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Unread 1 Nov 19, 09:00 PM  
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smithlane
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The BIG Little Lies California Road Trip - 7th August 2019 - Leaving Yosemite, Outlets & SFO-LHR

Day 21

Going home day
I woke to the alarm at 7 and tried to Check In online again. The BA app was now behaving so checked the 4 of us in, paid for an extra bag and saved our boarding passes to my iPhone Wallet. Took a while as I barely had enough 4G in the tent. Thank the Lord for 3s Feel at Home with unlimited data as the Curry Village WiFi is crap! I had also had the dreaded email from BA to say our flight had been delayed until 8.30 from 19.35.
By 7.30 that was all done so I went outside where I had a nice chat with the Texans from next door. Really lovely family.
Hope and I went to get showered and dressed then when we got back Jim and Sam went. I set to finishing off the packing making sure it wasnt all just thrown in like Sam had done so I had to empty his out and start again. I know I have chronic OCD but that boy drives me insane with how sloppy he is at times. Hope has inherited my genes and packs her case with perfect precision. Proud moment for mumma .
We were finally ready by 9.15am and after one final sweep of the tent to make sure we hadnt left anything we went to the front office to drop the keys off.









With that done we got on our way. Goodbye Yosemite, we'll see you again!





We needed to fill up with gas so stopped off at Texaco just outside of the park.
I went in to pay, queued up then the woman serving said she couldnt take payments for gas . I had to see her colleague who was taking forever doing some kind of refund. Once he finished he said his till was closed, I said I had been queuing for 10 minutes and needed to fill up. He was so rude, he told me I should just pay at the pump like most people do and that he had stuff to sort out with his till! Im afraid to say I lost the plot with him. I told him I couldnt pay at the pump as they require a US zip code which living in the UK made that fairly impossible and as this is a gas station someone might actually want to, you know pay for gas! Ooh he didnt like that. Eventually got my $30 of fuel and stormed out

With that done we kept a look out for somewhere to stop for breakfast. The first place we came across was called Buck Meadows Lodge and Restaurant in Groveland.



I ran in to see what the menu was like, had the usual breakfast offerings so in we all went.
Had a lovely server who took our order, orange juice and a Lucky Buck breakfast for me which had sausage, bacon, scrambled egg and 2 pancakes. Jim had an omelette with bacon, sausage and ham in it with toast and breakfast potatoes. Sam a junior version of mine and Hope just a fruit bowl, they didnt have croissants!









Soon came out and was really tasty, it was actually hot as well!



We got back on the road at 11.50, next stop was Wal-Mart in Manteca. We went down the windiest road Ive ever driven. We were winding round and round and back and forth and with it being downhill I had my brake on pretty much the whole time!



We got stopped at one point for a forklift to remove a load of wood panels from the side of the road, a lorry must have spilled his load. This took about 10 minutes but was quite interesting watching it happen. My heart was in my mouth when the forklift was reversing to get the angle right, he was millimetres away from falling backwards off the edge of the cliff







After that little bit of excitement it was the longest most boring drive weve had yet, was only 1hr 15 but felt more like 4 hours. A straight flat road with absolutely nothing of interest or any towns to drive through.
Helen had taken this photo of us in front, this is how straight and long the road was!



I felt myself losing the will to live but soon enough pulled up outside Walmart at about 1.30pm. We had a few bits we wanted to get to bring home.





















I bought some more Hazelnut chocolate M&Ms, pretzel M&Ms & peanut butter M&Ms for my sister, more Equate Eczema cream, Coffee Mate in French Vanilla and Creamy Chocolate and some more Ghiradelli squares.







Hope and Sam got some chocolate to bring home, we also got some snacks for the plane.
$84 altogether . I swear I can never come in this shop spending any less!

We dumped the bags in the car and can you believe it we went to the in store McDonalds
I just had some chicken nuggets, same as Hope. Jim a Big Mac and Sam some chicken strips. With 4 sodas it came to about $20.
I had been sent another email to say our flight had been delayed until 21.00 so we thought wed have enough time to pop into the San Francisco outlets on the way to the airport.

We got there at about 3.30 and popped into Dicks Sporting Goods first so Jim could get some golf trousers, Hope some Nike bits and Sam some Nike shorts.
As we all know by now I have not a sporting bone in my body so I took a seat in a camping chair that was on display. They had no other seating so I thought why not . My hips were killing me from the walk yesterday, you can imagine I was really looking forward to the 10 hour flight ahead!

We then went over the road to the Premium Outlets. I just wanted Ugg, Sam Tommy Hilfiger and Jim Ralph Lauren so we split up. Hope had spent her last remaining dollars in Dicks so she went with Jim. The Leans went their own way too.





