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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:46 PM  
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ROAD TRIP! California & Arizona 2023 - 1 thread - Day 18 Yuma, the eccentrics and home COMPLETE!

Pre-Trip is here https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...7#post15985137

I'm earmarking posts for each day so it's easier to navigate.


DAY 1 - Travel to Heathrow and Overnight stay


Best laid plans and all that ….! The idea for today was to take Pepper to the cattery at 10am and then come home to pack, leaving around 4pm for the hotel at Heathrow.

We were just going to visit my Mum in her nursing home on Saturday afternoon when Gary from the cattery phones to say would it be ok to bring Pepper at 5.45pm next day. I’d not even considered that as it was a Sunday the hours would be different, so a late trip to the cattery and straight to Heathrow instead. We were just worried about freaking Pepper out during the day as she ALWAYS KNOWS when she’s off in the carrier somewhere.


We did our packing and sorted the house out. We got her in the carrier ok and I went out into the garden to feed the birds. Suddenly she’d escaped the carrier and was heading down the garden with Will shouting after her! Nooo! I dived at her and managed to grab her by the scruff and pick her up just as she was about to disappear into the bushes! She wasn’t impressed. Phew. I don’t know what we’d have done if she’d got over the fence and away.

Off to the cattery and settled her in. She’s gone there for all of her 12 years, so they know each other well. Then a good trip up to the Premier Inn on Bath Road. We only live 75 minutes away, so a straightforward journey with little traffic. I think it being a Sunday evening helped.

We checked in and were upgraded to the posher Premier Inn rooms top floor – thank you! I paid our £15 to park for the night so that we didn’t have to bother about if next day.
We had dinner in the Thyme restaurant and it was lovely. I had Butter Chicken and Will went for Gammon, Eggs and Chips. Also a bottle of Jack Rabbit rose to help the sleeping!

We watched a bit of TV before getting a good sleep in the very comfortable Hypnos bed. We’d always stayed at the Travelodge on Bath Road before and parked at Purple Parking. This was a BCP deal including meet and greet parking, for £166 for 19 days and less than Purple Parking alone. I’d definitely choose Premier Inn in the future – great building and atmosphere, lovely room and meal.
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Index to all trip reports here https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...3#post15913083
Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip 2016
Road Trip Florida 2017
New England Road Trip 2019
Florida Road Trip 2022
Canada/Pacific NW Road Trip 2022
Cyprus Chill week May 2023
Road Trip California & Arizona 2023

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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:46 PM  
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Day 2 - Travel Day

Our flight was with BA from Terminal 5 at 1.50pm, so no huge rush to get up so we lazed until 9.00 am 😊 We had some coffee and decided to get something to eat at the airport, rather than the hotel. I’m not a big breakfast person so we had turned down the meal deal offer the night before.

We drove to level 4 of T5 Short Stay easily and handed the car over to BCP. All very smooth and straight into the terminal to drop the cases off. I had booked WT on the way over and WT+ on the way home. I’d also pre-booked our seats each way.

Heathrow was very busy, maybe because of a Monday morning business travellers? The only place that looked remotely peaceful was Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant. I do love Gordon Ramsey (we’re big USA Masterchef fans) so were happy to eat there. Great service for coffee and pastries. Then we found ourselves some seats around the gate and waited whilst reading etc.

When I booked the seats we had a free seat next to us and still had this at online checkin. Of course someone came and sat in it. Really don’t mind apart from maybe having to ask them to get up occasionally and hoping they aren’t annoying! He was fine 😊

The food on the flight was probably the best we’ve ever had on a plane. We both had Piri Piri Chicken with rice, peas and sweetcorn. It came with this …… guess what it is.
Quinoa and beetroot with soured cream. So many people thought it was a cheesecake haha! A lovely chocolate and salted caramel pot for desert then cheese and biscuits, and bread. Plus 2 white wines for Will and a vodka and diet Coke and a wine for me. A few hours later we were treated to a pot of Jude’s vanilla ice cream. Yummy.

