USA Road Trip – Day 14 – Home Time

Our final day in San Francisco and our final day of the road trip!

We all woke up feeling a bit hungover and also sad that it was our final day. The past 2 weeks had flown by but also felt like we had been away months as we had visited so many different places and experienced so much.

We decided to start the day at Taylor Street Coffee Shop. This place has rave reviews online and seemed the place to go for breakfast. It’s tiny and we had to wait for a table but the food was delicious, more English breakfast and omelettes rather than the American traditions such as pancakes but would definitely recommend if you are in the area and need a place for quick food.

From here we had to head back to the hotel to pack up and check out, always the worst trying to squeeze everything back into your suitcases! Thankfully the hotel looked after our luggage for us so we could have one last walk around before heading to the airport.

We all decided to pop back to the shops just in case we had forgotten something or found a last minute deal. We also did the touristy thing and posed with the cable cars! Then finally we popped to a sushi restaurant for lunch where the food was so good and such good value!

Then it was sadly time to get a cab to the airport ready for our 11 hour flight back home to London.

It had been the absolute best 2 weeks away and I would love to do another USA road trip in the future – The Deep South, North California and East Coast are definitely on my bucket list!

Love, Chloe xxx

USA Road Trip – Day 13 – San Francisco has us now!

We woke up from a well deserved lie in and decided to eat breakfast/brunch at the little café next door to the hotel, American pancakes with all the syrup are the best!

Originally our plan was to hire bikes and ride over the Golden Gate Bridge, but unfortunately the weather had other ideas – cold, wet and grey. Not really the weather for bike riding or taking in the views. We were also pretty tired from late nights and busy days so we decided to take the day at our leisure.

After brunch the boys decided they wanted to check out the gym and pool at the hotel, so Megs and I took this as the perfect opportunity to go shopping! Our hotel was walking distance to Westfield Mall so it would have been rude not to take a look!

I don’t know what it is about American Malls or Outlets but they are just so much better than anything the UK has to offer plus everything is so much cheaper! This mall was huge with every shop imaginable. Of course I spent most of my time in Bath and Body Works (Seriously when will they open one in the UK?!) We could have easily spent all day there but we had to get back so we could find something fun to do all together for the rest of the day.

We met Matt & Fraser and decided to get a taxi to Fishermans Wharf. Along the bay From Pier 39, you still get a view of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge however this area of San Francisco felt very touristy and like a British seaside town (not that there is anything wrong with that!)

We looked around the souvenir shops and then found Musée Mécanique – a small museum filled with antique arcade games and quirky artefacts. It was a bit creepy but also fun to play the old games and try to beat each other at the racing games.

Even though the weather wasn’t the best we decided to walk from Fishermans Wharf to Lombard Street – the famous steep road with 8 hairpin turns! I thought it was one of those things you should see and get a nice photo of. Unfortunately as we were there in March it wasn’t in full bloom like I had seen in pictures, instead it was super busy and pretty hard to walk to – just working off those pancakes! But still look at this road and imagine living on it!

As we hadn’t done enough walking for the day haha, we then decided to walk back to the wharf and then all along the marina to the yacht club. We thought there may have been a nice place to stop for a drink or something but we couldn’t find anything. By this point it was super windy and cold and we just needed somewhere to rest our legs and have a bite to eat and some drinks, so we took to trusty google maps and walked inland towards The Tipsy Pig.

The Tipsy Pig was just what we needed, a modern but homely bar/restaurant and we seemed to be the only ones there, well I guess it was 4pm on a Wednesday! We were a little peckish so decided to order some snacks to share – Macaroni Cheese, Cheese & onion biscuits (like scones) with dips and of course fried shrimp – it was all so delicious! We also had a round of cocktails.

We said we were only going to stop for a break, a drink and a snack, but as it was so welcoming and all so delicious and I had bought a pack of cards with me (always prepared) we ended up staying for hours. Sampling even more cocktails and playing card games. What holidays (vacations) are all about!

Before we knew it, it was gone 8pm and dark! So we decided to get a taxi back to the Sports Bar we went to on our first night. We befriended some American guys and spent the evening playing shuffleboard against them and drinking even more cocktails!

