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-   -   Third attempt.. California, Arizona, Nevada. (https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=1180248)

cornishfrogboy 16 Sep 20 09:28 AM

Third attempt.. California, Arizona, Nevada.
 
We are used to these things.. Cancelled by the Volcano, Cancelled on an Egypt vacation due to the bomb over the Sinai desert and now this, cancellations of a West Coast vacation in both March and August of 2020. Well... I will not accept defeat, so August 2021 it is... 18 Aug to 02 Sept it is... Flights purchased through BA at £2112 to include hold baggage etc LHR-SFO and LAS-LHR.

With no more ado... the plan!

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We are a family of Husband, Wife and boys of 18 and 15 at travel. We love vacations, particularly multi centre, intensive vacations, either in the US or Europe. We are also theme parked out after 10 USA visits.

We visited California in 2018. It was a disaster as the main attraction, the Pacific Coast highway was blocked by a mudslide. We resolved to return... and in Easter of 2020, then August of 2020 and now.. August of 2021!


The infamous PCH Mudslide that took so long to sort out. In the end they built a new road over the top of it!

Our previous trip is subject of trippie ‘California N to South at Easter’ and may explain the planning for our itinerary and what would seem some very strange omissions. No Alcatraz, Dylan’s ultimate Cycle tour etc.

With all that has happened, we thought we would not for the first time ‘go unusual’. There is a very famous desert boneyard of stored United States Military aircraft at a location called Davis Monthan AFB in the Arizona Desert. I have never been in a desert and never been to Davis Monthan a location that is currently no1 on my World bucket list. It was a no brainer!

We sat down and worked out the ‘must sees’. We did not like LA in the slightest last time and had no intention of seeing more than we had to this time. We also figured we had covered marvellous San Diego reasonably well.

We settled on 2 nights in SFO, 2 in Monterey, 1 in San Simeon, 1 in Pismo Beach, 1 in Solvang, 2 in Hollywood, 3 in Tucson, 1 Close to the Grand Canyon and finally, 2 in Las Vegas. Everything is to be cash up front (fears re exchange rate) and cancellable without charge (experience of March and August).

And now the cunning, finalised plan...

Tuesday 17 August is a drive up from Penryn and then spend the night at Premier Inn Bath rd, LHR (very much a family tradition). This is now booked as is Purple Parking, which cost little as we were still holding a refund voucher from 2020.

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Wednesday 18 August fly 1120 to 1425 LHR to SFO. Arrive and catch the BART to Powell and the Cable Car from the Turnaround down to the Fisherman’s Area where we will stay at the Rui Plaza (booked). We have opted for this one as they unusually offer a rollaway bed and as our SFO stay is short, it is very well located.


The Rui Plaza on Mason, just a block or so from the Wharf.

As soon as we are checked in, we will be up to Union Sq as we never fully did it justice last time. Then it is the SFO Ghost Hunt around the Nob Hill area with ‘Christian’. We had booked this for March and when it was cancelled, not only did he cancel and refund, but he gave us a code to do it for free when we returned!
The evening meal will likely be in the Hardrock on Fisherman’s.


Christian’s ghost hunt.

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Thursday 19 August. Well, it’s a short walk to Fishermen’s. Here we will get picked up by ‘The Love Tour’.. a 6 person VW air cooled, hand painted camper Van and with 60s music and a shag pile carpet. It takes you on a 2 hour tour of SFO that includes Haight Ashbury, The Golden Gate, driving down the Lombard St Zigzags etc. Can’t wait!


Love tour bus... on the Lombard Zigzags.. it will certainly beat just looking at them!

Then it’s lunch and probably a pick up of cycles for an adventure, Lombard Street, Golden Gate Park, Sutra Baths, Golden Gate, back over the bridge and then along the bottom to Fishermen’s.. phew!.. Time for an evening meal at the Tipsy Pig.


Golden gate park.