In Ugg I bought a dressing gown which I'd seen in Vegas earlier in the year but didnt buy, also got some slippers as mine are starting to wear out. I wear them everyday around the house so worth the money. The cashier gave me an extra 10% off each of them by signing up to their club. Total for both was $106.98









Sam didnt end up getting anything from Tommy, I stopped him buying for the sake of it.

We met up with the others and left at just after 5pm. It was showing a 50 minute drive to SFO. I had completely forgotten about the toll to go over the bridge into San Francisco and we had no cash on us so had to just drive through and let Avis sort it out.





As we had prepaid for a tank of fuel we could go straight to drop off, we said to the Leans wed meet them there as they needed to find a gas station.
Drop off was fine, I made sure of no extra charges and that the car was empty. Over the 3 weeks we had driven 32 miles short of 2000



We rearranged our suitcases to put in the bits we had just bought. Bit of a squeeze but thank god I had pre paid for an extra bag!
The Leans arrived and did their luggage then after a quick change into our comfy flight clothes we jumped on the Airtrain to International Terminal A. Bit confusing as on our boarding passes it said Terminal B but on the list of Airlines on the train it said A. Turns out it is A for British Airways.
We only needed to bag drop and there was no queue so got seen straight away. Very straight forward with all cases 23kg or under with Sam winning at 17kg! Got told boarding would begin at 8.15pm so we had plenty of time to get something to eat.
Through security which had a minimal queue and only took 10 minutes. Why cant MCO be the same!
We now found somewhere to eat and as Boudin Bakery was the first place we came across we went there. Jim and Sam had the roast beef and cheddar sandwich and I had the chicken pesto and bacon toasted ciabatta. With 2 sodas and a Corona it came to over $50. It better be good! It actually was very tasty, I certainly won the best choice.







Went over to the News Stand opposite to get Hope a drink and a chocolate bar.
It was nearly time to start boarding so walked down to Gate A5.
Very excited to be sitting upstairs on a plane for the first time. Its the little things in life







Boarding didnt begin until 8.25, so looked like we wouldn't be taking off on time.
We were the 4 seats in the middle of rows 82 and 83 right at the back of the plane. Got settled into our seats then went to watch Bohemian Rhapsody but it wasnt working, none of ours were. The cabin crew said theyd do a reset once we had taken off.
We took off just after 9 so earlier than expected. It was the shakiest take off Ive ever experienced, it must have been windy out there!
Once the seatbelt signs went off we asked again about the IFE. They said they had to do a manual reboot of the system which sure enough they did but it was still not working. The cabin crew manager came to see us to say they were working on it and that they were in contact with London to try and fix the error code. It was just our 8 seats, how unlucky is that
In the mean time I just typed up some notes and edited my 3500 photos that I took!
Drinks service came round after about an hour then dinner about an hour after that.





2 Coke Zeros and a water then I chose the chicken option. This was a poor choice, very dry and not much taste! Lemon pudding was good though, I ate Hopes too!

Cabin crew director came back round to say there was nothing he could do to fix the problem. He was really apologetic about the whole thing, certainly wasnt sweeping it away. He said he would speak to us at the end of the flight to help us put a complaint in. Cant be fairer than that. It didnt bother me as I had taken a couple of Paracetamol PMs and I could feel my eyes getting heavy so at about midnight I was out like a light . Best sleep Ive ever had on a flight, I was out cold until 5.40am/1.40pm GMT. I read my book for a bit and played on my phone, editing photos and typing notes. Who needs IFE!

Breakfast was served at 2.30pm. I never like breakfasts on the plane so I just had a cereal bar Id taken with me. I think it was a turkey bacon and egg wrap with a muffin and fruit cocktail. I just had some water.
We touched down at 3.10pm. Took ages to taxi and to get to a gate.
Eventually got off at 4pm. It was quite nice being at the back of the plane so we didnt feel we needed to rush in getting our belongings together.
Straight through Passport Control, god love the machines!

The bags took an age to come through but by 4.30 we were outside waiting for a taxi. Got 2 black cabs, unfortunately a bit of traffic but were home sweet home by 5pm. It was so good seeing Boris, boy had we missed him! My parents had very kindly dropped him off a few hours earlier on their way to Henley.
The Leans stayed for a cup of tea and some toast before making their way back to Hampshire.

I spent the rest of the day doing the washing and unpacking the suitcases. Hope and Sam were going camping the next day in Shiplake with my parents and sister and my Dad was picking them up first thing so had to make sure their bits were washed first and repacked, also had to get the camping stuff out from the loft! I didnt sit down until 10pm but actually felt ok. I think the later flight time helped as I didnt need to stay awake for that long.

