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ShawnR
02-01-2016, 09:41 PM
Hi All

My wife and I are planning on coming to visit California (from Northern Canada) in April. We are starting to research a bit, but discovering the information and options available are a little overwhelming. We are victims of marketing and assumptions (kind of like Canadians live in Igloos....:-) ) so I thought I might post here for some real input.

We are looking at a couple of weeks, interested in the San Diego Wildlife Zoo, seeing some of San Francisco, the coastal highway, "wine country" (although that one is vague I suspect) and other wise, do not know what to even look for. It all looks incredible...we are not really interested in Los Angeles/Beverly Hills, more the tourist end of where the real people live, if you know what I mean.

Any recommended B&B's, great restaurants, museums, etc? We are looking at booking flights soon and then will rent a car for the time there so need to develop an idea of where to go and stay along the way. We are not opposed to loosely booked ie not firm reservations everywhere but need some sort of a plan. :confused:

Sooo, if you live there, have lived there, or had a vacation there, any input for us snowbirds?

Thanks
Shawn

PStechPaul
02-01-2016, 10:56 PM
It's been a while, but I have stayed at Ocean Villas in Ocean Beach, near San Diego, and it was inexpensive and clean, although not fancy. It is right on the beach, and an easy walk to the fishing pier. It is a quaint beach town, youthful and friendly.

http://www.oceanvillainn.com/

I have also stayed at the Ocean Beach Hotel, also not fancy, but very convenient and fun:

http://obhotel.com/

I also enjoyed the Point Loma Bakery, an easy walk from either hotel:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/point-loma-bakery-san-diego

If you like to drive challenging roads, visit the Mount Wilson observatory in the San Gabriel mountains.

http://www.daytrippen.com/mount-wilson-observatory-day-trip/

Another really cool place to visit is Torrey Pines, just N of San Diego:

http://torreypine.org/

If you would like to visit Mexico, instead of Tijuana (which can be dangerous), try Tecate:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tecate

darryl
02-01-2016, 11:11 PM
Where would you book a car- Vancouver? I've driven the coast highway from top to bottom, at least as far as San Diego. Nice drive, lots of places to stay, pays to book ahead in any tourist season. It would be good to visit BCAA and get a trip mapped out- then you can probably get a heads up on where to stay. Take hwy 112 across northern Washington going west, then take 101 south. There are lots of incredible places along the ocean to see. I can't name them all- Ocean Shores, Florence, Astoria- I think you get onto the Redwood highway as you get further south. Keep going and get through the LA area, continue on the coast. San Diego is a nice city, and the zoo is incredible. Santa Barbara is nice, what can I say. If you can divert through Davis without going out of your way, that's an interesting little town. Read up on that.

Our trips were always driving trips, one of our stays was at San Francisco. Interesting but expensive. Hearst Castle is interesting to tour through, other sights are caves, missions, there's Rodeo Drive- we parked near San Diego and walked into Mexico at Tijuana, cabbed it back. That was interesting, having never been there before.

On the way back, we took a high mountain road into Reno, then hwy 97A back through '50s era towns. If you come back this way, go up to hwy 20 and drive it west until you are forced back into civilization and modern highways. You get to bypass Seattle for the most part- what a concrete jungle-

If you want another type of trip you can visit Bryce Canyon and Zion National park- very scenic. Make a loop out of that including the Grand Canyon. I'll stop now.

Bob Ford
02-01-2016, 11:35 PM
California is a long state. I live in the north west part. From San Francisco to the Oregon border Is about 400 miles on highway 101, roughly 7 hours freeway speeds. If you go to the winery's north of San Francisco and spend 1 hour at each you will need about 6 months. From the Oregon border south is about 250 miles of large Redwoods. You first see the Pacific Ocean at Eureka To about Oreck. Next time will be at Crescent City. From Oreck to Crescent City be careful of the Elk hitting one can ruin your day. They are the size of a horse. You should see about 300 in herds of 12 to 150.

