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Visiting San Diego – Gaslamp District & Balboa Park

Travel Stage: After Anza Borrego, before heading back north
Date Range: March 13 – 27, 2017
Summary:  San Diego was our southernmost goal for this winter. Caitlin has family there that we had been planning to visit for a very long time and we finally made it! We also had the company of fellow RVers, and lots to do from the Gaslamp District, to Balboa Park, and more.

Our drive from Anza Borrego to our next park outside of San Diego was mountainous and windy! Finally we arrived at the Pio Pico Thousand Trails RV Resort in Jamul, about 30 minutes from downtown. From here, we spent two weeks exploring the area, visiting family, and doing LOTS of fun stuff!

cute dogs on beach

GasLamp District

​We were not alone in the San Diego area – we knew of a few friends that were in the area as well! Our first evening we drove into the city to meet up with them: Michael and Jenny Justus of Duet Justus and David and Francesca.

  ​We parked and biked into the downtown area to meet up with them in the Gaslamp District, which I guess is the hip area of Downtown. There were lots of nice restaurants and lit up pedicabs everywhere. We decided to check out the view of the harbor from the convention center.

  ​When we went to go back to the Gaslamp District, a peculiar thing happened. A train came by and stopped across the road and pathway back to the main drag. We waited for about 10 minutes before some young kids hopped the fence and scurried under the train to get across. We decided that probably wasn’t the best idea for the 6 of us, and then we remembered that we saw a Joe’s Crab Shack down by the water, so changed our course and went there for the remainder of the evening, catching up on each others’ travels and reminiscing about our time in Havasu City.

Rancho Santa Fe

One of our main reasons for going to San Diego was to visit some family on my Dad’s side that I had never met. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is more than half the country away from San Diego, and while my Dad visited on numerous occasions, I had never been. My Great Aunt Pauline lived in the nearby town of Rancho Santa Fe and some of her children, my Dad’s cousins, still lived in the area as well. We went to stay with Pauline for a few days and she took us sightseeing around Rancho Santa Fe and San Diego.  


Pauline also took us to see Balboa Park in the heart of San Diego. This park is huge and has more than 17 museums, along with theaters, shops, art galleries, and gardens.  

  ​We loved the Arboretum and the Cactus Garden, where we found some VERY interesting cacti! Since it was spring, the flowers were blooming beautifully!  


​As we’ve said numerous times on this adventure, the ability to visit friends and family that otherwise we may not get to spend such quality time with (due to such small amounts of vacation time and other priorities) has been absolutely amazing! In this scenario, we pretty much showed up as strangers and left as family. It gives me good feels just thinking about it! We had several family dinners where we got to know my Dad’s and my cousins, who all turned out to be extremely friendly and wonderful people. From sharing family stories I’d never heard before to going through pictures from a recent trip to New Zealand, they welcomed us with open arms and we couldn’t have been more grateful. After being so far from our parents and siblings on the east side of the country, it sure was nice to visit the comforts of family again.

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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