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Old 24 Jul 23, 08:08 PM  
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babbymint
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Join Date: May 11
Location: Sunny South Coast
Babbymint goes west - up to 10 Aug

And we’re off!

The cast
Babby, DH Chas and DS2 Tom, 17.
Freddie is nearly 19, staying at home to feed the cats!

The plot
Today - travel to Gatwick
25 July fly to LA then connect to Las Vegas
30 July- South Rim
31 July - 4 Aug San Francisco
4-6 Aug - Pacific Grove nr Monterey
6-7 Aug - San Luis Obispo
7-11 Aug - Los Angeles
11-17 Aug - San Diego

Going to copy CFB and do a page for each stay.
Will also add spends - we will not be doing high end eating.

Edited at 06:48 AM.
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Old 24 Jul 23, 08:09 PM  
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Travel day

Day 1 fly day

Well we did not have the best of starts!
We like to fly from Gatwick as we only live about a 45 minute direct train ride away.
We had traveled about 5 miles when the train stopped. It turns out a group of girls, about 13/14 yrs old had pulled the door handle- this lead to us being stuck for nearly an hour, doors being reset and police arriving. The girls were running through the train effing and blinding, verbally abusing the guard. My son was on a train at the weekend and said a kid had put his head out of the top window and the guard had to speak to them. I’m very glad railway workers stuck to their guns about needing guards on trains - goodness knows what would have happened - Chas was livid - as a teacher I just said welcome to my world 😂😂

Anyway the rest of the journey went ok, just a 45 minute delay. Stayed at the north terminal premier inn - £92 for the three of us, literally outside the airport so handy - I told Tom to pretend he was 15…
Had quite a restful night and made our way to the terminal around 7am, easy check in with Norse.
Then the obligatory breakfast In Wetherspoons- a small breakfast and two breakfast sandwiches plus an orange and two bottomless hot drinks £34. Job done.
Norse flight to LA went without hitch. We took our own meals (thanks Boots meal deals) and it looked like most did the same thing. It’s an odd thing though, it means the cabin crew are constantly serving. Watched a few films including the Lost King which I quite enjoyed.

There was a long queue in immigration but it moved quickly.
We then collected cases and made our way to our Las Vegas flight. We walked round from terminal B? To terminal 6 where our Alaskan airlines flight to Las Vegas departed. Super quick 45 minute flight


and a 15 minute taxi and we are at the Jockey club suites, from where I write this now after popping out for a bottle of wine (or two).
The jockey club is a timeshare set up - we paid just over £100 per night and I squealed when I saw our view

It’s a very comfortable one bed and one sofa bed setup with full kitchen.

So it’s 945pm here and we’ve been up now for nearly 24 hours so bed for me!

Edited at 05:48 AM.
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Old 24 Jul 23, 08:10 PM  
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Location: Sunny South Coast
26 July

Las Vegas

I discovered two things today:

1. Adjusting to an eight hour time difference is quite hard!
2. Las Vegas is uncomfortably hot!

We had a leisurely start and cereal in the apartment.
We have GoCity passes and do I’ve got a rough itinerary to work around encompassing the hotels and places to visit on our passes.
We visited Paris, the Horseshoe and Sahara. Made use of the monorail and then a bus to Freemont. It’s quite windy and feels like your being blown by a hair dryer on a high heat setting!
We headed north to the Freemont area - it feels a little bit seedy but I imagine it’s very different at night time when there is a music vibe. I tried to persuade Tom to be superman on the zip wire thing but he wasn’t having it!


We had a late lunch at good old Dennys- a plate of loaded nachos for me, a bourbon burger for Chas, and banana pancakes with sausage,egg and bacon for Tom plus cokes came to $62 inc tip.
Then we headed to the Mob museum. We passed a couple of hours there, quite a bit to read but learned quite a bit about the history of Vegas.

After faffing about with monorails and buses we just grabbed an Uber back - much easier and cheaper! Chas commented to our Uber driver about all the roadworks and it’s because Vegas is hosting a Grand Prix in November- Paris is apparently charging $40000 for the week (not for me!).
Back in the room and the plan was a pit stop change and sit down, closed my eyes for a minute and suddenly it was 11pm. My body clock is all over the place. The boys have just eaten snacks we picked up last night so a cheap evening…

Edited at 08:20 AM.
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Old 24 Jul 23, 08:10 PM  
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Join Date: May 11
Location: Sunny South Coast
27 July

Las Vegas

Today we walked down the strip.
We saw New York New York, the Excalibur, Luxor. We found it quite difficult simply going down the strip, what looked like a 10 minute walk certainly wasnt, it feels like Las vegas was not made for pedestrians. The hotels are impressive but seen one casino seen them all.