A great spontaneous day, Love Chloe xxx

USA Road Trip – Day 12 – Alcatraz, Seafood & Basketball

We had to get up super early for our first full day in San Fran, as we had booked tickets for the first boat over to Alcatraz Island, so we needed to be at the marina for 8.30am! Thank goodness for cold pizza haha, but we also managed to grab a couple of hot drinks & muffins for the 12 mins boat trip over as it was pretty chilly at that time of the morning!

We were the first group of the day on Alcatraz Island and it was so nice to experience it all when it was relatively empty and quiet. As the longer we stayed, the more people that joined (as I think the boats bought people over roughly every half an hour) so I would definitely recommend visiting early in the morning as the island and prison are pretty small so it starts to feel quite cramped by lunchtime. Also book your tickets way in advance as they do sell out!

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We did an audio tour of the prison and it was so interesting but a bit creepy! We also met a former Alcatraz prisoner, William Baker which was really exciting as there are only 2 Alcatraz Prisoners left as the prison closed in the 1960’s. So he had lots of stories to tell!

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We got the boat back to San Fran around 12.45pm and then walked to Pier 39 which is quite famous as it has lots of shops and restaurants and also seals lay on the deck there so everyone goes to see them, they were pretty cute!

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We had lunch reservations at Fog Harbour Fish House and the food was absolutely amazing, I think we tried most things on the menu and the chowder was so delicious! We also had a great view of Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.

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After lunch we mooched around the local shops and enjoyed the weather as it was really sunny but not as hot as the previous places we had visited. We then went back to our hotel and chilled for a bit, well Matt and I had a nap haha.

That evening we got a taxi to a place called Oakland which is over the bridge from San Fran as we had tickets to a Golden State Warriors basketball match. This was such a fun evening as its quite a fast game and there is always something going on like music and cheerleaders etc, so we all had a really good time, watching the game, drinking and dancing.

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We finally got back to the hotel about midnight! A long but amazing full day in San Francisco.

Love Chloe xxx

USA Road Trip – Day 11 – San Francisco

It was a bittersweet moment waking up on Monday morning. We were excited to fly to San Francisco and enjoy yet another new place, however we were sad at 1. giving the car back as it had been so much fun driving around and exploring hidden places and 2. It was the last stop of our trip and we felt like our time had just flown by!

I loved staying at The Garland hotel it felt like you were a million World’s away from the craziness of Hollywood even though you were only 10 minutes away and I really wish we could have stayed longer. I think if I were to ever come back to LA I would only want to stay here. We packed up, ate one last breakfast, said goodbye to the pool area and made our way to the car hire shop to begrudgingly give the car back.

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From the car hire building we got on a shuttle bus to the airport. The traffic was crazy (LA traffic is constantly crazy!) and we must of crawled for about an hour to get to our terminal building, I honestly think we could have walked faster! and then once we were finally through and into the terminal building our flight was delayed! Not a great start to our final location however it just adds to the adventure! Or so they say 😉

Luckily the flight from LA to San Francisco is only 50 minutes so by the time we took off it felt like we were ready to land again and I was starting to feel excited about our final adventure.

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We would have loved to have driven this final part of the journey and I know many people who have done this and said it’s amazing but unfortunately we just didn’t have the time. If we were to ever do something like this again I would definitely love to drive this part and explore more of Northern California.

Once we had landed in San Fran, we jumped in a cab to our Hotel – Handlery Union Square which is right in the centre of the city. It was weird to be surrounded by high rise buildings and be back in the craziness of the city when we had spent the last week surrounded by beaches and feeling pretty chilled out.

The hotel was in a perfect location though as we could walk to all the shops and restaurants, so after we had checked in and checked out our rooms we decided to go for a little wander and check out our new neighbourhood.

We ended up in a place called Tap Rooms, a really cool American Sports bar, with all the beers you could imagine and all the American games ready to play such as foosball and shuffleboard. The walls were covered in screens showing all of the sports imaginable. The boys were very happy and myself and Megs enjoyed relaxing over a few drinks. Then we decided to try and beat the boys at shuffleboard!

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We were having so much fun that we hadn’t even noticed the time but the boys were telling us it was time for dinner. Megs and Fraser decided that they fancied sushi and Matt and I fancied pizza, so after numerous meals together we decided to go our separate ways and after having a quick look on google Matt found that Tony’s Pizzas was the place to go.

We jumped in a cab and made our way to Tony’s where we were greeted with a bit of a queue , a queue that went out onto the pavement! It seemed like it was a pretty popular place and we were told that it would be roughly a 45 minute wait but that we could visit the surrounding bars and they would text us when our table was ready. We were happy with that and popped across the road to a bar for a few drinks. It was quite nice to have a bit of a date night just the 2 of us and explore our new surroundings.

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Back at Tony’s we were seated in a cosy corner of the restaurant and couldn’t help but look at all the awards which the chefs had won and the celebrities which had visited, it seemed like we had chosen the right place to go for pizza!

The menu is pretty big but they only make a certain amount of each pizza a day. So the original pizza I chose had already sold out but the waitress happily helped me pick another one and I wasn’t disappointed. I can’t remember the exact pizzas we chose but mine had crispy kale on top which was delicious! The pizzas were so huge though that we couldn’t finish them so we took them back to the hotel in take away boxes. I love that about America how you can get anything boxed up to take away.

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A fun first night in a new city and ready for more adventures tomorrow!

Love Chloe xxx

USA Road Trip – Day 9 – Hollywood!

It was so nice to have a lie in, in a large, cosy, comfy bed after the last few uncomfy nights in San Diego (those beds were the worst!) The boys had gotten up early to watch the rugby on their i pads by the pool area and Megs had gone for an early morning dip (I’m the lazy one!) so I joined them a little later on for breakfast. Nutella Stuffed French Toast. Amazing!

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The boys engrossed in the rugby!

Over breakfast we decided what to do with our day. Should we go to Universal Studios, visit the sites of Hollywood, visit more beaches? The list was pretty endless. But eventually we decided we would drive down to Hollywood Boulevard to see the sights and then drive onto Santa Monica as the weather was so amazing we had to make the most of it.

We hadn’t realised how close we were to Hollywood Boulevard, just a 10 minute drive down the hill from our hotel and straight into a multi storey carpark very easy.

It was a Saturday morning in Hollywood which meant it was super busy. We made our way along the walk of fame but we couldn’t see all the stars as 1. There are so many of them it would have taken the whole day to see them all and 2. There were lots of people trying to see the stars/take pictures etc, plus it was super super hot. Also something a little strange and what some people may find a little full on or overwhelming is that so many people try to sell you their CD, or were handing out their resumes and headshots. Sometimes literally trying to shove them into your hand. It’s mad how people think you could be someone to help them make it big!

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We managed to get a few photos and then decided to head over to the Chinese Theatre and see the hand/foot prints.

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To be honest we didn’t think much of the Hollywood Boulevard area, it’s pretty run down and with the heat and constant array of people trying to sell you their soul we decided to call it a day after just over an hour.

On our way back to the car park we managed to get a good view of the Hollywood sign and also popped into a few shops.

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Back in the car we were looking forward to spending the rest of the day chilling on the beach in Santa Monica. However the traffic was awful and the closer we were getting to the beach the foggier it became.

By the time we made it to Santa Monica and parked up we couldn’t believe how cold and misty it was and how different the weather was back in Hollywood! You could feel the sea mist on you and it looked really eery, but that didn’t put us off, we still went for a walk along the pier, checked out some of the funfair rides and had a mooch around the stalls selling local wares.

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How crazy is this sea mist/fog?!

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Where’s the sea gone?

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Feeling a bit chilly and peckish we decided to head in from the beach and walked along the main high street. There were plenty of food places to choose from however being a Saturday most were only offering brunch or some had stopped food until the evening and seeing as it was afternoon and we had had breakfast we were really looking for something a bit more substantial. Hello Cheesecake Factory.

This restaurant was huge. Matt and I have visited cheesecake Factories before in America and Dubai but this was Megs and Frasers first time. Matt decided to order a couple of starters as a main as he wasn’t feeling that hungry but we couldn’t stop laughing when we saw how much arrived for him! Megs and I went for Buffalo chicken and fries and Fraser went for a burger. I ate as much buffalo chicken on this trip as I could as its my absolute favourite and I’m yet to find anywhere in the UK that tastes the same as America.

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Matt and his light bites haha

After dinner we decided that we had had enough of the cold misty weather and would head back to the hotel for a bit to chill, swim and have time to get ready before the evenings activities. But first we had to buy some cheesecake to take away! You can’t go to the cheesecake factory and not sample the cheesecake. The Oreo one is always my favourite!

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leaving the fog behind!

We were a bit disappointed with the weird weather and it was a shame we didn’t get to experience Santa Monica properly, however back at the hotel the sun was still shining and it was boiling hot. So we went for a dip in the pool and enjoyed a couple of drinks in the hot tub.

Later that evening it was Megs turn to surprise us all with her planned activity and she had booked something fun. A table at No Vacancy in the centre of Hollywood.

Pulling up in the taxi we had no idea what to expect, it was like something from a horror film when we arrived. No street lights, no people, just an old creepy looking hotel, with a no vacancy sign swinging in the breeze.

We walked up to the front of the building and there was a man sitting on a rocking chair on the porch. I think we were all thinking Megs where have you brought us? However he was super friendly, checked our names were on the list and then we waited a couple of minutes for a friendly hostess to take us into the club, or that’s what we thought she was doing. Instead she gave us a few instructions on the show times, not to take too many photos and how when we entered we had to chose from 1 of 3 doors to go through. Interesting…She left us and said she would meet us by the bar area.

So we stepped inside the building and were greeted with 3 doors, we went for door number 3. We gave it a little push and ended up in another room (a bedroom) with a very beautiful woman, dressed in lingerie, laying on the bed. She explained the rules again to us, asked if we were ready for a good night and then pulled a lever which moved the bed she was on backwards to reveal a secret staircase which we were then told to go down.

This lead us to the main bar area which was designed in a sort of burlesque/speakeasy type way. It was all very surreal but was really amazing. We met back with our original hostess who then took us to our table, which was located outside in the little courtyard area which was decorated with fairylights.

It was a lovely, warm Saturday evening and we couldn’t wait to see what the night had in store. We ordered a bottle of vodka with mixers and took in our surroundings, it was quite a small venue but there was something interesting around every corner with a real mixed bunch of people.

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At 11pm the show began first with a tightrope walker above our heads and then the burlesque show on the main stage.

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We had such a fun evening and when we called it a night we had to leave out of the back door, where we ended up back on Hollywood Boulevard which was surreal as we honestly felt like we were in our own little bubble in the middle of nowhere all evening.

If you are after a fun night out in LA I would definitely recommend No Vacancy, just make sure you book in advance!

Love, Chloe xx

 

USA Road Trip – Day 8 – LA Beaches!

A mix of emotions again leaving another amazing place and San Diego we will be back! However we were excited to get back on the road, in the Wagon and drive on to the next location and this time it was Los Angeles.

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Megs in the wagon!

Megs decided she was ready to take the wheel and after a quick lap of the car park we were on our way to Laguna Beach. I used to love MTV’s Laguna Beach so even though this was about 10 years later!! I was excited to check out the beach where so much drama happened.

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Hello Los Angeles!

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Boys in the back with all the snacks!

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Megs behind the wheel

Laguna Beach was beautiful but very small and not what I imagined at all. A small little town on the cliff top overlooking the beach, filled with quirky little boutiques and coffee shops it was cute and pretty. But I honestly thought it would be a lot bigger.

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Check out this house! We eventually found the car park, after a bit of a scary 50 point turn on this driveway (sorry about that!) but we took a moment to check out the sea views.

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I guess we came a little out of season as the beach café wasn’t open so we jumped back in the car and with me behind the wheel, we drove onto our next stop…Huntington Beach.

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Just call me LC

The drive along the Pacific Coast Highway is amazing. All the way along the West Coast, passing beach after beach and view after view.

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I loved seeing all the different spots and then finally we arrived at Huntington. A huge difference to the quaint Laguna. Huntington was big! Sand which went as far as the eye could see, a long pier lined with stalls and small shops with a restaurant/diner at the end and then a main high street with bars, restaurants, shops and cafes. It was a typical American beach filled with surfers, skateboarders and people playing volleyball.

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We went for a wander along the pier and along the beachfront. Finally settling on BLK Earth Sea Spirits for lunch. This was the perfect spot and we sat outside on the balcony over looking the sea and soaking up the sunshine. I also think this was the healthiest lunch we had all trip, salads and juices all round we knew we were in LA! The food and view were amazing, would definitely recommend!

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Look at this view!

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Refuelled and rested it was time for Fraser to drive us to our final beach of the day…Manhattan Beach. Matt’s university friend Phil, his wife Jess and their baby Greyson live here, so we decided to pop in and say hello, check out their gorgeous home and then we all headed down to the beachfront just before sunset.

We walked along yet another pier this one a little smaller but still just as pretty as the others, watched all the yummy mummies jogging with their babies and then finally found a little bar with a view of the beach, to have a proper catch up over a glass of vino or two (sorry Matt having to drive the final stretch to our hotel!) – Also sorry I didn’t seem to take any photos here, clearly too busy catching up!

As night fell, Phil and Jess had to get back to put Greyson to bed and we decided it was time to make a move and head to our hotel. Phil had already warned us about the traffic and how even though our hotel was only just over 20 miles away it would most likely take us a couple of hours to get there!

We were very grateful to Matt for driving us in the dark, with the crazy LA drivers, in lots of traffic but we finally made it to The Garland just after 8pm.

The hotel was so pretty, it had a retro modern theme, and the staff were super friendly and helpful, we checked in so quickly, dropped all our luggage into our beautiful rooms and then made our way down to the The Front Yard restaurant. Passing the stunning outdoor pool area which was covered in fairy lights and had a projector screen showing the film Matilda which people were watching from the pool, very cool!

The restaurant was packed and we were very lucky to get a table on a Friday night without booking, but the staff were so lovely and helpful. Turned out the majority of them are aspiring actors and actresses so Hollywood! We ate some delicious flatbreads and pastas and then shared a couple of desserts between us.

We ended the night under the stars by the pool, drinking wine and taking in our new, beautiful surroundings.

Love, Chloe xx

USA Road Trip – Day 7 – Tigers, Tides & Taco’s!

Bright eyed and bushy tailed, San Diego had us ready to go for another day of adventures. So after breakfast we packed up the car and headed straight to San Diego Zoo.

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This was definitely the hottest day of our entire trip, as you can see there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and we were sweating by 10am! Not that we were complaining as it was lovely to feel hot weather at the beginning of March, a bit different to England!

The zoo was already very busy when we arrived and it is also very big.

We started off in Center Street and made our way up the path, seeing all the different bears along the way. I love bears and would love to visit Canada to see them in the wild.

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From the bears we walked up to Park Way, which takes you to Panda Canyon and the Panda Trek. Pandas are adorable and it was amazing to see so many of these beautiful animals, however just walking up a hill for almost an hour, caused us to melt, so we decided to get ice creams and jumped on the guided bus tour.

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This is a 35 minute tour of the zoo where you get to see the majority of the animals. This worked better for us as we didn’t want to spend all day at the zoo, plus we managed to get seats on the open top deck, so got to enjoy the sunshine, with a cool breeze and see all the animals in action.

After the bus tour we decided there were a couple of areas we wanted to visit up close, first up the giraffes which are Meg’s favourite animals and then to the monkeys and gorillas.

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We then joined the queue for the Skyfari which is a cable car which goes over the complete zoo, it’s a novel experience but you don’t really get to see many of the animals from up there!

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A quick look around the gift shop and we decided it was time to head to the beach to cool off as it was just too hot to continue walking around the zoo all day and we had seen everything we had wanted to.

On our drive to the beach, we stopped off in Coronado town and grabbed some sandwiches from a local shop and popped into a mini supermarket for some drinks and snacks. When we arrived at the beach, we set up just like we did the day before, ate our snacks and then spent the rest of the afternoon sunbathing, playing games and attempting a dip in the sea but the water was cold!

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Just before sunset we decided to head back to the bar area at Hotel del Coronado, ordered some drinks and got ready to watch the sunset one last time. I honestly could never get tired of these views and the sunset.

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We decided that as it was our last night in San Diego we had to go to a Mexican restaurant for dinner, as we had heard that the local Mexican food was amazing. We looked up a few options but as I had had a few wines by this point I didn’t note the name of the place we ended up at (apologies!) however I can tell you that it was a very popular spot back in the city and you couldn’t book a table so we did find ourselves in a small queue, but it was worth the wait as the food was delicious, as were the cocktails!

We were sad that it was our last night in San Diego as we had really enjoyed the relaxed beach vibe and beautiful weather but we were very excited for our next adventure to begin in the morning…

Love Chloe xx

USA Road Trip – Day 6 – A Top Gun Kind of Day…

We awoke to beautiful sunshine and headed down for breakfast inside the hotel. The food was average but we couldn’t complain as it was free! Plus the portions were huge! I had pancakes with berries and the others had the full American.

Over breakfast we discussed what we wanted to do with the day. We had researched a few things we wanted to do in San Diego, however we had no set plan on what days we should do what and after quite a full on time in Vegas, we were hoping to fit in some relaxation at the beaches at some point too.

If you read my Vegas posts you will know our plan regarding 4 places, 4 names picked out of a hat, surprise the group with something. Well I had chosen San Diego. So I decided to put my plans into action. After breakfast we jumped into the wagon and drove down to the Harbour, as our first stop of the day was the USS Midway Museum.

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Now you may think that what I chose as the surprise sounds a bit boring, but actually the main reason I had chosen it was due to it being linked to Top Gun and who doesn’t love Top Gun? It’s one of Matt and I’s favourites!

Whilst researching San Diego back at home I quickly found out that 90% of Top Gun was filmed in the area so I thought it would be fun to visit some of the locations (if we could find them!) I’m still shocked that they don’t do a Top Gun mini bus tour or something to take fans around to all the locations, seriously why hasn’t anyone thought of this?! But I digress back to the ship…

”USS Midway was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class. She was the largest ship in the world until 1955. She operated for 47 years, during which time she saw action in the Vietnam War and served as the Persian Gulf flagship in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm. Decommissioned in 1992, she is now a museum ship at the USS Midway Museum, in San Diego.”

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Look at this view from the top of the ship – beautiful!

We spent a couple of hours on the ship, exploring every room and taking in all the stories. Matt and Megs even rode in a fighter jet flight simulator but mine and Fraser’s stomach’s never would have handled it!

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Not wanting to miss anymore of the sunshine, we decided to take a stroll along the harbour, which was so beautiful and picturesque taking a look at the Unconditional Surrender statue along the way.
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We popped into The Fish Market Restaurant for a drink and a cool down. It was such a lovely place and the food, especially the freshly caught seafood looked amazing however I had other ideas for our lunch spot…

Kansas City BBQ A Top Gun location with the added bonus of delicious BBQ food and sunshine.

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A couple of the iconic scenes from the film were shot here, including the Great Balls of Fire Piano and the Jukebox.

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The place was filled with memorabilia however it still had a locals vibe. After looking around inside we decided to eat outside as we wanted to enjoy the incredible weather whilst eating our delicious food.

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There were a few other locations from the film I would have liked to have found however they were quite a way from where we were, so we asked our waitress where the best beach was and she told us Coronado, so off we drove (thank goodness for sat nav!) over the bridge to Coronado Beach.

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Oh Em Gee just look at this place!

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It looked like something out of a movie scene. Picture perfect white sand, barely any other visitors, pure bliss.

We found a spot to settle in for the rest of the afternoon and chilled/napped in the sunshine.

Keen to explore a bit more of the surroundings, we walked along the waves towards the Hotel del Coronado, which was stunning.

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We found a table at the outdoor bar area on the balcony, overlooking the beach, ordered a few drinks and just breathed it all in. Oh how we wished we were staying at this hotel and waking up to this view everyday! We’ve already said numerous times that we want to go back and stay there.

The hotel has also been featured in numerous films dating back to the early 1900’s! But the most iconic is Some Like it Hot with Marilyn Monroe.

We played cards and Megs and I drank local wine before making a leisurely stroll back to the parked car, passing all the amazing houses along the way.

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Don’t you think this looks like Gru’s house from Despicable Me?

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After chilling and changing back at the hotel we decided to get a cab into the city for dinner at a little Italian restaurant. We seemed to be the only ones about, not that we were complaining as the food and service were amazing, but it just seemed a bit odd not seeing anyone else around, however what a great first day in San Diego!

Love, Chloe xx

USA Road Trip – Day 5 – Let the Driving Begin…

We all had mixed feelings about leaving Las Vegas. We had had so much fun over the past few days and had managed to fit so much in, that we didn’t really want to leave. However we also couldn’t wait to start the rest of our trip and explore new places.

We had planned on visiting the Aria Buffet for breakfast as one last Vegas treat, however the wait time for a table was roughly an hour and we just didn’t have the time to wait for that long. So instead we headed to the Aria Cafe for a quick bite to eat and then said our farewells to the strip, as we got a cab to the hire car building to prepare for the next part of the trip.

The car hire guy was so friendly and helpful and actually upgraded our car to something bigger than originally booked when he noticed how many bags we had and how big our suitcases were! So we ended up with what we called The Wagon, a huge Chevrolet Suburban – typically American and very exciting for our trip ahead.

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Suitcase Tetris! 

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Trusty Sat Nav

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Megs excited for the next adventure 

Ready to hit the road, Matt was the first to drive. Our plan was to drive the 4 hours to Palm Springs for lunch and to explore the area and then continue on the further 3 hour drive to San Diego.

We were told to follow this road for 147 miles!!

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It was so fascinating driving from Las Vegas into the middle of nowhere. We would go miles without seeing a thing apart from a few plants or a dusty track leading to somewhere else and then randomly we would see the odd hotel and we even saw a theme park, which just seemed so crazy as we had no idea who would visit.

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After a couple of hours on the road we stopped in a little town called Barstow, to get petrol and stock up on a few road trip snacks! Then Fraser took over the driving to Palm Springs.

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The views upon arriving in Palm Springs were amazing, palm tree upon palm tree and with a hazy sunshine mist it looked like we had stepped into the 1970’s. It was also really quiet, no one seemed to be about and the streets were empty.

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We had a little look around but nothing seemed to be that busy or open it was actually a little eerie. So we decided to find a place for lunch. We stumbled across a little cafe called The Sandwich Shop which as you can imagine had every style of sandwich imaginable and they were happy for you to mix and match creations and they even had all their own secret sauces.

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I opted for The French Open – Marinated Chicken, Hot Sauce and bleu cheese dressing. My favourite! We decided to sit inside and enjoy our spread, the sandwiches were delicious but huge, I could only manage half of mine!

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I’m unsure if it was just a bit out of season (Coachella was happening a few weeks after we left – if only we had planned better!) or if Palm Springs is just sleepy but it looked beautiful and I wish we had spent longer there or even just stayed for 1 night just to find out what it’s really like when it comes alive.

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The Wagon

I decided to drive to San Diego, I was a little nervous to begin with 1. because I had never driven on the wrong side of the road before and 2. because the car was so huge! I quickly got used to it though and we were soon making our way through little towns, watching the ever changing views and eventually watching the sun set.

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Tired after over 7 hours on the road, we finally arrived at Hotel Handlery.

We couldn’t wait to be greeted with a friendly smile, a big comfy bed and a nice restaurant to walk to. Unfortunately this wasn’t quite the case. I won’t go into full details but lets just say they couldn’t find us on their booking system, we had to wait around for a long time in the hotel reception and bar area which was very messy and hadn’t been tidied after a large group of people left, when we finally got keys to our rooms – the rooms were not as advertised and the service overall was just poor.

By this point it was almost 9pm, so all 4 of us went back down to reception to ask where we could walk to for dinner, they told us that nothing was in walking distance and that everything pretty much closed at 9pm! Instead of crying we laughed it off and walked over to the bar/restaurant area which was next to the reception area, only to be told that if we wanted food we needed to order it now as the kitchen closed at 9pm and that the bar would be closing shortly after. We couldn’t understand why everything closed so early but rules are rules, so we quickly ordered a few dishes to share along with 2 bottles of wine and a round of vodkas, well it had been a stressful evening after a very long journey!

We found the cleanest table we could, waited for our food and drinks to arrive, played cards and decided to forget about the events of the evening, hoping that things would look a lot better in the morning!

Love, Chloe xx