Thinking About La Mesa

April 1, 2014 by  

Rob Hurlbut Sleeping On The Floor In SummerSleeping On The Floor In Summer

    I lived in La Mesa, California for five years. What I remember most was that it got bloody hot in the summertime. My second floor apartment did not have AC so my place would be above 80 degrees at night. On those nights I would sleep in front of my open front door with a little desk fan blowing right on my head. It reminded me of camping but in all seriousness, there is nothing fun about sleeping in an oven baked room. La Mesa is an eastern suburb of San Diego but at more than ten miles from the ocean, the cooling marine layer just doesn’t reach.

La Mesa Steps

Steps In The Hills Of La Mesa

    La Mesa is a very hilly place with lots of hidden staircases and pedestrian paths running all around the city. It was 2006 when I moved from Denver to San Diego and I was very excited to be landing out there but La Mesa turned out not to be the quintessential San Diego experience I was hoping for. Besides the heat, it was just too far away from the ocean to really seem like I was living the San Diego dream.

Jolt n Joes La Mesa Under Full Moon October 2009

Jolt ‘N Joes In La Mesa

    La Mesa is where I was when I became a full time photographer and launched The World Is Raw. It is a pedestrian friendly city so I used to walk around at all times of the day and night taking photos of my new neighborhood. One of the main reasons I moved away from Denver was because the winter was so cold. I don’t ski or snowboard so all the lovely fresh powder and sub freezing temperatures were nothing but a nuisance for me. Once I moved to San Diego, I was able to wear shorts and flip flops every day for the next eight years. (After living in La Mesa for five years, I moved to the coastal town of Imperial Beach, where I lived for three years.) I have a friend from Texas that would visit from time to time and he very poignantly explained to me why it was so expensive to live out there. “In San Diego, you pay for the weather.”

Mount Helix In La Mesa

Mount Helix In La Mesa, CA

    I made the best of my time in La Mesa and I really did like living there but it always seemed a bit dull to me. There’s just nothing very “Southern California” about it and since part of my reason for moving to the coast was to actually be on the coast, it was never destined to be a permanent home for me, even though my place was directly across the street from a 24 hour grocery store that sold liquor.

St Martins Catholic Church

St. Martin’s Catholic Church – La Mesa, CA

    I think this nostalgic post came about because now that I live in Denver, I am very antsy for spring and summer weather to get here. There have been some very nice days this year, but it is still too cold most of the time to just go on a walk or bike ride without long pants and a jacket. The photo above is one of the last ones a shot before I moved away from La Mesa. It is a view of St. Martin’s Catholic Church at midnight on Christmas Eve, 2010. A few days later, I moved to Imperial Beach. Below is a video I shot as I was about to leave my apartment in La Mesa for the last time. Cheers!


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