We did the King Tut exhibit at the Luxor which was ok,
and then say back through Excalibur had a Cinnabon each with drinks which came to $32 but very yummy.

We went back to the apartment and cooled down/ freshened up. Our uber driver yesterday had suggested PF Chang so we were planning on that.
On our way our went via the Bellagio and they have an exotic garden theme in the conservatory which reminded Tom and I of Avatar's Pandora. Rather lovely.

Then a quick trip up the Eiffel tower before changs, which there was an hour wait for, so we had a cocktail while waiting - maybe it's me but it seemed very strong!
Dinner was lovely - I forgot photos, but one of their signatures is lettuce wraps.
Definitely an idea I will steal for home, simple but tasty. We also had spicy shrimp, pad thai, honey chicken and miso salmon. Plus a couple of drinks. The bill came in at just over $200.
After that we rolled home as we were so full, via a quick bellagio fountain watch.

Edited at 08:18 AM.
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Old 24 Jul 23, 08:11 PM  
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28 July Hoover Dam

Hoover dam

Today we set out fairly early on a Hoover dam trip. We picked up the coach from the Horseshoe. It was a fairly short journey, but took an hour due to traffic in vegas itself. They did a quick stop at a vantage point over Lake Mead
then dropped us off in the parking lot at the dam.
It is an amazing feat of engineering - we walked over the dam and back

the went to the visitor centre which was not included in the go city pass and was $10 a head. The temperature hit 46° here today
and I must say I did start to feel a little queasy at one point!
We then got the coach back which took ages - the traffic was chronic in the city, I assume worse as it's Friday and the driver tried to take a shortcut up the strip via New York hotel, but there was an ambulance blocking it, so had to double back round. Anyhow, when we finally got back to the horseshoe it was gone 3pm, Tom was ravenous so we had an early dinner from Nathans of beef and chicken steak sandwiches with drinks which came to $100 with tip which seemed high but was devoured!
We then used our go city passed to visit the Real Bodies exhibit at the Horseshoe which I quite enjoyed, fascinating.
Then we used the go city again to go up the High Roller wheel by the Linq. Another impressive bit of engineering and some great views of the city and beyond.

It was gone 5 by then and still in the mid 40s so we ditched plans to look at the Venetian and made our way back for a rest and swim. The latter never happened as we all fell asleep instead and woke up around 10pm - whoops, jet lag not quite sorted yet...

Edited at 08:46 AM.
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Old 24 Jul 23, 08:11 PM  
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Join Date: May 11
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29 July - au revoir Las Vegas

Last day in Las Vegas, Chaz and Tom went to the atomic museum, I didn’t fancy that as it used to be a big fear of mine as a teenager. I took the couple of hours of freedom to do our washing and ironing, so we were all clean to leave tomorrow. I know how to roll.
I then went to Ross dress for less, to buy something warm, my friend, in San Francisco says it’s 17° and she’s wearing a coat at the minute, and I have brought nothing of any substance in the warmer wardrobe stakes.
In the afternoon, we had another wander down the strip, I have enjoyed watching the Bellaggio fountains and we did a bit of souvenir shopping. Then for our last night, we had dinner at Bubba Gumps, one of our favourites and I had Shrimpers heaven.
Also had a couple of Hurricane Jennys meaning the bill came to over $200 with tip.
We then watched the fountains to Viva Las Vegas and Your Song - a fitting end to our stay.

I don’t think I’ll return to this adults playground but I can see the appeal and had a little tear in my eye saying goodbye.
Up early tomorrow to leave for the Grand Canyon…

Edited at 06:11 AM.
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Old 24 Jul 23, 08:15 PM  
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6 Aug San Luis Obisbo

First thing today we did the 17 mile drive around Pebble Beach. Unfortunately the weather was very overcast and some of the sights were not as good as they could have been.

Then we drove to San Luis Obispo to break up the journey to LA. I had booked one night at the Madonna Inn and I’m so glad I did. What a wonderful hotel this is - so unique and quirky. It’s not cheap but I’d managed to get a night for £172 (+resort fee) using the defence discount card.
If you’re in the area it’s definitely worth a stay - I did think it would have been nice to do two nights…
Our room was the Imperial family- each room has a different theme- one super king and a double a divided off room.


There’s a lovely pool and cakes in the bakery are to die for - forgot a picture so nabbed one online.


