Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reader assistance request -- San Diego camping

One of the consequences of having made the decision to, ahem, attend the inauguration, is that we had to cancel out of our scheduled and paid-for attendance at the TrawlerFest event in Stuart, Florida, which started today. Fortunately, I was able to escape penalty on our fully paid conference registration, some $800 worth, by pleading with the organizers to allow us to merely defer our attendance to the next event, in San Diego, California on February 26-28.

That's really too bad, actually, because we liked the seminar line-up and presenters in Stuart better, and I expect we would have seen quite a different collection of boats than we will see in San Diego. But it presents an even bigger problem, one that I did not really have the bandwidth to handle in the rush to make it to the inauguration. To wit, where in the world we will park Odyssey.

For the Stuart event, we had been all set with an Elks lodge just a few minutes away, an easy scooter ride even on Louise's 50cc Honda. We had been very careful to check on that possibility before sending our reservation in for the event. San Diego, however, has no such convenient option.

TrawlerFest will be held at the Kona Kai Resort and Marina, on Shelter Island. This is more or less in the busiest and most developed part of San Diego, and I have already exhausted my list of traditional options. There are no Elks lodges, UU churches, Cracker Barrels, Bass Pro Shops, or even Wal-Marts (not that any Wal-Mart in San Diego is even an option for us) anywhere within scooter distance of the event.

Ironically, the public park on Shelter Island, operated by the port, is chock full of RVs every day. But the park officially opens at 6am and closes at 10:30pm, and all these RVs trundle away every evening, presumably staying on public streets in residential neighborhoods overnight, only to return first thing the next morning. Apparently, there are dozens of folks living in San Diego on the cheap this way.

We certainly don't want to be shuttling Odyssey around every night and every morning to attend the show. In particular, the event ends every evening with a cocktail party, wherein some of the most educational conversations happen (at least in our one previous experience with this event), and we'd like to have a glass of wine or two with new friends who can further our education. Clearly, I don't want to then be navigating a 24-ton vehicle around the streets of a major city at night.

To be clear, we are more than happy to pay for the privilege of parking near the event. I even contacted the resort directly to ask if they could accommodate us at some price, and, in spite of some sympathy from the sales department, the general manager turned us down. (And it is, therefore, a pretty good bet that we will not spend any money in their restaurant or cocktail lounge, other than what has been pre-arranged for the event.) After all, Silver Strand state beach is collecting, I think, $35 a day for dry camping on an asphalt parking lot (albeit on a fairly stunning stretch of beach).

The closest commercial park is a good 7.5 miles away, 20 minutes or so in traffic, and not really doable on the scooters due to the roads and traffic involved. So even though we are willing to pay commercial rates (which, in San Diego, are pretty high), even that is not really an option.

So herewith is my plea to any of our readers in San Diego: We need a place to park within scooter distance of Shelter Island for the four nights starting Wednesday, February 25th. That can be a driveway, the street in front of someone's house, or the parking lot of a business, boat yard, yacht club, hotel, or wherever you have an "in." If you have such a place yourself, or a connection with someone who does, please either post a comment here, or send me an email. And we're not looking for a handout -- we're happy to pay the going rate for dry camping, or more if a power outlet is involved, though long-time readers know we will not require any sort of hook-ups.

I have perhaps another week or so to work on this problem. If I don't find a solution in that time, I will have to call the TrawlerFest people again, and either beg for some of our money back, or see if they will grant yet another deferral to a later event, perhaps the one in Anacortes in May.


  1. I guess you have considered this...but isn't there a boat launch facility or marina there that has room for boat trailers? Surely the trawler people have some "in" with such a place. I often see RVs "docked" amongst the boat trailers....

  2. I just played with google Sean, and this guy - SAN DIEGO MARINE EXCHANGE Phone: 619-223-7159
    Latitude: -117.227577
    Longitude: 32.720608
    SAN DIEGO, California 92106
    Has a small lot - but there is a boat storage lot or something right next door - maybe you could park Odyssey Safely there?
    Dunno, I'm in Philadelphia, just trying to be a long distance help...

  3. Urban style RV park, full hookups, large sites, open sky. Westerly sites face Mission Bay. Located about 1 mile west of I-5, exit #22 n/b or #28 s/b, turn west on N. Mission Bay Road, south on De Anza Road.
    Location is less than 10 miles north of Shelter Island via surface roads and bridges over Mission Bay. We stayed there in 2007.
    Here is website:

  4. Thanks, everyone. Let me clarify a few things:

    The RV park you mentioned is the "closest commercial park" to which I was referring when I said it was 20 minutes away (how long it takes to drive the 7.5 road miles, with traffic lights). That's too far, for several reasons: It means taking an hour out of the middle of each day, and another hour out of each evening, to make the round trip to walk the dog -- two hours we will be missing something we've paid for. It also means we have a 20-minute drive home through city traffic after ending the day with a few glasses of wine. Lastly, based on the speed limits and traffic, as I said, it's not doable on Louise's scooter, making it a total PITA.

    The TrawlerFest people don't have any kind of "in" with anyone other than the resort they've booked for the show. We already spoke to them, as noted, and they turned us down.

    Lastly, I've already done all the Google Earth research and probably know every parking lot belonging to every business on Shelter Island. And, yes, I will be contacting many of them in the next few days. Without some sort of inside track, however, I don't expect anything to come of that. For example, one parking lot in reasonable scooter distance belongs to the San Diego Yacht Club, but without being a member there or at some affiliated club, they're not even going to discuss it with me.

    BTW, the majority of what looks like prime RV parking on the island, and is even full of RVs in the current Google Earth image, is actually part of the Port of San Diego park there. That park observes very strict closing hours between 10:30pm and 6am -- no overnight parking. I do plan to contact the Port, but, again, without some kind of inside track, I don't expect that to get me anywhere.

    So, again, my request is that if you are either the owner of a parking space on Shelter Island or within a mile or two of the causeway, or you personally know someone who is, please contact us.


  5. The only thing i can think of is to contact the ZacPac who must have contacts at the SD Yacht Club. Perhaps for a small donation and press on your blog you can arrange a temporary stay? We always stay way out in Portero when in hte area. I have a friend in Encinitas but she's too far away. How about Kaiser Hospital (don't know if it is nearby)?

  6. Sean,
    Have you tried to contact H3Jim from the MAK board? I haven't seen him post anything in a long time, and don't know why, but I do know he is San Diego. I know he has parking, but I don't know about the distance etc.
    Also how far is Solano Beach from where you need to be? I have a connection there who maybe of help! HTH ;D BK ;D


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!