Below are websites that cover some of the north west side of California.

http://www.winecountrygetaways.com/

http://www.wineinstitute.org/consumerstories

http://www.winecountrygetaways.com/wine-regions/

http://www.discovercaliforniawines.com/

http://www.fodors.com/world/north-america/usa/california/napa-and-sonoma

http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/

http://www.visitmendocino.com/

http://humboldtgov.org/

http://exploredelnorte.com/

http://redwoods.info/showrecord.asp?id=2464

PeteM
02-01-2016, 11:36 PM
To me, the Big Sur area is one of Northern California's spectacular visits. Easy enough to book a place for one night, take hikes on the coast, have lunch at Ventana overlooking the Pacific Ocean, then dinner Nepenthe as the sun sets. Lodging prices range from affordable cabins to very pricey (Ventana) to even pricier (Post Ranch Inn). Up the coast a bit is the Monterey Bay Aquarium -- one of world's best and maybe of interest given the San Diego Zoo note. Go up the coast a bit further and you could kayak the Elkhorn Slough and have lunch at Phil's. Still further up is Santa Cruz, then fifty miles more to San Francisco.

There's the whole Bay Area - hi tech thing. You'd have time to arrange a visit to Stanford, Google, Apple, Facebook etc.

Northern California has hundreds of terrific restaurants; so recommendations kind of depend on where you'll be.

San Francisco has a half dozen terrific museums, depending upon your interests. Three I'd recommend to start are the Exploratoreum, the DeYoung, and the California Academy of Sciences.

Yosemite is pretty spectacular, but probably too much of a detour for this visit.

sarge41
02-01-2016, 11:52 PM
Shawn: Its a great place to visit, California, that is. I hope you are a young driver, traffic can be overwhelming at times. On renting a car, it will be considerably cheaper if you can return the car to the same place where you rented. If you get down near L.A., you might enjoy the little town of Solvang. It is about two hours north of L.A. There is a great antique motorcycle museum there. It is a little town originally settled by Danish immigrants many years ago. Lots of the old world flavor there.

Sarge

Video Man
02-01-2016, 11:54 PM
Suggest if you want to see San Diego and San Francisco both, you plan on flying between them. It is a very long way. FWIW "wine country" is pretty much the central coast area north of San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma counties, and that also is a huge area. (Yes, there's Santa Barbara also) Lots to see and great restaurants, B&B boutique hotels, etc. The Carmel-Monterey area to the south of SF is spectacular. You could spend a very long time just in the central coastal region. If you plan to drive to San Diego you will eat up a lot of your vacation time just in the travel, although the coast highway is very scenic, it would take a long time. If you choose interstate highways, well, freeways are just freeways. My two cents.

Paul Alciatore
02-02-2016, 12:40 AM
Some things I have enjoyed there:

Winchester House in San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge

Wine Country - tours and samples at every winery

Museums

Carmel and the coast highways

Lick Observatory - the drive up there is a pip. http://mthamilton.ucolick.org/

Studios in LA

As for restaurants, yes there are some good ones, but I am from New Orleans and am spoiled. I once heard a couple of fellow New Orleans visitors discussing the restaurants in San Francisco. Their comment was, "What do they do with the flavor from the food here?" I had to agree. Yes, I am spoiled where food is concerned.

38_Cal
02-02-2016, 12:41 AM
In Sacramento, the State Railroad Museum, http://www.csrmf.org/, is a must!

gambler
02-02-2016, 01:44 AM
you must see death valley(especially at night). and ryolite, and scottys castle. and the winchester house is in san jose. also the rosicrucian museum is in san jose, they have mummys there. the grounds are lovely.take your time.

danlb
02-02-2016, 02:17 AM
I live in the SF bay area (about 35 miles south east of SF) ... never get around to seeing any of the sights. :(

We travel to San Diego every month by car. It's not a bad trip on I-5 down the central valley. We make it in 8 to 9 hours. Kind of boring the 10th or 100th time that you make the trip.