Tom was tired so Chas and I went to the town for a wander. We saw the famous “Bubblegum Alley” which is probably the most revolting thing I’ve seen in a while (couldn’t help pulling a face!)but had scores of tourists buzzing around!


We had a quick dip and then a cheap dinner in IHOP just next door - we’re easy to please and it was pretty good for the money.
I bought a sneaky bottle of rum in town and had a couple or rum n lemons in the room…

Edited at 05:13 AM.
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Old 24 Jul 23, 08:15 PM  
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Join Date: May 11
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7 aug Los Angeles

Today we left San Luis Obispo and made our way south to Los Angeles. Chas was a bit nervous about this drive, especially within the city as we know how busy it is. We stopped at a McDonald’s about 2/3 of the way there, it was actually rather good, and cheapest meal yet at $30 for all three of us. Fortunately the hotel I chose, the Adler, was almost directly of the south one oh one, and it actually turned out to be very simple.
When we got to the hotel, we were greeted by an exceptionally friendly member of staff, who had the news for us that our room, although newly renovated, was lacking some furnishings which had been late being delivered! He assured us that we had all the basics and was giving us a 25% reduction and a free breakfast in the adjoining diner. Being the budget travellers we are, we accepted this. I was a bit nervous as we entered the room, but actually it was fine. Very spacious and literally brand-new no one had ever been in it before. Big 60 inch TV with movie channels, massive bathroom, and lots of space. However, it was lacking drawer space and closet space. this didn’t really bother us as we are quite used to living out of suitcases anyway and the reduction means our food will be largely free now in LA.

We unpacked, and then made our way to Hollywood Boulevard, about 5–10 minute walk. The hotel staff told us that the area was relatively safe as there are plenty of bars and restaurants around meaning lots of people. We did pass some homeless tents on the way in an underpass, but couldn’t see any activity there. We are right by the Capital Records building and Hollywood Towers that looks like a model for the Tower of Terror!

We walked up Hollywood Boulevard until our feet got sore and then walked back down the other side, taking pictures of the stars on the pavement when we found ones we liked! They’re all rather dirty though and need a good polish!

Following the McDonald’s, we weren’t very hungry so we stopped in a CVS to get some Chips and dips, and then I might have got some more juice to go with my rum. We were all pretty tired by then so we relaxed with a movie in the room.

Edited at 06:40 PM.
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Old 24 Jul 23, 08:16 PM  
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8 aug LA

We started our day by having our complimentary breakfast at Clarks Diner which is attached to the Adler. Bacon, eggs, hash browns and fluffy pancakes. A good start to the day.
We had decided to take an Uber to the Griffith Observatory rather than drive, is was only $12 and therefore a round trip not much more than the parking fee of $15 without the stress of driving.

It was quite busy there (no entry fee) but we went the opposite way to the crowds arriving and it was much quieter. There is a planetarium there which is $10 which we didn’t bother with. If you’re into astronomy this is the place to go, fascinating.
If you’re not into astronomy it’s still worth a visit- great building and views from the top of the whole of LA including the Hollywood sign.

If you go later in the dark they show a live telescope image of the moon.
We did a bit of shopping and then a swim in the hotel pool plus I did all the washing (again!)

We had ticket’s booked at the Pantages theatre for the evening. We nipped down the Boulevard and found a cute little Chinese bistro, I had a beef and cabbage stewpot (much nicer than it sounds), Chas had kung po chicken and Tom had shrimp noodles. Plus a tray of dumplings.
We all thought it was really good. Bill was $72 plus tip.
Then onto the theatre to see Les Miserables. I surprised Tom with this, and I think it’s safe to say he won’t rush back to see it again. It was brilliant though, great cast especially the kids in it.

Edited at 06:42 PM.
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Old 24 Jul 23, 08:16 PM  
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Join Date: May 11
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9 aug LA

We had a slow start today and a cheap lunch at Taco Bell- two value boxes and two chicken burritos with drinks came to $21.
Yesterday I booked a discounted tour of Hollywood over Groupon for $24 each. Wasn’t really sure what to expect but it was surprisingly fun. There were about 9 of us in a transit sized bus. The tour began on Hollywood boulevard and took us from Mulholland Drive, up the hills, around Beverley hills and Rodeo Drive. We had lots of celebrity houses pointed out and general trivia.
It was a full two hours so I thought for the price paid it was good value. Also saw lots of mad driving by racers in very expensive cars!
We didn’t do much else today other than a swim and movie night.

Edited at 06:32 AM.
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