Ultimately, we didn't do many of the things I would want to do during a trip to Southern California, but that is fine because we'll definitely go back. Since I over planned our trip to AZ, I figured I'd just take things as they came in San Diego and not schedule everything down to the minute. California truly is like another country and I figured our first trip should just be to feel things out. That being said, we learned some valuable lessons which I will share here:
1. It is not 72 and sunny year round in San Diego. In August it can be 85 and cloudy. Related lesson- air conditioning is apparently less common than I ever would have thought.
2. The cheaper airfares to Los Angeles Intl (LAX) are very quickly diminished by the drive between LA and San Diego. I must have had temporary insanity when I booked our tickets and thought this would be a good idea (seriously though, I could not make the math work. It was cheaper to fly to LA and rent a car for an entire week than to fly to San Diego).
3. Air BnB is not always what it's cracked up to be. Again, you get what you pay for. In this case, a very tiny un-air conditioned studio with paper thin walls just a short walk from the beach. But when you are a numbers person like me, the price and location couldn't be beat.
Once we recovered from our drive (escape) out of LA, adjusted to life with no AC, and met up with our friends, all was well. This was the sunset on our first night: