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Old 22 Jul 17, 09:22 PM  
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jocat
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Our Californian Road Trip

Well I've left it late again, so there's just time to do a quick pre-trippie before we go to the airport hotel tomorrow.

Itís just the two of us again - our children still prefer to holiday without us now that they are 23. Can't blame them really now that we're no longer paying! It's been a while since I did a trippie so I best introduce ourselves Ė Iím Jo and DH is Martin. Here we are a few months ago, slightly worse for wear.



Well this holiday was formed last September. The rough plan for Summer 2017 had been to visit Canada again, where we hoped to visit Vancouver and the Rockies. However not all flights had been released at that time, and those that had been seemed very expensive. Then one Saturday lunchtime I discovered a thread on the Dibb giving details of very cheap BA Flydrive prices, some of which included the West Coast of America. I sent a message to a friend of mine, as I knew she was thinking of booking for California - it turned out she'd booked a couple of days before, but she encouraged us to book too and maybe catch up with each other out there. Unfortunately we couldn't make a decision straightaway as we were due to go out with some other friends, and I obviously didn't want to book flights without doing some research into the area first. I spent the rest of the day thinking those bargain flight prices were bound to have gone before we could look into it properly.

Thankfully, the next day was a Sunday, which gave me the whole day to research where we might want to visit, and thankfully the flight prices were still available! San Francisco had always been on my bucket list, but other than that I knew nothing about anywhere else.

We eventually made the decision to fly into LA and home from San Francisco. Ideally it would have been the other way round to get the most from the PCH, but we couldn't get the same bargain flights that way. We dare not leave it much longer, so got the flights booked that evening. Canada would have to wait until 2018.

A rough itinerary would come a couple of weeks later, after lots and lots more research! Trip reports on the Dibb were invaluable, so thank you to all of you that have written one. I've read way more than I've commented on, but have got ideas from each and every one of them.

I'd never even thought about Yosemite until reading about it in trip reports, but soon realised it was a must do. We also knew that 1 night stays weren't for us, so had to compromise by seeing fewer places than we wanted to. Unfortunately San Diego was the place we had to drop from our plans, as we wouldn't have been able to do it justice in a couple of days. We're saving that for next time!

The final itinerary ended up as follows:

Anaheim - 3 nights
LA - 3 nights
Cambria - 2 nights
Monterey - 2 nights
Yosemite - 3 nights
San Francisco - 4 nights

Will hopefully add a bit more detail to this later.
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Old 22 Jul 17, 09:38 PM  
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tocpe321
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Jo

Hope you have a fantastic holiday.

Just been watching YouTube videos for California. Looks great.

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Old 23 Jul 17, 07:26 AM  
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Bon voyage Jo - have a fabulous trip!
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Index of my trip reports
2016 Quebec - Kuala Lumpar - New York City 2017 Dubai - Eurocamps France - Ontario and Quebec - So-Cal 2018 Montreal - Bangkok - New England 2019 Argentina - Quebec City - Hong Kong
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Old 23 Jul 17, 07:40 AM  
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Sounds like a fab trip😁 I'm still trying to convince the hubby into a road trip but he's not having any of it at the minute. I must work harder 😂😂
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Old 23 Jul 17, 09:44 AM  
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Thanks all.
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Old 23 Jul 17, 09:51 AM  
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Anaheim

We've booked to stay at the Hilton in Anaheim, where we meet our friends who are out there now.

Our flight isn't due to get into LA until 3:30 pm so not sure what time we may get there after clearing immigration, picking up our car and dealing with LA traffic - any ideas?

I think the plan is to check in, freshen up and catch a quick dinner with them somewhere low key, just in case the time difference and tiredness puts me off my food.

We then have got just two full days at Disney. It looks like California Adventure will be the park we do first, as its early entry in Disneyland that day, although we have bought park hoppers so have the freedom to change between them if the mood takes us. Can't wait to see Cars Land there - it looks fab.
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Old 23 Jul 17, 10:48 AM  
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La

LA has been the part of the trip I've dithered over the most, particularly about where to stay.

At one stage, I had two hotels booked with cancellable rates and was still contemplating booking a third hotel in a different location. We initially booked the Hilton at Universal City, but considering they were charging $340 per night, it was breaking the budget. I kept checking and hoping that the cost would come down, but it never did.

Our friends found a small hotel/motel with great reviews not far away called El Royale Gardens, where they were staying for 2 nights. For our 3 nights, it was just over half the price of the Hilton (these were sale prices). I couldn't really argue with that, or the fantastic reviews.



It's by no means a luxury hotel, but all of the rooms have recently been refurbished. What really seems to set it apart from others though is the fantastic service that the staff provide.

Having booked this too, I still didn't cancel the Hilton though. I'll admit to having a few wobbles about the El Royale, as generally I prefer hotels with interior corridors to access the rooms. Think I was still hoping for a Hilton sale.

Just 3 weeks ago, I was at a friend's birthday party and got talking to her brother. He works for Universal at their London office, although he travels all over the world promoting their films, but had spent a few months based in LA about 3 years ago. He added a bit of a spanner in the works by suggesting we stay in West Hollywood - he really didn't have good things to say about the Hilton at Universal.

Ultimately though, we were only intending on spending half a day in Hollywood, as we had booked tickets to Universal Studios and the Warner Brother Tour on 2 days of our 3 day stay. So we stuck with our original plan of staying close to Universal, and I put my brave head on and cancelled the Hilton. The £400 I've saved will go a long way elsewhere.

So the plan is to check out from Anaheim on Thursday, drive to LA and hopefully check it Santa Monica and the Griffiths Observatory that day.



Friday we have the Warner Brothers tour booked with our friends, and we'll probably do the obligatory very short time spent at the Walk of Fame, which we feel we have to do despite the awful reviews. We might then follow it with a quick drive around Beverly Hills.

Saturday we were due to say goodbye to our friends, then spend the day at Universal. However our friends have now booked an extra night there, so although we won't be saying bye to them that morning, they aren't coming to Universal with us. I know Saturday is probably not the best day to spend there, but we have got early entry to the park. so hope we can avoid some of the crowds by starting early.

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Old 23 Jul 17, 12:30 PM  
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Cambria

It's time to move on up the PCH today, and after some more indecision, we plumped for staying at the Fogcatcher Inn in Cambria in a Partial Ocean View suite.



We decided on Cambria as we thought we'd be a good way up the PCH for our journey - we didn't bank on the landslides and the Pfeiffer bridge having to be replaced!

On the way to Cambria, we're hoping to stop for lunch in Santa Barbara, plus have a bit of a look round. We also want to stop at Solvang and perhaps pick up some pastries for breakfast tomorrow morning.



Once we get to our hotel, we don't intend on doing very much. It has a lovely pool area with a view of the ocean, so weather permitting we'll spend a few hours relaxing the next day, plus will drive up the PCH as far as we can before we hit the road closures.



It will then be back to the hotel for our final night there. I'm sure we'll squeeze in some food and cocktails too!
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Old 23 Jul 17, 12:37 PM  
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Looks good. We may pop to Solvang.

I looked on Google maps again and the furthest North still appears to be Ragged Point.
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