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Friday 20 August will be checkout then a stroll around Embarcadero (or taxi) to the BART, then up to SFO International to collect a car. This is an Alamo RAV4 (or similar and we will eventually drop it at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.. 7 days later (£184 with extra driver and free cancellation).We then drive to Monterey through San Jose. We are staying at the Sunset Inn at Pacific Heights as the prices for our dates in Monterey are crazy at the moment (Booked). It looks a 2.5 mile, pretty walk to the aquarium, but we are aware of the carpark at the far end of Cannery Row by the Wharfs.. The evening will be spent on Cannery Row.

The Sunset Inn.
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Saturday 21 August
1. If there are Blue or Orcas in the bay, then it is a Whale Watch.



2. If sightings are few, then it is the aquarium.


It may even be both and then a meal on Cannery Row.


What a dull day!

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Sunday 22 August is a rather long day. It will be an early start and then a rather long, 150 mile drive taking in Big Sur, Partington Ridge, Pfeiffer Burns, Bixby Bridge and ending with Hearst Castle. We will stay the night. We obviously hope to see some Whales from Partington Ridge.. you never know your luck!


A wonderful PCH view.


Partington ridge.


Bixby Bridge.


Pfeiffer Burns State Park.


Hearst Castle.


More Hearst Castle.


..and we may even have another look at the underwhelming Elephant seals as we pass.

We will stay budget on this night, The Days Inn by Wyndham, right next to the beach and a positive bargain at EBookers, £61.83 (-8%) with breakfast, ocean view and free cancellation. The location outweighs other considerations. let us hope that I don’t have to pile the suitcases against the door!


Days inn by Wyndham

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Monday 23 August is a drive down to Pismo Beach. If we were too tired to see Hearst Castle the day before, we will do it before leaving. This is for a ‘Chill Out’. We have booked the Lighthouse Suites. Normally it would be the amazing Madonna Inn, but this time we wanted a different sort of ‘vibe’ by the beach.


Pismo Pier.


Pismo Pier.


The Lighthouse Suites.

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Tuesday 24 August is a leisurely drive to Solvang and then a good look around this ‘Danish’ town. We will stay at the Royal Copenhagen at Solvang, right in the middle and seemingly excellent value. (Booked).


Solvang.


The rather Danish looking Royal Copenhagen at Solvang
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Wednesday 25 August is an early start and then a 120 mile drive South to Warner Brothers Studios. I have never been, but am assured by Mandie that I will see some wonderful things.. below are 2 that will top the list (answers on a postcard please). We then move the short distance to Universal Studios and check in to the Hilton at Universal (booked) before heading straight to Margaritaville.. for a Margarita.. or three.






Hilton at Universal.


The wonderfully restrained frontage of Margaritaville.

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Thursday 26 August is our Universal day... We will concentrate on the things that are not duplicated in Orlando (been around 25 times), and then hopefully do some favourites. This day will be subject of planning in the coming months, but will most certainly involve Margaritaville! That planning has been greatly helped by ‘Tweety1’ who very kindly has forwarded me park maps of both Universal and Warner bros.





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Friday 27 August, we check out of the Hollywood Hilton and drive the short distance to Bob Hope airport (Burbank), Where we will dump our car and then fly to Tucson via a 2 and a bit hour layover in Phoenix. This has been a revision to our plan as we did not relish the 8 hour drive as an alternative. We then pick up a new hire car at Tucson Airport and move to our Hotel. We then check in to the Hyatt Place at a Tucson Airport (booked), before adjourning to the Golden Corral for a bit of Culture. (The boys insisted).


Golden Corral, near Tucson Airport.

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Saturday 28 August is my big day, a short drive to Pima Aircraft Museum and see it before booking their open sided bus tour of the AMARC boneyard at Davis Monthan AFB.


Pima Museum.


B52s in the Boneyard AMARC


General view of part of the boneyard.

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Sunday 29 August will be a day trip to Tombstone (an hour away) to see the scene of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corrall, Boot Hill etc and also a Horseride with ‘Tombstone adventures on Horseback’, visiting a derelict Silver Mine before a drive back to TUcson.


Main Street Tombstone .


