A Travellerspoint blog

San Diego

More surfing and some shopping. Diane's 33rd birthday!

sunny 20 °C
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We arrived in San Diego after a long drive, hitting LA traffic on the way down.

The hostel was not really for us, but we were committed to 2 nights. The only good thing was the Australian couple in our room. San Diego as a city was a bit strange. There was an old town which was just aimed at tourists. We had a quick look then left. We headed into downtown, the Gaslamp district for a birthday lunch which was nice but soon got bored.

We then followed a recommendation of an outlet near the Mexican border. We got some clothes for really cheap prices. So I got some retail therapy on my birthday. We were so full after the huge lunch that we didn't want any tea, so we had some birthday drinks then went to bed.

The next day, the weather was awful when we got up. We checked into a different hostel that was much better and headed to check out some beaches. The weather suddenly improved, and we headed to Pacific beach where Mark rented a board and suit and went surfing. He managed to sand and ride a wave for the first time.

After this victory we headed back to the hostel for food, and a chat with some of the other people.

On our second day we headed to Point Loma to see the monument there and an old lighthouse, which was pretty. We tried to get into Balboa Park, but couldn't get car parking. So we headed back to Pacific Beach.

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I joined Mark in the water (bodyboarding for me though). We had a great time. The waves were quite fierce and it was tiring, but we had a blast. Exercising without knowing your exercising. It should be the worlds best sport.
It's really tiring so we had a relaxing evening at the hostel, ready for our drive back towards LA the next day.

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Posted by blytonrtw 12:10 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Santa Barbara

A watered down Beverly Hills!

sunny -28 °C
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Santa Barbara was a real delight. The hostel was in a good location. We met some nice people and Mark went surfing for the first time on Leadbetter beach. Whoa! radical dude. I was catching some tubes riding those breaks man, awesome! Sorry, drifted off there, more like getting the seaweed out of my mouth from wiping out so much!! The weather was great until the last day. We had a nice Mexican meal, and the second night disgusting pasta pots that were cheap for a reason.

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The city is really pretty, in a Spanish Style. There are people with lots of money there too. We saw a row of cars drive past; two Aston Martins, two Ferarris and a Lamborghini amongst others.

We headed out one night for a few drinks with an Australian guy called Patrick. We ended up in a Karaoke bar. Mark was straight in there and got up to sing. I have evidence of this performance, which I am threatening to post on here!

On our last day we headed around town to see some of the old builings, such as the 18th century mission (you've got to do some culture!).
We then set off for San Diego and hopefully some better surf dude.

Posted by blytonrtw 12:02 Archived in USA Comments (3)

San Luis Opispo and Monterey

Don't drive down Highway One in the rain and dark!

all seasons in one day -25 °C
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We stopped off at Monterey on the way down the coast. We spend a few hours in the aquarium which was really good. Mark loved the jellyfish exhibit. You'll see why when the photos appear. There was also a huge tank with tuna and sharks and the ugliest fish we'd ever seen. The Sunfish, huge and UGLY!

We had to tear ourselves away, but we had a drive down highway one to look forward to. We took the 17 miles drive past some famous views first but were a bit disappointed as the weather started to change. If I say it was a typical English rainy, winters day, you should get the picture.

Then it got scarey! The drive Mark had been really looking forward to, with impressive views was horrendous. We had fog, rain, and then on top it got dark. Visibility diminished, which is not good when there are falling rocks one side, and sheer cliffs on the other! Forget white knuckle rides or Alton Towers. This was scary!! Somehow Mark got us to San Luis Obispo in one piece.

We had a bit to eat and then went to bed, exhausted by the drive.

We woke up to great weather the next day. We made the decision to drive aprt way back up, so we could see the views properly and get the roof down. It was really worth it. We were rockin' it down that Highway 1 coast with the top down, listening to the classic rock station on the radio, Eagles, Led Zep, The Doors, The Beatles & Stones, perfect. We saw great views, a elephant seal colony on a beach and lots more.

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We then were satisfied after an extra 175 miles extra and then made our way down to Santa Barbara.