I wasn’t sure what we would be served later, but it turned out to be another full meal – not just a wrap or savoury pastry. Equally as good as the first one. We opted for chicken again – roasted breast this time and the desert was a Tangy Lemon pot.

I watched live Little Mermaid – I really enjoyed it and thought Melissa McCarthy was great as Ursula (one of my favourite characters). Then I re-watched Hocus Pocus for the umpteenth time, read and snoozed. I also spent a good few hours just looking out of the window!

The flight was good with little turbulence and we flew over some great scenery including the Grand Canyon
and Lake Havasu City, where we would be staying later. I could pick out London Bridge, which now resides there.


The approach to San Diego was less scary than I expected and we landed half an hour early. I had heard tales of people waving from tall buildings as the plane flew between them but it was fine. San Diego has only one runway and is very close to the city. The buildings are limited in height to 500 feet because of the airport proximity.

We were through immigration quickly with a friendly border officer but had to wait a while for our baggage. We weren't picking up the car until we left San Diego so we decided to get a cab if the free hotel shuttle wasn’t there. It runs every 30 minutes, so it was a gamble if we would see it. I know there’s a local bus which would stop very near the hotel and only cost $2 but with our cases and being tired we didn’t fancy it. It was now approaching 2am to us. Ended up that we got a cab to the door.

The Wyndham San Diego Bayside hotel is right on the waterfront. It was $961 for 4 nights. I booked months ago (as all the hotels with a bit of tweaking and most already paid for) and the price had severely risen in the intervening time. Check in was easy and we got an upgrade to an ocean view corner room with balcony on the 11th floor – thank you again!
The view was incredible. We could see all the way along the bay from USS Midway to the airport and beyond and were right opposite the beautiful sailing ships. We saw the sunset!

We felt that we should try to stay awake until at least 9pm, so walked up to Little Italy around 7pm. We opted for the Bar One – a sports bar and hardly Italian – and had a couple of beers and shared 3 sliders. We weren’t really hungry after the plane food but thought we should have something. The sliders were really good. We walked back to the hotel about 8.15pm and were in the massive bed at 9pm.

Tomorrow would be the hop-on hop-off Old Town trolley first, which was part of our Go San Diego ticket, and left from opposite the hotel.
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Index to all trip reports here https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...3#post15913083
Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip 2016
Road Trip Florida 2017
New England Road Trip 2019
Florida Road Trip 2022
Canada/Pacific NW Road Trip 2022
Cyprus Chill week May 2023
Road Trip California & Arizona 2023

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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:47 PM  
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Day 3 - San Diego Trolley Tour, Harbour Cruise & Seaport Village

Don’t you just love waking up at silly o’clock on your first morning and looking outside to see what’s going on and how light it is? The whole holiday in front of you 😊 Having done this, I went back to bed for a while!

Today’s plan was to do the Old Town Trolley and then to go on the Harbour cruise in the afternoon. The Trolley started at 9am from Old Town and we were the next stop on the route. This was from the Maritime Museum right opposite the hotel.

We were on floor 11. There were 3 lifts to summon – one of which was an outside glass elevator! This one arrived and at first I didn’t like it but soon got used to it as it seemed to arrive the most 😊

First port of call was the Portside Café, again opposite the hotel. They freshly make your food and you pick it up from the next window. We ate in the domed covered seating area overlooking the sea, which was dead calm. Will had a breakfast bap of egg, sausage etc and I went for a lovely apple Danish, washed down by some coffee.

At 9am we walked down to the Trolley stop. Old Town was quite a distance away so it arrived about 10 minutes later. Not many people on it at all. We’d got our Go San Diego Explorer tickets through Viator and Quidco and had 4 things to do – tour, cruise, zoo and USS Midway. It was £246 for both of us. This saved us $$s and I’d definitely recommend it.

