I know that the reports from the National Conference were quite gripping, so I wouldn’t want to leave you without the final day report. We got in a few more educational sessions (and a few meaning one because I didn’t want to wake up for the first 7:45am session, though Andy did). The conference wrapped up with a closing brunch that was highlighted by keynote speakers Kristina Ripatti and Tim Pearce. The married couple worked as officers for the Los Angeles Police Department’s gang unit and in 2006 Ripatti was on a foot pursuit when she was shot. One bullet avoided her vest, leaving her paralyzed below the chest. In the ensuing years she not only dealt with the recovery and rehab, she trained on a hand cycle and was part of a four person ride from coast to coast. It was truly an inspirational story for us to end the conference on.
Since we were in San Diego already, Andy and I decided to spend an extra day in the sunny 75 degree weather. After the conference ended, we went over to Coronado Island with some of our friends from Camp Timberlane. We spent a few hours walking around the island, sitting outside the world famous Hotel del Coronado and just enjoyed the weather and the Pacific Ocean.
Of course, you can’t go to San Diego without visiting the San Diego Zoo. Even though we only had 3 and a half hours, the trip did not disappoint. It was well worth it and we were lucky enough to be with a few friends, one of whom was also a veterinarian at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Tim made it a great visit. We were a little surprised when we were walking around at the zoo and saw a woman walking a dog on a leash… I mean who takes their dog on a walk through the zoo. We were even more surprised to then see a guy walking a cheetah on a leash. This was out in the open where the public was able to walk around. Well apparently, they regularly take the cheetahs for careful walks throughout the zoo. It also seems that the SD Zoo pairs cheetahs up with dogs and later we saw a different cheetah sleeping in his area right next to his dog pal.
After the zoo we headed back to our hotel, packed up, and headed to the airport. On the way we caught a bit of the Coronado Airshow, in honor of 100 years of naval aviation. We had a great time in San Diego, learning a lot at the conference, seeing our camp friends, and enjoying the weather and sites. Our travels continue this week to less glamorous locales. I’ll head to Stevens Point WI tomorrow for the first of a four city trip which also includes La Crosse, WI, Bloomington, IN and West Lafayette, IN. Andy and Leb will also do some camper recruiting this week.