And that there ends an amazingly epic 3 week adventure. A huge thank you to everyone who has read and commented on my waffle, it really does spur you on getting each day posted

One last photo of all the magnets I collected over the course of the holiday



Total spent
I usually do a separate spending report but didn't this year. I find it quite helpful when other members add how much they spent on the various parts of their holidays so thought I would add ours to hopefully help if anyone is thinking of doing a similar holiday.
So on top of Flights, Car and Accommodation which the amounts can be found in my Pre Trip we spent...

Food - $3941.30 - This included literally everything including drinks and snacks. It works out at $187 a day which isn't too bad when we were mainly paying for 4 adults each meal
Petrol - $382.91 - I expected this to be a lot higher considering the mileage we did
Parking - $207.50 - This amount we did not budget for!
Extras - $1661.87 - Everything from Alcatraz to Surfing. A lot higher than we had expected but obviously as these are 'extras' the amount could be reduced considerably if on more of a budget.

Total - $6193.58

This was well and truly a blow the budget holiday and can't be repeated every year but we kind of knew that before we went. Can't give up the day job any time soon

Highs and Lows
I posted my Highs and Lows not long after returning which can be found here

https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho... php?t=1141042

So what's next?
Jim and I are off to Krakow in 3 weeks for the weekend for my birthday. Really looking forward to a break away as the holiday feels like a distant memory already! Will definitely do a trip report too.

I am flight stalking constantly for next year but currently the prices are insane! The plan is another road trip taking in the Smoky Mountains, Atlanta, Panhandle of Florida, Sawgrass and Hilton Head Island. Unfortunately the Leans won't be joining us so will either be just the 4 of us or possibly with Jim's parents Bill and Sylvia as well.
Once the flights are booked I'll get started on my Pre Trip report so keep your eyes peeled for that one too

TTFN

Edited at 10:35 PM.
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Unread 1 Nov 19, 10:21 PM  
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4fromsuffolk
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Really enjoyed reading your trip report, thank you. I will look out for your Pre Trip report when you have got things booked! Fingers crossed for good fares.
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Unread 1 Nov 19, 10:21 PM  
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Fantastic trip report, thanks so much for taking the time to share. Brought back great memories of our 2013 trip and some good tips for the trip were hoping to take next year.

We were hoping to go for three weeks but due to daughters boyfriend not being able to get three weeks off work may look at going for 16 nights. Really wanted to fit in San Diego and Vegas but may have to drop them.

Have a brilliant time in Krakow and I look forward to reading your next trippy.
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Unread 2 Nov 19, 12:31 AM  
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smithlane
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Originally Posted by 4fromsuffolk View Post
Really enjoyed reading your trip report, thank you. I will look out for your Pre Trip report when you have got things booked! Fingers crossed for good fares.
Thank you so much for reading along
Really hoping the prices come down to something reasonable soon so I can get them booked and start really planning the holiday. I'm bored already of searching multiple times a day
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Unread 2 Nov 19, 12:37 AM  
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smithlane
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Originally Posted by Macca04 View Post
Fantastic trip report, thanks so much for taking the time to share. Brought back great memories of our 2013 trip and some good tips for the trip were hoping to take next year.

We were hoping to go for three weeks but due to daughters boyfriend not being able to get three weeks off work may look at going for 16 nights. Really wanted to fit in San Diego and Vegas but may have to drop them.

Have a brilliant time in Krakow and I look forward to reading your next trippy.
Thank you so much for reading along
I'm so glad it has brought back good memories for you, I've loved reliving it all by writing this report.
I'm sure 16 nights will be plenty, especially as you've been before and if you can book flights into one airport and out of another it will save time looping back around like we had to.
Have a lovely time
Thank you, I'm really looking forward to it even though its going to be freezing
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Unread 2 Nov 19, 02:53 AM  
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Nesbits
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Its been a cracking report, loved it. Sad its over

Looking forward to the next one.

The parking fees are ridiculous arent they? Dead money.
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Unread 2 Nov 19, 10:00 AM  
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Loved, loved, loved your trip report . If there was to be a Dibb prize for most entertaining, informative and photogenic trip report this would definitely get my vote, thank you for taking the time and effort to write it.

It made me revisit some of the most amazing places I have ever visited and my all time favourite state - California .

Also leaner loads and now want to visit North California more - yes maybe not the camping (thanks for your honest account - tents, loud inconsiderate people, and bad restaurant service are not for me ) but I am sure there are other options as I would love to experience the scenery you enjoyed . Looked absolutely stunning

Thanks again - I will miss my morning read now ...
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Unread 2 Nov 19, 10:21 AM  
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Another great report. Always looked forward to the next instalment!🙂
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Been to Florida several times throughout the 80's,90's,1999 to see in the millenium,back in Oct 2009 to spread my dads ashes & first time on our own as a family in March 2012. Going back in May 2013 - 1 week Orlando and 1 week St Pete beach. To say I'm excited is an understatement!
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