There are beautiful areas all along the California coast. I'll caution you that 101 is a major freeway in San Jose, and a decent freeway from Salinas to LA. In northern California and Oregon it's a 35 mph two lane road in many areas. Highway 1 is REALLY beautiful, but in many areas it's narrow and twisty. Virtually all of Highway 1 south of Monterey is breathtaking and slow.

Things to do? Well...

The avenue of the giants on US 101 is a beautiful drive through the redwoods.

Big Basin Park just north of Santa Cruz was a favorite redwood forest when I was a kid.

Forbes Mill is an excellent steak house with locations in Danville and Los Gatos. Not cheap, but some great food, including Kobe beef.

We've stayed at the Omni hotel in San Diego and enjoyed it a lot.

The Del Coronado hotel in San Diego has a great sunday brunch in their grand ballroom.

Museums;
The Blackhawk Auto museum in Danville has about 90 antique cars.

The exploratorium in SF is fun, especially for those that enjoy hands on experience.

Down near San diego there is the is the Craftsmanship museum ( http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/40893 ) that I've wanted to go to, but never made it yet. Let us know how it is, OK?

Dan

Rosco-P
02-02-2016, 06:49 AM
Mining district around Randsberg, Sequoia National Park, Yosemite, Alcatraz....or are you looking for more a museum, scenic overlook kind of trip.

ShawnR
02-02-2016, 07:54 AM
Wow!! You all are awesome! That is more information than I could ever hope to gain from tourist brochures. And pretty much exactly what I had hoped for. We will start exploring those links.
Some comments, we did consider flying to BC and going south but don't think we are going to start that far North. We have about 16 days to work with and the San Diego Wildlife park is one of the musts for us. Yes, the aquarium is a want too. The heads up on the driving is good to know (speed and living obstacles). We also considered flying to one city and flying out of another but the cost (for the rental car) might change that. I was thinking about going up (or down) the coast to see it, and going the other way inland where we could visit many of the other places, I would think are listed above.

At this point, we should probably just book flight and car and see what happens (carrying this list with us of course :) ) It is almost too much to make a firm plan and we are more casual than that anyways. We will probably be back. I am not a "young" driver, more old enough to know better. Best experience in driving is Toronto.

I posted this last night before going to bed and woke up to a huge amount of information and leads I trust. Thanks to all.

Paul, we visited Louisiana last March. Yes, the food was great! We enjoyed the whole week there. Our hotel opened right onto Bourbon Street and we were there for St Patricks day. It was quite the show and experience. I think Mardi Gras would be too much for us though.....

Cheers,

Shawn

Baz
02-02-2016, 08:30 AM
We made no plan and got by with Motel 6 and the equivalent. Much easier nowadays I expect with a mobile phone and internet to find hotels. Flew in to Vegas, looped round California and ended in Reno because there we no car hire return charges if you dropped it in the same state. Autumn and it started to snow just as we went through Donner pass...:eek:..... but with tourist chalets it's just a lake like any other now.
Roaring creek & BigTrees railway south of SF and Golden Gate park has the only two windmills in California. Somewhere between Sacremento and Reno is another town I can't remember with a railway museum where mention of being a model engineer got us a tour of the workshops.
Los Angeles Live steamers are very friendly and are just the other side of the hill from the famous Hollywood sign. There is another full size loco museum right next door and also a zoo opposite to park the wife while you play trains. A bit of a search should find some silver mines and associated museums, though I can't remember even which state the ones we went to are in.

Seastar
02-02-2016, 08:57 AM
It seems like every time I go to California there is an earthquake.
Don't go there, it's going to slide off into the Pacific.
Just kidding, it's a beautiful state.
I have been all over and it would be hard to pick areas to recommend.
Bill

JCHannum
02-02-2016, 09:33 AM
We made that trip last year and have done portions of it several times visiting family.