The whole tour is 2 hours and covers 25 miles of San Diego, including across the bridge to Coronado Island. The guide was really informative, funny and clearly loved his job – he also spoke in a real Disney type voice.


We went along to Seaport Village, over the bridge (longer than Golden Gate Bridge due to the big curls at either end) to the beach and Coronado Hotel, Gaslamp area, Petco arena, Balboa Park, Little Italy and then to Old Town, which was the terminus. We had to get off here and get on another Trolley to return to the hotel.


We had a short look round Old Town (we were returning next day) and had a drink. The next driver was very different, much louder in all respects, and he told us a lot about the airport as we drove past it and along the waterfront. Definitely a good tour to go on to get the lie of the land and very comfortable – certainly more than the rickety Vancouver one last year.

There were the sailing ships associated with the Maritime Museum near our hotel and also a massive super-yacht. This was being cleaned and they were polishing the silver eagle on the prow. Very nice! The galleon was used in Pirates of the Caribbean.


We popped back to the room and freshened up before heading down to the Embarcadero and the Harbour Cruise. They scanned our QR code and we were onto The Hornblower 😊 We sat on the top deck in the sun. It was a bit windy going along!
There are two 1-hour cruises – one which looks at the sealions and houses and the other which looks at all the military goings on. The idea was that we did one, stayed aboard and then did the other.,

First up were the sealions and pelicans. The sealions were making a lot of noise – I love their barking!
On the far side of the bay were 3 aircraft carriers lined up – this is unusual apparently.
We had two cocktails and snacks, which had to be ordered via QR code rather than going to the bar, and at $17 each drink they were a total rip-off. Very small and weak. ☹

We returned to the dock, some people got off and more got on, then we were off again to the other side of the bay. The boat goes from right next door to the USS Midway aircraft carrier and when you’re on the sea next to it you appreciate the sheer size of the thing.
We went off round the military areas, under the Coronado Bridge and learned about all the ships and aircraft.


There was a strange looking aircraft, which is new apparently and we were very lucky to see in the air,
and a really cool trimaran warship that goes 45mph on the water.
We returned along the Seaport Village area and completed our cruise.
Definitely worth doing on the Go City but keep away from the cocktails!

After this we walked down to the Seaport Village area and had a look around the shops. The Village was designed by Disney imagineers. They were getting ready for Halloween.
We brought some cold drinks from a shop and sat under the trees. It was about 74 degrees, so just right!
Some people had elaborate kites flying.


We walked back along the waterfront to the hotel and got back around 4.30pm. I had a table booked at 7pm at the Old Spaghetti Factory in the Gaslamp area. We’d been to one of these last year on Vancouver Island and enjoyed it.

This was the view from the other end of our balcony - over a lovely park and play area.


We took the Green Line tram to get there from Santa Fe Depot, about 5 minutes walk from the hotel. We got off at the Gaslamp Quarter Station.
At the Old Spaghetti Factory you order your mains but also have soup or salad, their beautiful fresh bread and also ice cream too in the price! Will ordered Spaghetti with Rich Meat Sauce and I had Spinach and Cheese Ravioli. Very good but of course we’d eaten too much of the lovely bread and butter to start with, plus the salads.

The choice for desert was either Vanilla Ice cream or Spumoni. This is a blend of chocolate, cherry and pistachio ice cream. We were just given Spumoni without asking and one spoon each was enough – vile! We both hate marzipan and the cherry and pistachios really made it taste like this. The server kindly brought us vanilla instead 😊 Sorry, no photos.