Posted by blytonrtw 11:52 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Santa Cruz (The Original Surf City)

Surfing, parking tickets and curfews. Aren't we a bit old for this?

semi-overcast 18 °C
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We drove from Yosemite to Santa Cruz, a bit of a boring drive and arrived too early to check into the hostel. They had a stupid lock out from the hostel between 11am-5pm. So we parked, put money in the meter and walked onto the pier and fill an hour until check in. It was fresh but sunny, and seemed a nice place. We headed back to the car, in what we thought was OK time, to find a parking ticket on the car. The meter must have just run out, and the parking guy was there at the wrong time. This didn't give us the best start ($25 fee to pay, 13 pounds!).

We headed to the hostel and checked in, made some food and them went out with some other English people for a beer. Not for long though there was a strict 11pm curfew. You were locked out if you did not get back in time.

Day two
After a good nights sleep we headed downtown, to try and pay the parking fine. The office was closed, how annoying.
So we had a drink at an internet cafe and then headed to the lighthouse where there was a Pro surfing contest on.

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The waves weren't great but they put on an impressive show anyway. It was great watching them, and Mark won a raffle for some goodies so it was a good afternoon. Watching pro surfers on a sunny day really gets you feeling like you've hit the Californian West Coast.
We also had a look in the museum of surfing which took you through the development of the sport, from handmade wooden boards to present day.

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After this we headed to a beach where the sea has carved natural bridges in the cliff. There was also a grove where Monarch butterflies were migrating to for the winter. There were butterflies everywhere, hanging in the trees.

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The day didn't continue in the same vein, we got stuck with three annoying guys in our dorm, who ingored the rules, were noisy & drunk. The snoring from one of them nearly drove us crazy!
As peak season had been and gone from Santa Cruz the Cool and Crazy people had gone, we were just left with the crazies! We weren't sad to leave the next day.

Posted by blytonrtw 11:36 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Yosemite National Park

sunny 18 °C
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We arrived in at the Bug hostel in good time, after a 3.5 hour drive. It was a basic byt cheap hostel, 20 miles from the Park. We just spent our first evening doing Laundry as we were getting a bit short on essential items.

Day two
On our second day we headed into the park, which is a bit of a drive. We got some recommendations of walks from the visitor centre and headed off. Unfortunately Yosemite Falls is as dry as a bone at this time of year so we didn't get the spectacular views that are possible at some times of the year. We had a walk around a lower trail and came across a meadow with great views of the mountains, so we ate lunch there.

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After a confusing ride on the internal bus which loops around the same area a few times, we headed to the Muir trail.
This takes you up to a waterfall that again was not a full force but was still impressive. The sun catches the spray and creates a constant rainbow across the waterfall. It took us all afternoon to get up and down, but was worth it.
We got back to the hostel fairly late on so we ate, chilled for a bit and then hit the hay.

Day Three
We decided to head out to Mariposa Grove, to see the BIG redwood trees today. We picked up a couple staying in our room on the way who joined us for the long drive.
On part of the way we hit a controlled fire, which they do to strangely enough keep the larger trees healthy. The smoke was so thick you had to be escorted through by a ranger truck with flashing lights.

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We eventually reached the grove and set out on a trail to see the huge trees. They are big, but apparently nothing compared to those in Sequoia National Park. There was one that you could walk though, this brought home how enormous they are.

We followed the trail to try and find a fallen tree that was bigger, that cars used to drive through. However, someone must have been messing with the signs because we went on huge long trail. We came across a sign saying car park 0.7 miles. So we followed it, and followed it, and then started to think this must be more than a mile by now.
We had no choice but to keep going thinking we'll come across it soon winding up and down the paths.
Eventually, after what must have been over an hour and a half we came to a road. No signs, nothing.
In the end we had to flag down a couple in a car to get a lift back to the car park!
It turned out we had walked about 4 miles, and the trail was heading us further away. What a nightmare! We were tired and hungry and not best pleased.

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We eventually got lunch. Dropped Alex and Kat off in the main area, took a few photos and headed to Glacier point to get view over the half dome, and valley below. We just made it in time for sunset. It was a great view, but soon started to turn really cold. So we started back, looking forward to a meal at the hostel as we'd been eating Pasta and sauce, or rice for the last few days.

However it was not to be. A trailer had got stuck on the bridge we needed to get out on. So we ended up having a pizza whilst waiting for the road to be cleared. We eventually got back at 21:45, and went to bed. Not the most successful of days in terms of planning, but some of the sights were impressive.

Posted by blytonrtw 11:13 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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