Boot Hill and the Clanton, Mclaury graves from the famous O.K. Corral gunfight. Where Wyatt, Morgan, Virgil and Doc settled some scores. It were called ‘justice’ in them days.

Then it will be back to.. Tucson and a meal at ‘The Yardhouse’, Darden’s and one of my very favourite chains.

Yardhouse, Tucson.
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Monday 30 August is another long drive day as we head up to the Grand Canyon via Winslow Arizona where I am assured by the Eagles that if I stand on a corner, then I may see a girl my lord on a flatbed Ford. We then carry on up to the South Rim and stay in the Yavapai Lodge within the Canyon Park and seemingly a bargain at £123 before an 8% company discount (Booked). We will be watching the sunset. Evening meal will probably be at ‘Wendy’, Flagstaff on the way in.. (My boys always insist on at least one Wendy.. and who am I to deny them?).


Statue of Glen Frey R.I.P (Eagles) standing on the corner.. although it was actually co writer Jackson Browne who the story relates to.. and he later believed that it might have been at Flagstaff!


Grand Canyon South Rim.


And again at Sunset.


The Yavapai lodge, to where we retire soon after sunset (1840) in order to be up for sunrise (0600)
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Tuesday 31 August is Sunrise at the Grand Canyon (0600) and a look around before heading via the Hoover Dam to McCarran Int at Las Vegas where we will drop our hire car before getting a taxi to the New York New York, our Hotel For the next few days (Booked). The evening will be spent at another Darden’s.. ‘The Bahama Breeze’.


The New York New York with its Rollercoaster.


Bahama Breeze, LV.. bearing an uncanny resemblance to both the one in LBV and the one on IDrive... and all of the others that I have previously visited.


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Wednesday 01 September is a day for a short stroll. We will be walking the length of the strip, all the way to Pawn Stars shop and also the infamous Heart Attack Grill. I guess that it will then be a taxi back!


The infamous Heartattack Grill.


A sample of their fare.. The octuple bypass burger!


The consequences of failing to clear your plate.. A Nurse spanks you with a paddle. (Well it may actually be a waitress disguised as a Nurse). Punters wear Hospital Gowns throughout their visit.

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Next day is a full one in Vegas before a 2130 flight home. I am not sure what to do with it yet.. but it will be cultural!.. and include the nearby ‘Hooters’.


Hooters, Las Vegas.


This vacation would not suit everybody .. or even many, but as I said, we saw most of the ‘must sees’ last time and this is about covering things we missed. It is a fair bit to cram in, but hopefully rather relaxing!
I will of course be preparing a foodie trip report, given my clear preference for high end restaurants! 😂

anji 17 Sep 20 05:00 PM

Glad you're not admitting defeat, neither are we and plan the same trip from 23 August!

Your trip sounds amazing, as ever, and just right to do the things on your bucket list. The bone yard looks massive!

I'm actually glad we're not in Oregon at the moment, like we were meant to be, because of the smoke and fires. My heart goes out to everyone there. The smoke is as far up as Vancouver, so would have affected us for 3 weeks!

Here's to 2021 :)

cornishfrogboy 17 Sep 20 07:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by anji (Post 14649904)
Glad you're not admitting defeat, neither are we and plan the same trip from 23 August!

Your trip sounds amazing, as ever, and just right to do the things on your bucket list. The bone yard looks massive!

I'm actually glad we're not in Oregon at the moment, like we were meant to be, because of the smoke and fires. My heart goes out to everyone there. The smoke is as far up as Vancouver, so would have affected us for 3 weeks!

Here's to 2021 :)

Thankyou for your kind words.. 😍

Glad to see that you are being equally positive.

Are you going to do a pre trip report? I would be very keen to see it. This evening I will be updating this one with the hotels that I have booked since posting.

Mary A 17 Sep 20 07:22 PM

Sounds amazing! We love west coast road trips too.