After the meal we had a bit of a walk and went to Bar 207, which is actually the Hard Rock Hotel and had some beers. By this time our busy day and time difference were catching up with us and we called it a day, getting the tram back and arriving back at the hotel at 10pm
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Index to all trip reports here https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...3#post15913083
Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip 2016
Road Trip Florida 2017
New England Road Trip 2019
Florida Road Trip 2022
Canada/Pacific NW Road Trip 2022
Cyprus Chill week May 2023
Road Trip California & Arizona 2023

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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:47 PM  
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Day 4 - San Diego - USS Midway, Old Town & Whaley House Ghost Tour

I know I’ve spoken before about how it seems celebrities die and major World things happen while we are away … poor David McCallum didn’t last until we were through immigration this time! Tina Turner had passed while we were in Cyprus in May and last year the Queen died.

Also last September our daughter, Fern, called to say Mum had tested positive for Coronavirus in her care home but had no symptoms. This morning she called in tears while we were still in bed to say Mum had had a stroke! OMG! Because of the time difference, she had already been to see her and she was doing ok but not communicating very well. I called the home right away and they assured me we should not return and she was responding well. We are lucky that she’s in a full care nursing home and they have all the staff to look after her properly. In fact within a couple of days she was back to 95% fine. Fern really stepped up and kept us fully informed and when we visited her on our return you’d never have known. Lucky, tough 93 year old!

So, with that on our minds, we set off out for the day. First visit was to the USS Midway, 5 minutes walk away. This is such an immense ship and we were there for 4 hours in total. We looked all round the lower decks – I can’t believe how many people/meals/living arrangements were on the ship. Really interesting, even for me! Will just loved it and only banged his head once on the low ceilings.

We had some coffee and cookies in the café and sat at a table on the deck to eat them. Then Will went full Top Gun and tried out some of the planes.
He bought some postcards for his friends and a fridge magnet. I was very impressed with the Midway and it’s a definite ‘must see’ for San Diego.

After the Midway we went back to the hotel and Will had 30 minutes of swimming in the pool, which he said was a great temperature.

Tram to Old Town next from Santa Fe station. We wandered around the shops and exhibits for a few hours.
They were getting ready for the Dia de Los Muertos in the Mexican area.


I bought a Tree of Life pendant, which I have yet to buy a proper chain for!


We visited the old cemetery, which we had seen from the Trolley tour, and looked at the gravestones. I love old cemeteries and the weird things on some gravestones.


We had some 8oz craft beers in the Societe Bar. I has The Madam (!) and Will ordered Fest Bier. They were both good but I preferred mine as it was a bit lighter. $10.70 inc tip, so not bad. The barman asked our plans and we told him we were going to Café Coyote. He said we had to have their signature Margarita as it was the best around!

Café Coyote is huge with lots of areas and I’m glad we’d booked as it was very busy.
The Margaritas were huge and the best we’ve had 😊
Of course we ate too many chips and salsa to begin with too. Will had Carne Asada Plate and I had Surf & Turf Quesadilla. This was cut into 4 and far too big. I ended up having 2 boxed for later. Both came with rice and refried beans and all the trimmings. Total was $72 plus tip.


There was a Mariachi band going round singing for tables. Will asked for La Bamba. They duly obliged and earned their tip!


At 8pm we had a booking at the Whaley House. Photo taken from the Trolley the day before.


This is reputed to be the most haunted house in the whole of the USA. Our guide was very good and told the tales of the house well. I took a lot of phots but nothing unexpected showed up (unlike St Augustine!).
It was fun tour though but nothing scary. You can go on proper investigations there, which I guess would be more productive.

Back on the Green Line to Santa Fe and a quick walk back to the hotel. We were back by 10 again and quickly into bed. I didn’t sleep well that night, despite the comfortable bed, as I was thinking about my Mum. Up early for the Zoo tomorrow!
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Index to all trip reports here https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...3#post15913083
Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip 2016
Road Trip Florida 2017
New England Road Trip 2019
Florida Road Trip 2022
Canada/Pacific NW Road Trip 2022
Cyprus Chill week May 2023
Road Trip California & Arizona 2023

Edited at 04:36 PM.
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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:47 PM  
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Day 5 - San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park

Today was what I’d been most looking forward to in San Diego – the San Diego Zoo. I used to work at Marwell Zoo a long time ago and San Diego was always THE zoo in their eyes to live up to. I can now see why and all zoos will be rubbish in comparison!

