Passage to the Pacific

Last weekend I attended Breyer's "Passage to the Pacific" event in San Diego. This is my third Breyer tour event (previously I attended the Lone Star Event in Dallas, and the Sunshine Celebration in Florida). They've all been fantastic experiences - quite different and more personal than going to BreyerFest. You get up-close tours of horse farms, and the chance to buy some very limited edition models. If you're into horses and/or collect Breyers, I highly recommend going to one of these events. Breyer does them every year or so (and usually they're so popular that there's a lottery to determine who gets to go!)

I flew in on Friday morning, and met my friend Bethany who was my buddy for the event. We had a little time before the afternoon horse events started, so we drove over to Seaport Village and had lunch on the outdoor patio of one of the restaurants there. Sadly this would be about the last bit of sunshine we saw for the whole weekend...

After that we joined the group for the afternoon tour of the Horse exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum. I could have spent the whole day checking out Balboa park. If I ever return to San Diego I'll have to do that.

After touring the exhibit, we had a rooftop reception at the NAT, and got our first look at the Passage to the Pacific special runs. There were a lot of really nice models here, including a real surprise item of the dapple grey Proud Arab Mare. The Like Thunder model was also on display, and he (she!) looks really nice in person. Lovely shading.

Saturday morning came far too early. Had to get up at 5am in order to get ready, eat breakfast, and make it to the host hotel by 7:45 or so to catch the buses. Our group went to Friesian Focus first, so it was a little more than an hour ride on the bus to get there. Once there, we were really wowed by this place - first by the beautiful barn/courtyard area, then by the generous hospitality of Joan Fernandez and the Friesian Focus folks, and then by their amazing Friesian horses. The building was just beautiful:

They had some nice snacks (and an open bar) for us in the upstairs living space. The balcony upstairs overlooked the outside arena, where we got to see the horses doing several performances, including harness and dressage. My favorite was the costumed riders:

I also took some pix of the lovely succulents growing around the grounds...

And here are a few pix of me:

We had a catered lunch there also - sandwiches, like last time. But it was good. I was really freezing by the time all this was done though, so was glad to get back on the (heated!) bus as we headed to our afternoon destination: Scripps-Miramar Saddlebreds. This place is atop a hill right in San Diego - so not as quiet as the Friesian place, but much closer to everything. Michele Macfarlane (of Scripps Saddlebreds) generously hosted us, and the Scripps team put on a fun circus event for us! There was a parade of their horses and calliope wagon... and we got a close-up look at her beautiful Saddlebreds, including Like Thunder - we even got to take pictures with Michele and Like Thunder! I've never been up close to Saddlebreds, and although they aren't large horses, they have such alertness and presence, it's hard not to be charmed by them.

Finally we took the bus back to the host hotel for a catered dinner, which was actually held *outside*. This might have been a good idea if the weather had been nicer. At least it didn't rain during dinner, although it was plenty dark (candles were on the tables, but that was it). The food was quite good, but I do hope next time Breyer arranges for dinner to be held in the dry, brightly-lit indoors :)

The table raffle model was a gold florentine Smoky. Unlike at the Lone Star event, where one person at each table won the centerpiece, this time they handed out raffle tickets and awarded them that way. Which meant that some tables (like ours) had no winner at all, and some tables had multiple winners. Bit of a bummer that; I hope they'll go back to the one-per-table method next time (although the handing-out-of-tickets seemed pretty fair too; it was just disappointing to not have a winner at our table).

Breyer also showed off a handful of new models. There was a resin prototype of Brishen (not pictured), which looked pretty nice, and three new crystal horses for 2013. I haven't collected the crystals before now, but may just have to pick up some of these, they look neat.

We left, empty-handed, shortly after the raffle winners were announced. Good timing too, because it started to rain again. Yuck! Who ordered this nasty weather for our San Diego vacation? sigh...

Sunday morning was the shopping times for the special run models. The groups are usually divided into 50 people, though our (pink) group only had 29, so the odds were pretty good of getting whatever you wanted. Between myself and Bethany we snagged one La Jolla, an El Capitan, and two Tamaracks. (we were early enough in line that I could have gotten two PAMs, but that didn't really seem fair so I went with two Tamaracks, figuring I'd keep one for myself.)

After buying models, we headed off to a sailing tour of the harbor. I really didn't want to sail in the rain, but the clouds actually cleared off a bit in the morning, and I was hopeful that maybe the weather would cooperate for us. The sail includes admission to the Maritime Museum, so we got to walk aboard Star of India, and also the steam ferry Berkeley, which is a beautiful boat with wood benches and stained glass windows.

On to the sailing. This was supposed to have been on the America's Cup yacht Stars & Stripes, however apparently the engine was out on that one (AC yachts have engines? I guess they added these later) :( so we went out on Abracadabra instead. The sail started just fine, with sunshine and good weather, and beautiful views of the bay...

But then they sailed right into the rain around Point Loma. Wait, why are we sailing into the rain? :( There's no shelter on these boats, so once the rain starts, we just get wet. So, the sailing trip was about half fun, and half miserable. Seems like it could have been better if we'd just sailed the other way. But, oh well... we survived.

After we got dried off and mostly recovered from the wet and chilly sailing experience, we had lunch at a little sushi place at Liberty Station called Ikiru Sushi. Small place, but at 3 in the afternoon it was also quite empty. The sushi was very good though. Afterwards Bethany and her hubby took me to a couple of places around San Diego. We visited Eclipse Chocolates, which I'd heard about on the San Diego travel blog. It was thoroughly decadent; I had some of their yummy drinking chocolate, and bought a box of caramels. (If I lived closer to this place I'd be in trouble...)

Then we paid a quick visit to Mysterious Galaxy bookstore (before they closed up at 5pm). It's all sci-fi and mystery books, which is extremely cool, though I didn't buy any books.

A few doors down from the bookstore was an impressive game store called Game Empire. They had a lot of Munchkin (and a lot of it had been looted!), and a large gaming room with tables for folks to play games on (and several games were in progress while we visited).

Then we decided to drive to Coronado and see the Pacific. We were just in time to catch a glimpse of the sunset behind Point Loma. Seemed like a beautiful place, and I wouldn't mind seeing it again on a sunny day.

And thus ended another Breyer tour event! Big thanks to Breyer for organizing this event; to Michele Macfarlane (Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds) and Joan Fernandez (Friesian Focus) for being such excellent and admirable hosts :) and to Bethany and Chris for hanging out with me this weekend. It's been fun! :)

-- Kira