Sini let us use her car on Saturday morning to start a fun-filled weekend. Donna and I drove up to San Diego State University and picked up Lainey, our granddaughter. The next stop was in the Little Italy district downtown where we hit the farmers’ market. We browsed through the vendor stalls and made a couple of purchases. We ran into our friends, Hans and Lisa there (Metamorphosis Road).
Then we drove down the waterfront to Seaport Village. There are a number of shops, restaurants and a fresh seafood market there. We walked out on the G Street pier to check out the fresh caught fish. We found a burned wreck of a fishing vessel. I remembered reading something about a fishing boat that burned near downtown – it produced so much smoke that some businesses had to close.
The blaze started on Friday, September 30th. The 120-foot fishing boat, Norton Sound, was docked at the G Street pier when it caught fire. The boat burned for a couple of days before the fire was under control, despite the efforts of the San Diego Firefighters and Harbor Police which involved pumping 2,000 gallons of water per minute onto the boat and pier. The blaze reached a temperature of 2,500 degrees and the steel superstructure melted.
No one was on board at the time and the cause of the fire is undetermined. The ship once belonged to the Norton Sound Seafood Company, but is now owned by three residents of Mexico. It took three days to bring the temperature on board down to 100 degrees. The boat remains docked at the G Street pier and I don’t know what the final disposition of it will be.
We had lunch at the San Diego Pier Cafe – it’s a nice cafe built on pilings right on the water.
We drove Lainey back to the campus and had a tour of her dormitory. It’s an interesting set-up. She shares a room with two roommates and the common area – bathroom and kitchen – is shared with five others in the suite of rooms.
On Sunday morning, I was up early. My friend, Gary Stemple, is a Chargers season ticket holder although the team has left San Diego. He invited me to join him for the game against Buffalo at the Stub Hub Center. This stadium is located on the California State University Dominguez Hills campus in Carson, California – up in Los Angeles County about 100 miles from San Diego. There are multiple facilities at the center including a velodrome, tennis arena and soccer stadium. The Chargers play in the soccer stadium.
We met up before 7am at the Old Town Transit Center. It was a nine dollar Lyft ride from the RV park. At the transit center, we boarded a bus chartered by the 5 North Bolt company – they are a tour bus company that provides transportation to Chargers home games and they also host a tailgate party. The bus we were on was one of two buses leaving Old Town at 7:30am. There were only 15 people on our bus which could accommodate more than 50 people. We made a stop in Oceanside and picked up more passengers.
They served drinks – cocktails like Bloody Marys and mimosas and craft beer from Mike Hess Brewing in San Diego. It seemed like most of the people on the bus were season ticket holders and were regulars on the tour bus. It was fun meeting and talking to people.
We made another stop in Costa Mesa where we picked up more people and they loaded food for the tailgate party from Hooters. The bus ride including drinks, food and a bathroom on board costs 80 dollars. We also had a fun raffle for Chargers gear in Costa Mesa.
The atmosphere at the tailgate area of Stub Hub Center was different from what I’d experienced in San Diego. At Stub Hub, they confine all of the tailgating to one fairly small area. Everyone is packed together and there were competing sound systems. Parking in the tailgate section costs $100 per event! Some of the people had elaborate bar set-ups they brought in pick-up trucks.
5 North Bolt had a canopy and tables set with food and drinks. Everyone on the bus was given wrist bands to show for food and drink.
It was a fun time and everyone was really friendly. I met a guy from up in the San Fernando Valley. I asked him how a guy from the valley became a Chargers fan. He told me his family were Raiders fans. He went to one game in Oakland and said it was scary. Then he went to a Raiders game when they played in San Diego. He said it was so much fun, the people were friendly and there were pretty women all over the stadium. That won him over as a Chargers fan.
Gary and I walked to the tennis arena where another tailgate session was in progress. To be honest, I don’t know how we got in to this party. Gary checked us in at a table near the entrance and we were given another wristband.
They had a group of drummers performing and of course, more beer.
We met some people where we shared a table. One guy was there for his first NFL football game.
We finally made our way to our seats in the south end zone just before kick-off. Stub Hub Center is a relatively small venue – it seats about 27,000 people in the stadium. We were seated close to the field next to the tunnel from the locker rooms.
Inexplicably, the Buffalo Bills benched their regular quarterback and started a rookie with only about 4 minutes of previous regular season playing time. The Chargers defense stymied him and intercepted five of his 14 first-half passes. At half time, the Chargers were up 37-7. The final score was a blowout – Chargers 54, Buffalo 24.
I snoozed on most of the bus ride back to Old Town. Gary and I shared a Lyft ride and I was dropped off at the Mission Bay RV Resort. I had more than my fill of fun and beer and plan to lie low today.