First, a call home to check Mum was ok. We decided to get a Lyft to the Zoo, which opened at 9am. We could have got the bus but Lyft would be far quicker. We also decided to get some food once we’d got there. We called from the door of the hotel and the car was with us within a couple of minutes, really fast.

Christopher, the driver was 6’5” and had his seat far back, so Will sat in the front and they chatted about fighter jets. Christopher always wanted to be a pilot but grew too tall to fly one! He knew SO much about planes and obviously relished talking about them. His grandfather had been a fighter pilot.

We arrived at the door to the Zoo at 9.08am, the ride having cost $8.93 and we gave a cash tip. Straight in with our Go ticket and bypassed the line.
We grabbed a map and the first stop was already earmarked for the Hummingbird Habitat. I’m mad about these little birds and the Habitat was near to the entrance.


We saw a ‘wild’ hummingbird just outside, but inside there were hardly any! Lots of different birds but few hummingbirds, so I was a bit disappointed. We did, however, see many of them around the zoo throughout the day and more in the afternoon when we re-visited the Habitat.

The Zoo is just massive. We ended up being there over 6 hours and only saw 75% of it and didn’t go on any of the tours.
After the hummingbirds we looked at everything in that area and by that time it was 10am and the cafes were open. We sat and had some coffees and cookies before heading for the cable car. This takes you to the other side of the zoo, which is also uphill. The views were good but it was a bit cloudy today.


The enclosures of the animals were huge and everywhere was so clean and tidy. Every pool of water was clean and clear. I know zoos aren’t everyone’s thing but they so serve vitally important conservation and repopulation functions. I saw no signs of distress anywhere at all. The aviaries were just beautiful with so many birds flying around you. It did remind me of Animal Kingdom too, the signage being similar too, and I’m sure AK must be modelled around it.

We had an ice cream and paid an extortionate $17 for two small wafer cones of soft ice cream. A shared hot dog combo and a big bag of crisps later were only $11.89, so a comparative bargain.

There were many non-animal displays and information – I was amazed to find that dire wolves were actually real in the past and not just Game of Thrones wolves!

Here are some photos – I did take a lot of videos too.

The penguins looked like they were having a meeting with one in charge! They were actually all standing in the shade 😊


If you’ve ever seen an elephant having a wee, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s never-ending deluge!

We reluctantly left around 3.30pm as we wanted to go to Balboa Park too. The clouds had gone by then and it was very hot. Will rated the zoo up there as the best thing we did, even higher than USS Midway – which is praise indeed!

There are 22 museums in Balboa Park – so three a day would take you a week! I would have loved to go to some of them – like the Natural History or Comic Con museums - but there just wasn't time. We walked through the Spanish Village and down into the central area of the park.

The architecture is amazing and, again, everywhere was pristine. We did a lot of walking and looking, went on the little tram that takes you round and had drinks and snacks. We left about 6pm.
The San Diego squirrels are friendly and yellowish in colour.

The bus was the transport home and we asked directions to the stop. All straightforward until the bus got to Broadway and said it was the end of the line! We walked from here back to the hotel (as we’d obviously not done enough walking already! ), via Santa Fe station, so we knew we were only a few minutes from the hotel and the lovely back door entrance, right near the lifts!


I’d booked a table that night at the hotel’s Claim Jumper Restaurant as I knew we’d be tired – definitely the right move. The Wyndham actually has 3 associated restaurants and a little inside café/Starbucks too.

The Claim Jumper meal was just wonderful and my Shrimp Fresca pasta was one of my favourite meals. I also managed to finish it! Will had Country Fried Steak and we had a bottle of Pinot to wash it down. Total $76 plus tip. A lovely end to a fabulous day.


Tomorrow we collect the car and start our road trip! 😊 😊
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Index to all trip reports here https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...3#post15913083
Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip 2016
Road Trip Florida 2017
New England Road Trip 2019
Florida Road Trip 2022
Canada/Pacific NW Road Trip 2022
Cyprus Chill week May 2023
Road Trip California & Arizona 2023

Edited at 04:32 PM.
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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:48 PM  
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Day 6 - San Diego to San Clemente - road trip time!

Time to get the car and head out into the unknown (apart from Palm Springs, which we’d visited before). Checkout wasn’t until 11, so we didn’t need to rush to pack and headed over to Portside Café for breakfast again. We both agreed that San Diego had been wonderful and we would definitely return, given the chance.


Our car collection was booked for 10.30am at Avis (via BA) at the airport. We checked out and called Lyft again. We waited outside and the car appeared immediately – I swear he was just round the corner! Again he had the seat pushed right back, not because of his height but because generally he was an absolute giant of a man in all directions and called Jose. He wasn’t as chatty but helped us with our bags and wished us a good journey. $10.99 plus tip. We could have got the hotel shuttle but that would have taken us to the terminal instead of the car rental centre, which you then had to get a bus to.

We headed to Avis preferred, only to find BA hadn’t linked us. No worries as the lovely Avis person found our booking on the system easily enough. She asked if we’d like a Chevvy Tahoe – no thanks as too big for just us 2. So we had a lovely Honda CRV 4 with sunroof, just right for us with loads of luggage space and a pull over cover for security.

I’d downloaded Google maps and we set off for Mission Beach. We parked up in the car park and had a short walk on the beach. It was busy considering it was a Friday morning. For some reason we have no photos.

We decided to press on as I wanted to go to La Jolla Cove to see the caves and sealions. We could have spent longer at Mission Beach as La Jolla was an absolute nightmare. So many cars all looking for a space to park! It would have taken hours and a lot of luck, so we eventually gave up and I found a shortcut back to the main road. La Jolla was not to be and I dread to think what it’s like on a summer weekend.

We passed a pumpkin field. I was surprised that pumpkins seemed to be generally more expensive in supermarkets there than here – what would be £3 here this year was $6.99!


We carried on and stopped at Starbucks at Del Mar Heights for lunch. Somehow the order got mixed up and we ended up with two Ham & Cheese Baguettes instead of just one, plus a Ham & Cheese croissant and drinks. Total $30 with tip! The baguettes were lovely and we saved one for later.

Next stop was a quaintly named mall at Carlsbad called The Shoppes at Carlsbad. This was the only place I could find that had both Bath & Body Works and American Eagle in the same place! I headed straight for Bath & Body works and browsed for quite a while, leaving Will to go to Macy’s. $65 later I left the shop.

By the time I found him he was wearing a new jacket to show me and had been waiting for a rather long time! The staff thought it was funny. I paid for the jacket as it was his birthday the next day 😊

We then headed to American Eagle for the jeans he loves. He tried on the jeans, which fitted perfectly, and decided to grab a pack of 5 boxers on the way to the till. Again I paid and didn’t really look at the amount until we’d left the shop and I checked the receipt as it did seem a bit much at $124 after tax. The boxers were $65 plus tax! And more than the jeans! It’s now a standing joke that things only cost a third of the pants etc. He’d never have got them if he’d realised. Happy Birthday!

We had to join the freeway again here and this continued until our turnoff at San Clemente and the Calafia Inn. I’d booked this months ago for £340 for 2 nights. It’s newly remodelled, surfing themed and looked really nice. Since discovering that the Ohana Festival was on while we were there, the price went up to over $300 per night at that time, so I made sure it was already paid for!

