the peanut butter sandwich, and you and your long legs would have been fine...

    I just love Jim's bees coming in for a landing!

  8. BeLieve it or not I've never done that Chip Rock hike. Looks like a good workout. By the way we did make it to AleSmith and it was my #1 brewery (for me anyway). We never made it o Mother Earth. I know, I know...hard to keep them all straight :) Soooo happy you finally made it to AleSmith.


    1. Oh, sorry, I will correct that! We're getting things mixed up after nearly four weeks. Guess we'll have to put Mother Earth on our schedule for today or tomorrow:-) We loved all the Alesmith beers, with Karl Strauss coming in a close second.
      And be sure to do the Potato Chip Rock hike next time you're here. It's dog friendly, too.

  9. That picture of Suzanne made my palms sweat. It's not the height, it's the thought of the fall should it break off.

  10. I like that Chip Rock and the shots of the brave are great. Think if I drank beer before the hike I'd not made it that far. San Diego sure is a partying town.

  11. Neat to see that you were actually able to access potato chip without mobs of people. When we go over the holidays it is impossible, besides the line at the rock, the masses of people pn the trail are a drag.

    The Ellie Lane loop at Iron Mtn is a decent hike. (The main Iron Mtn trail is quite busy).

    1. Don't think we'll make it to Iron Mountain this time but it was on our list of possible hikes thanks to your blog!. Our hike to Potato Chip Rock wouldn't have been nearly as much fun with mobs of people around. Too bad so many people want to live in San Diego!

  12. So glad you got to do Potato Chip Rock without the crowds. I must say our hike up with our daughter at Christmas brought a whole different scene. But it is a fun hike through all the cool rocks. Suzanne did a great job posing for the photos. Not sure I would have gone out there either. I am always thinking about it breaking off. The lake is so pretty and was a nice treat. Good to see there is still quite a bit of water.

    I like that concept of the tasting bracelet. Too bad the beer wasn't as creative. You certainly earned your tasting treat after the hike. Glad you enjoyed the beer and food at that brewery.

    We are also glad to see Spring Break over. Way too many children around:)

  13. so if the potato chip breaks off, does it then become the crinkle cut?