“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”– Jackie Robinson
San Diego marked the beginning of leg three of The Great Baseball Ride. We were calling this portion the Pacific Coast Highway Baseball Ride. The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is California Route 1 and goes from San Diego (kinda) to San Francisco. For our part, we’d be following this coast past this point all the way to Seattle. We would be hitting up the great MLB action along the way (sans Anaheim, which we already hit up). With San Diego already in the books from yesterday, we were excited to depart and work our way north.
First Keke went to say goodbye to the friends we were visiting in San Diego. Her friend Chris is one of her oldest and best friends, and while it was great to see him, it was tough to say goodbye. Thankfully, the Hampton Inn we had been staying at had a noon checkout time, so we could drag our feet a bit. Eventually, we did pack up and depart.
In this portion of the trip we aim to go from San Diego all the way up to Seattle, then back to our home state of Minnesota. I saw the game at Petco yesterday, and the next stop was L.A. for a game with the Dodgers. The goal is to follow the Pacific Coast Highway as far as we can. We want to see the beautiful places; no shortcuts.
The PCH starts in Dana Point (a bit north of San Diego), so that is where we started. The drive along the coast is beautiful. We stopped at Aliso Beach County Park just before Laguna Beach for some sand and saltwater time.
The waves at this beach are far more aggressive than what we saw at Coronado, and the water is much bluer. We saw a couple of rented RV’s with a bunch of dudes pull in. We would see them elsewhere on the coast, and assumed it was a guys trip exploring coastal California; sounds like tremendous fun. Not feeling to well, I snapped some pics and then went back to the car while the rest of the crew enjoyed the beach. An hour later, we were in the car heading north again.
We didn’t make it too far before we found a charming roadside diner with rooftop seating. Ruby’s Diner has all the charm of a throwback eatery. Complete with classic cars outfront, and servers in 60’s style soda jerk uniforms, it was a fun atmosphere. The food was good too. I particularly enjoyed the Classic Ruby with cheese.
Fueled up, we got back in the car and headed further up the shore. I was particularly interested in the Huntington Beach area. The beaches there are beautiful and there are areas for RV’s to park and hook up; maybe another trip.
Eventually, we made it to Chavez Ravine, home of Dodger Stadium. Keke got our tickets from Stubhub ($47 total for four with fees) and parking from the Dodgers ($17 when pre-bought, $25 otherwise). I was excited to park at Dodger Stadium because I knew there were lots surrounding the park. We still hadn’t seen a good tailgating experience on the trip. With so many stadiums built into downtowns, surface parking around the stadiums is rare. Not at Dodger Stadium though, the onsite parking is plentiful. I had these visions of people getting there early and tailgating as that type of parking set up usually encourages this. The Dodgers don’t allow alcohol in the parking lot, and I suspect that has deterred any chance at a tailgating scene.
Our seats were behind home plate on the third level. This has become a favorite spot for us as you can see everything in the game, including the ball crossing home plate; you definitely feel more involved. Keke took the reigns on getting the food and the beer since I wasn’t feeling well. She got a Dodger Dog and the Golden Road Brewery Mango Cart. The Dodger Dog was pretty basic. The beer was very good; smooth and fruity.
As for the game itself, we stayed to the sixth inning. The Dodgers dominated the first half of the game as Justin Turner had two hits, but as we were walking out, Freddie Freeman (of the Braves, did I mention they were playing the Braves?) hit a 2-run homer. Walker Buehler was dealing for the Dodgers, and they ultimately won.
The stadium is one of the older ones in the league, but has a classic nature to it. It is exactly what I would expect a classic ballpark built in California would look like. The architects were forward thinking as they kept the views of the game open from the concourses and it really felt like you were always involved in the game. I wouldn’t have expected that considering the stadium was built in 1962, many of the older stadiums have closed of concourses.
The Dodgers are really good, and between that, and it being a historic franchise, the games are well attended, and there is a fun energy. We were speaking with a staffer at Dodger Stadium, and she said “If you want a nice relaxing evening go to Anaheim, but if you want a party come to Dodger Stadium.” Having now been to both I would say both are great, but Dodger Stadium is definitely a party.
We left early in part because I wasn’t feeling well, but also because we were planning on moving north a bit before our hotel stop. We ended up on the 101 heading to Ventura where we had our overnight at a La Quinta Inn ($77 with Keke using some of her rewards points). A pretty easy drive overall. Once again, we were all exhausted and very thankful for a nice cozy bed to rest our heads.
We enjoyed L.A.
Today was a good day.