Leaving Taihiti and the neighbouring islands was a wrench but we’ve got some great plans for the next 6 days so let’s get at ’em
Sunday 4th March
An overnight flight with Tahiti Nui allowed us to sleep a little on the 5 hour flight from Papeete to LA but our first sight on approaching the runway was a bit of a shock to the system given not only our most recent destinations, but all of them for the past 4 months
So much urban sprawl was quite a scary prospect.
Driving down the Pacific coast highway there were some great looking towns, whose residents, judging by the cars, are extremely wealthy. Places like, Long Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Dana point.
Arriving at the Hyatt, we knew we were in safe hands.
Great evening with the Polsons and Amanda Aponte-Edgar had to go and do some work related golf in Palm Springs for a couple Of days-So lovely to be with people who weren’t strangers.
Monday 5th March
Bright and early start at Aviara golf club, on a gorgeous sunny day, around 18 degrees, much less warm than we’d been used to. But beautiful all the same.
Fabulous round of golf on a very pretty course
US competition Sue 1 Gav 0
A journey we thought would take us 40 mins, took us an hour longer, so we had to turn ourselves around pretty quickly to meet up with Tim & Carmen Haslam.
Our hotel – Lowes Coronado- is in a beautiful position between the bay and the Ocean, and is very nice indeed.
Great evening at a down town Coronado restaurant, the Brigantine, catching up with each other’s news from the past year when we last met up.
Tuesday 6th March
As we had our morning ‘At Leisure’ we did just that. Maisie our youngest grandchild has a birthday today, so we facetimed her. She was sooooo excited though with her friends around playing, so we only got a minute of her time, bless her 😘
After this we took the hotel shuttle to downtown Coronado.
Had a wander around, along the beach arriving at the beautiful Del Coronado, we had originally planned to stay here, but a couple of people back home said it was a bit dated, so we changed to Loews. However, we thought The Del, as everyone calls it was delightful. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours over brunch just people watching and admiring the fab location.
It was built in 1888 – old for SD- and is an iconic landmark of the City, but also very famous for the film ‘ Some Like it Hot ‘starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.
Talking of people watching. Gavin thought the guy on the right was David Crosby from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. ?
Leaving here we got an Uber into the City to Tim & Carmen’s office
After a quick look around we left for a spot of sightseeing.
First stop Balboa Park, where TnC were married 3 years ago.
We couldn’t make it at the time so it was great to see the spot outside the Prado where they had the ceremony.
Moving through the fabulous park and the Spanish Mission architecture we saw the botanical garden, the museums, the globe theatre and all the other beautiful buildings. As well as a fascinatingly enormous tree and its roots, and several young girls being photographed in their beautiful dresses celebrating their ‘coming of age’ – Quinceanera
Leaving here we went to the Pacific Beach area to their home for a while before driving out through Ocean Beach to Sunset cliffs.
Masses of people were there all over the rocks to see what promised to be a magnificent sunset, it was until the actual ‘setting’ when the clouds obliterated the sun, but stunning all the same.
Back to Missouri Avenue to drop the car before walking to a local Italian which was v v good.
Wednesday 7th March
Uberring it to Torrey Pines, we left an hour to cope with the potential traffic, and arrived in plenty of time.
Edgar was back from his golf trip, great to see him, as well as Amanda, Mike and Amanda.
It’s a stunning course, set right on the edge of the cliffs, just North of La Jolla ( most people would recognise it pronounced as La Hoya)
Not surprisingly, for such a busy course, the guys had an extra player with them so did the ladies. Oddly both were from Manhattan but obviously didn’t know one another. Jeff, who played with the ladies was a very nice man who had a very young family, a 2yr old & 5 month old twins. He was here a day early for his brothers stag, we all thought his wife was remarkable, letting him come away, but they have 2 day nannies and a night nurse so she’s hardly been left to cope alone!!!
So the golf was extremely challenging, especially the greens that were very tricky to land on then next to impossible to putt on. Amanda P managed it especially well though, as did Gavin who won the day.
So in our little US comp between ourselves it’s 1-1, deciding match at Coronado on Friday.
After a lunch and the de brief over everybody’s best shots, we bid a fond farewell to the Apontes and Poulsons as they headed back to Aviara.
Tim and Carmen came to collect us and it’s such a beautiful setting we decided to share a delicious bottle of Prisoner red wine, Edgar had had it at lunch and it was very coiffable indeed.
Heading into La Jolla, the traffic was atrocious- we found out later that one of the freeways was closed due to a gas leak, hence the terrible delay. This meant that by the time we reached the cove, it was dark so seeing the pelicans and seals was not easy, you might just make out the pelicans
But the seals were pretty hard to distinguish between them and seaweed clumps to be fair
Next stop was a gallery, whose artwork collection was the most fascinating photography. The elements changed according to the lights, which we experienced in a special viewing room.
A very smart cocktail bar called George’s was the next venue that the Haslam tour company had laid on, right across the street from Peter Lik, so why not????
moving on we ate a very unsmart Mexican taco place, standing up in the street – great to mix it all up though !!!!!
Thursday 8th March
The morning was a very leisurely affair. Checking messages Sue found this hilarious one from Tim, the reference to ‘failing to achieve’ is a joke around the sunset not being a brilliant one on Tuesday and not being able to see the Pelicans & seals in the dark last night. If you know Tim you’ll understand how funny this text is. If you don’t know him, believe us, it’s funny
Now that we had our schedule, the first job was re packing our suitcases for tomorrow’s departure 😳 then a perfect stroll around the really pretty downtown Coronado shops to buy wine and flowers for the Haslam’s and one more pressie each for the grandchildren who we can’t wait to see on Sunday 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍
Arriving at Missouri Avenue
Front view of their cute ‘tardis like’ home
Below is the side view, see Tim’s car on the driveway. See what we mean about a tardis 🤣
As we arrived, The smells emanating from the kitchen were divine. If there’s been one slightly disappointing thing about this trip is the food we’ve tasted-with a handful of exceptions.
Tim’s ‘roastie’ was absolutely scrumptious, Rare roast beef, homemade Yorkshire’s, divine roast potatoes and gorgeous veg. Almost the best meal we’d had in 4 months.
Feeling very full, we went for a walk to and along the beach, to relief the full to bursting feeling.
We were rewarded with a fabulous sunset, and a lot of surfing activity. This guy had done his bit, we passed him on our way back home.
Quick turnaround at the house as where we were going required – for men – long trousers and shoes, shorts n flip flops wouldn’t do. Quite a change for us as we’d been in VERY casual dress all over the antipodes.
Gav was the designated driver in our very nice, but last hire car of the trip
Arriving at the venue, it looked quite buzzy from the outside, We were a bit confused as the place had a different name than they’d said??? We walked into the corner of this place, through to what looked like a cellar, Carmen said to Sue, touch those barrels
Taaaa Daaa, they moved and we were were through to the waiting room of The Noble Experiment 🤣🤣🤣
A VERY classy but compact, speak easy, prohibition themed cocktail bar
Gav the driver had mocktails of course, but everyone else enjoyed a couple of very tasty alcoholic cocktails. 🍸🍹🥂
Friday 9th March
The last day of our trip……..😢
We have a V early start for our last game of golf, the venue is Coronado Golf club, only 10 mins away thank goodness, as we’re teeing off at 6.45 am
One of Tim’s staff, David is joining us, he’s a single figure handicapper so hopefully we’ll pick up some tips. When we met him in the office the other day he said Phil Mickleson often plays very early at Coronado so we may see him 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼.
Half an hour after we’d tee’d off the sun was coming up and had reached the top of the trees
Tim and David left us after 9 holes to go to work 👏👏
Tim by that time had scored a very respectable 21, so he was happy to quit while he was ahead, David we assumed, thought he ought to go too 😳
After 18 holes Gavin had won, not only this game but the US leg of the tournament, and ultimately, by being the victor in 2 countries against Sues 1 – he’s definitely the Round the World champion ⛳️🏌🏼♂️🥇🏆👏
Back to the hotel to shower, change, pack, eat lunch and we were on our way.
We decided to leave PLENTY of time to get to LA, as the traffic jams in both SD and LA are legendary.
When we left at 2pm the sat nav said we would do the 130 miles in 2hrs 20 mins, we’ve now been driving for longer than that and we have 1hr 12 mins still to go.
The weather is getting us U.K. ready we think 😜. Crossing the LA county line- and for some while before- the sky is grey and the temp only 16😩
So, we can’t leave the San Diego area without some ‘observations’
TRAFFIC is a bit of a nightmare
There are NO dirty cars
On the Pacific Coast Highway there are an infuriatingly high number of traffic lights – about every half a mile 😩
Fuel is still priced in gallons, at $3.70 it’s only about 58p a ltr
Climate is very similar to the Costa Del Sol at this time of year, but very temperate throughout the year apparently.
Military, mainly the Navy has a huge presence on Coronado. The Seals, the amphibious division and many others.
Apparently it takes about 3 hours to cross back into the US if you go into Mexico, which was only 4 miles down the road from our hotel. Very frustrating as it would have been great to add to our trip. Great excuse to come back though. 😜
It feels like a very safe place to be, we only experienced downtown SD a couple of times but Coronado felt super safe.
Municipal golf courses are abundant. Torrey Pines for example is where they’ve held the US Open, is a municipal course where residents can play for just $40, this one and Coronado, also municipal, were in superb condition. A fantastic facility, no wonder there are sooooo many world class US golfers.
Everywhere we went was in pristine condition, streets, pavements, etc.
It feels to Sue especially, that it’s sooooo like Spain, the buildings, the place names, the flowers etc.
There’s a definite improvement in the quality of food on offer in restaurants, since our last US trip, we had plenty of vegetables and a variety of options.
There’s a mixed opinion, amongst those we asked on the validity of Mr D Trump. Whilst most people agree he’s a bit of an idiot, but there were a number ‘of those surveyed’ who thought he was doing an OK job, and the alternative was just not an option. And that in the U.K. our news coverage of US affairs is filtered.
Top Awards from our Trip
Top 3 per category
Gavin – Doubtful Sound, Marlborough & Margaret River
Sue – Bora Bora, Akaroa & Singapore
Gavin – Fullerton in Singapore, Novotel in Manly, Loews in Coronado
Sue – Cape Lodge In Yallingup, Intercontinental Thalasso on Bora Bora & The Motorhome
Gavin – Dolphins, Whales & the silence of Doubtful Sound
Sue – climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge, Doubtful Sound, Mount Cook flight.
Favourite Golf Courses
Gavin- Joondalup, north of Perth, Torrey Pines, S Diego & Wairaki, Lake Taupo
Sue – Joondalup, north of Perth, Waitangi, Bay of Islands & Aviara, San Diego
Favourite Winery Experience
Gavin – Cloudy Bay In Marlborough, Devils Corner In Tasmania Leuwins In Margaret River
Sue – Cloudy Bay In Marlborough, Dessert Heart In Central Otago & Pooleys In Tasmania
Gavin – Leuwins in Margaret River, Catalinas in Sydney & The Duke In Russell
Sue – Catalinas in Sydney, The Aquarium in Merimbula & Tim’s Roast Beef in Pacific Beach ( which Gavin also wants to add to his Tops 😜)
Some of These were ‘stand out’ tops, but there were many others that just missed making the top 3’s.
If you’ve read all or any of the posts, first of all THANK YOU, but secondly, hopefully you’ll have the feeling that we have had an absolutely amazing time pretty much EVERY day since 23rd November. You may feel you’ve seen enough pics on here and Facebook, but we have over 4000 in total, so just ask …………………..
Sue feels that she is one of the luckiest people alive to have experienced all of this.
Gavin agrees ( 😜 ) but adds that this has been a lifetime ambition achieved and looks forward to our next adventures.
But right now….. We both can’t wait to get home to spend time with our beautiful family.
Hasta La Vista