YorkshireT 17 Sep 20 07:26 PM

CFB, you certainly like the planning. Perhaps more than the holiday itself!

cornishfrogboy 17 Sep 20 07:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YorkshireT (Post 14650076)
CFB, you certainly like the planning. Perhaps more than the holiday itself!

You cannot admit defeat in adversity.

When knocked back, I simply try again.. again... and again if necessary.

I am renowned for my pigheaded stubbornness.. it is a quality of which I am very proud. It has seen me through some very hard times over the years. 😇

Sandraoh40 17 Sep 20 10:42 PM

That looks like an amazing trip.
We were lucky enough to see Orca’s from Monterey in 2016 when we went. It was the highlight of the trip. And I have to add that sitting on Pismo Beach Pier watching the kids surf as the sun went down was just so special. These type of memories never leave you.
It’s certainly going to be trip with tons of great memories :)

cornishfrogboy 18 Sep 20 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sandraoh40 (Post 14650282)
That looks like an amazing trip.
We were lucky enough to see Orca’s from Monterey in 2016 when we went. It was the highlight of the trip. And I have to add that sitting on Pismo Beach Pier watching the kids surf as the sun went down was just so special. These type of memories never leave you.
It’s certainly going to be trip with tons of great memories :)

Thankyou. I will be glad simply to get there, this time.

It has been painful to build what I thought were two great vacations and then see them torn away. At least I was very fortunate and got the bulk of my money back within a week from BA and then, AA as they respect consumer law. The rest followed in drips and drabs over the following weeks.

This dealing with reputable companies (this was by chance) and getting a prompt refund enabled me on both occasions to invest again straight away on fresh flights, rather than have it used by said company as a high risk, unauthorised, interest free loan for 4 months or more in order to help keep it afloat whilst blatantly telling lies as to reasons for the delays!

Onwards and upwards!.. as some say.

tocpe321 20 Sep 20 07:00 PM

Looks good, cfb, Happy planning and hope it goes ahead.

:wave:

We cancelled Sicily this year after Easyjet cancelled the flights and we decided to get a refund rather than rescheduling.

Quite excited, as I've just booked flights to Washington DC for next August. It's with lastmin.com and flying via Dublin with Aer Lingus. Quite pleased as we get to do Immigration checks in Dublin!

Our plan is Washington, Colonial Williamsburg etc, somewhere on the beach in the Carolinas and then Gatlinburg/ Pigeon Forge in Tennessee.


Time to start planning. There's some good hotel deals on B'g.com for no deposit and cancellable. My son's on the Genius Loyalty Program, so gets discounts.


Hopefully ours will go ahead too, but time will tell.

cornishfrogboy 20 Sep 20 07:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tocpe321 (Post 14653527)
Looks good, cfb, Happy planning and hope it goes ahead.

:wave:

We cancelled Sicily this year after Easyjet cancelled the flights and we decided to get a refund rather than rescheduling.

Quite excited, as I've just booked flights to Washington DC for next August. It's with lastmin.com and flying via Dublin with Aer Lingus. Quite pleased as we get to do Immigration checks in Dublin!

Our plan is Washington, Colonial Williamsburg etc, somewhere on the beach in the Carolinas and then Gatlinburg/ Pigeon Forge in Tennessee.


Time to start planning. There's some good hotel deals on B'g.com for no deposit and cancellable. My son's on the Genius Loyalty Program, so gets discounts.


Hopefully ours will go ahead too, but time will tell.

Great news!
I get 7% through my otherwise lousy employers portal in cash backs with B’ing.com and 8% with E,bo...rs.
As you know, I religiously research all vacation expenditure and am finding the second one better at the moment.
I am paying upfront as I am rather concerned that the pound will take a nosedive in the months following any ‘no deal’ Brexit. My Dollars for spending are still ‘in hand’ also

Cars? I did the same with this and found Money S.per... et very good when it takes you to Argu. Who then put you with Alamo. This comes in at less than half the price of Alamo Brits and straightforward Alamo is even more.. free cancellation and 2nd driver is present with all of them!

Good luck with your plans. We all loved DC, but have not visited the rest!


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