We checked in and asked advice from the owners. We wanted to go to Catalina Island the next day but the Festival was between us and the Ferry at Dana Point, in fact it was in the park right by the marina. I was worried about parking and getting out again, especially when the ferry returned as it would have started and would be so busy. They advised an Uber, which was $40 each way, so I reverted to my original plan without the car of going by local bus at 7.33am for the 9.30am ferry!

The Killers were on that night (we’d seen them here in Southampton last summer) and the Foo Fighters on the Sunday, after we’d left. Nobody we really fancied were on for Saturday and at $165 for a day each it would have been a waste.

Our room was bright and clean. The bed was one of the most comfortable you could wish for. We were also given a stack of small size samples at the desk – hand sanitiser, Degree (Sure) deodorant, sunscreen for adults and children, mints and toothpaste. Very thoughtful.


In the evening we drove down to San Clemente pier and beach. It’s such a gorgeous little town and the pier area was very popular. We parked in the car park and paid $3.50. There were lots of people surfing.
There was a celebration going on beachside.


I really enjoy walking down piers and watching everyone fishing. Fishing seems a real community thing on piers.

The sunset was very disappointing as the sun seemed to go down without showing itself at all!


After this we walked back down the pier just as a train was going along the track by the beach. This was the train to LA, the Pacific Surfliner, which had also stopped at San Diego.


We had dinner in a restaurant at the land end of the pier called The Fisherman’s Restaurant. There’s an oyster bar on one side of the pier and the restaurant on the other side. We had soft drinks as we had the car with us – diet Pepsi and orange juice. Crab Cakes for me and Roasted Half Chicken for Will. Very good and total $66 plus tip.

We had quite an early night after watching a bit of tv as we were up early next day to go to Catalina Island 😊
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Index to all trip reports here https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...3#post15913083
Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip 2016
Road Trip Florida 2017
New England Road Trip 2019
Florida Road Trip 2022
Canada/Pacific NW Road Trip 2022
Cyprus Chill week May 2023
Road Trip California & Arizona 2023

Edited at 12:43 PM.
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Old 23 Oct 23, 05:00 AM  
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Originally Posted by anji View Post
Day 3 - San Diego

Don’t you just love waking up at silly o’clock on your first morning and looking outside to see what’s going on and how light it is? The whole holiday in front of you 😊 Having done this, I went back to bed for a while!

Today’s plan was to do the Old Town Trolley and then to go on the Harbour cruise in the afternoon. The Trolley started at 9am from Old Town and we were the next stop on the route. This was from the Maritime Museum right opposite the hotel.

We were on floor 11. There were 3 lifts to summon – one of which was an outside glass elevator! This one arrived and at first I didn’t like it but soon got used to it as it seemed to arrive the most 😊

First port of call was the Portside Café, again opposite the hotel. They freshly make your food and you pick it up from the next window. We ate in the domed covered seating area overlooking the sea, which was dead calm. Will had a breakfast bap of egg, sausage etc and I went for a lovely apple Danish, washed down by some coffee.

At 9am we walked down to the Trolley stop. Old Town was quite a distance away so it arrived about 10 minutes later. Not many people on it at all. We’d got our Go San Diego Explorer tickets through Viator and Quidco and had 4 things to do – tour, cruise, zoo and USS Midway. It was £246 for both of us. This saved us $$s and I’d definitely recommend it.

The whole tour is 2 hours and covers 25 miles of San Diego, including across the bridge to Coronado Island. The guide was really informative, funny and clearly loved his job – he also spoke in a real Disney type voice.


We went along to Seaport Village, over the bridge (longer than Golden Gate Bridge due to the big curls at either end) to the beach and Coronado Hotel, Gaslamp area, Petco arena, Balboa Park, Little Italy and then to Old Town, which was the terminus. We had to get off here and get on another Trolley to return to the hotel.


We had a short look round Old Town (we were returning next day) and had a drink. The next driver was very different, much louder in all respects, and he told us a lot about the airport as we drove past it and along the waterfront. Definitely a good tour to go on to get the lie of the land and very comfortable – certainly more than the rickety Vancouver one last year.

There were the sailing ships associated with the Maritime Museum near our hotel and also a massive super-yacht. This was being cleaned and they were polishing the silver eagle on the prow. Very nice! The galleon was used in Pirates of the Caribbean.


We popped back to the room and freshened up before heading down to the Embarcadero and the Harbour Cruise. They scanned our QR code and we were onto The Hornblower 😊 We sat on the top deck in the sun. It was a bit windy going along!
There are two 1-hour cruises – one which looks at the sealions and houses and the other which looks at all the military goings on. The idea was that we did one, stayed aboard and then did the other.,

First up were the sealions and pelicans. The sealions were making a lot of noise – I love their barking!
On the far side of the bay were 3 aircraft carriers lined up – this is unusual apparently.
We had two cocktails and snacks, which had to be ordered via QR code rather than going to the bar, and at $17 each drink they were a total rip-off. Very small and weak. ☹

We returned to the dock, some people got off and more got on, then we were off again to the other side of the bay. The boat goes from right next door to the USS Midway aircraft carrier and when you’re on the sea next to it you appreciate the sheer size of the thing.
We went off round the military areas, under the Coronado Bridge and learned about all the ships and aircraft.


There was a strange looking aircraft, which is new apparently and we were very lucky to see in the air,
and a really cool trimaran warship that goes 45mph on the water.
We returned along the Seaport Village area and completed our cruise.
Definitely worth doing on the Go City but keep away from the cocktails!

After this we walked down to the Seaport Village area and had a look around the shops. The Village was designed by Disney imagineers. They were getting ready for Halloween.
We brought some cold drinks from a shop and sat under the trees. It was about 74 degrees, so just right!
Some people had elaborate kites flying.


We walked back along the waterfront to the hotel and got back around 4.30pm. I had a table booked at 7p at the Old Spaghetti Factory in the Gaslamp area. We’d been to one of these last year on Vancouver Island and enjoyed it.

This was the view from the other end of our balcony - over a lovely park and play area.


We took the Green Line tram to get there from Santa Fe Depot, about 5 minutes walk from the hotel. We got off at the Gaslamp Quarter Station.
At the Old Spaghetti Factory you order your mains but also have soup or salad, their beautiful fresh bread and also ice cream too in the price! Will ordered Spaghetti with Rich Meat Sauce and I had Spinach and Cheese Ravioli. Very good but of course we’d eaten too much of the lovely bread and butter to start with, plus the salads.

The choice for desert was either Vanilla Ice cream or Spumoni. This is a blend of chocolate, cherry and pistachio ice cream. We were just given Spumoni without asking and one spoon each was enough – vile! We both hate marzipan and the cherry and pistachios really made it taste like this. The server kindly brought us vanilla instead 😊 Sorry, no photos.

After the meal we had a bit of a walk and went to Bar 207, which is actually the Hard Rock Hotel and had some beers. By this time our busy day and time difference were catching up with us and we called it a day, getting the tram back and arriving back at the hotel at 10pm
Lovely first day in San Diego! Great idea to do the trolley tour on the first day to get your bearings and you got so many great pictures 👍 The Spaghetti Factory is such a great deal, isn’t it? 😊
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Old 23 Oct 23, 03:32 PM  
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Originally Posted by Aims View Post
Lovely first day in San Diego! Great idea to do the trolley tour on the first day to get your bearings and you got so many great pictures 👍 The Spaghetti Factory is such a great deal, isn’t it? 😊
We really enjoyed the trolley tour. We had a 2 day ticket as part of the deal but never used it the next day. Far quicker to get to Old Town on the tram
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Old 9 Sep 23, 11:44 AM  
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Hey there, I hope you have a fab trip. I'm excited to read along on another one of your fab road trips.
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So looking forward to this Anji, I hope you’re having a wonderful time, I’m loving the IG posts!
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