Don't miss Yosemite, acommodations fill up rapidly, so book rooms soon or count on being some distance away. Two of the three times we were there, we stayed in Mammoth, the third spent a week in the park.

The Nevada railroad museum mentioned is probably in Ely, we have visited twice;
thttp://www.nnry.com/

When in the San Diego area, definitely visit the Joe Martin Model Craftsmanship Museum. We visited when it was in Vista and the new location in Carlsbad. If you don't go there, the trip will be a waste for a HSM.
http://www.craftsmanshipmuseum.com/facility.htm

While in the Carlsbad/Vista area, the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum is worth a stop. They have several events, and the grounds are open to visitors to self tour at other times.
http://agsem.com/

Bob Ford
02-02-2016, 09:40 AM
Shawn,

If you are planning to fly San Francisco is a major airport. If you want t see San Diego Wildlife park then LAX might be better.

Bob

loose nut
02-02-2016, 03:31 PM
If you are going to the San Diego Wildlife zoo (the old zoo is or was next to it) then go to Balboa Park, it is right there. Lots of museums like the Air and Space one and several other exhibits buildings. Kind of like a mini Smithsonian. Haven't been there in 35 years so it may have changed but it used to be great.

Guido
02-02-2016, 03:39 PM
loose nut x 2 and might toss in a visit to the Hotel Coronado. While in the northwoods of San Diego, consider overnight at the Julian Hotel, Julian, Ca.

---G

Rustybolt
02-02-2016, 03:42 PM
2nd the craftsmanship museum. Rancho LaBrea (labrea tar pits) is a cool visit. Don't just visit the museum but walk around and visit the diggings(watch out for tar puddles in the grass.) Huntington Art Museum. The mission at San Juan Capistrano is cool too.

gmax137
02-02-2016, 04:11 PM
2nd to the M/C museum in Solvang, if you're interested in bikes. Also 2nd to the observatories; the drive up Mt Hamilton to Lick (outside San Jose) is fun -- but it takes a good part of the day to drive up and back.

doctor demo
02-02-2016, 04:26 PM
Hearst Castle in San Simeon,Crocker Art Museum and The Capital while in Sacramento and the already mentioned rail museum.
The wharf, riding a cable car and the cable car power house, Lombard street, Coit tower, golden gate bridge, Nike Missile Site while visiting S.F. Monterrey Bay Aquarium. There is the USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier Museum in Alameda near S.F. also.

Steve

Bob Fisher
02-02-2016, 05:10 PM
The aerospace museum in Balboa park in San Diego is a must. They have a restoration facility in the basement that you can get a one on one tour, led by a docent for an extra three bucks. A bunch of old guys, like us, volunteer there and do some beautiful work. One guy was in his 90's and working an English wheel like a youngster. There is also the craftsmanship museum in Carsbad, a must for a HMSer. Lou Chenot's 1/6 Scale Duesenberg is exhibited there. Wine country is another whole story. Bob.

RandyZ
02-02-2016, 06:24 PM
A once in a lifetime trip would be to Sequoia National Park to see the trees. Awesome. also drive the coastal highway.

Forestgnome
02-02-2016, 06:46 PM
I assume you would take Hwy 1 unless you're in a hurry. A couple of romantic places to stay:

Timber Cove Inn. A little pricey, but truly "away from it all". Hot tub on the balcony overlooking the ocean. Gets very dark at night, no city lights anywhere.

Jenner Inn. Not too pricey. Cottages on the side of the hill overlooking the ocean and the Russian River. Nice trail behind the Inn.

I agree that Hearst castle is an awesome place, but it's quite a drive to get to. Winchester Mystery House in San Jose if you're a Winchester fan.

Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton if you end up near Santa Cruz. Then there's the Santa Cruz boardwalk. Pretty cheap fun.

Point Reyes lighthouse is a great place to visit. Lots of great hikes around Point Reyes and Bodega Bay.

Bob Ford
02-02-2016, 07:10 PM
danl,

Do not know when you were on north 101. I have driven it at least 200 times in the last 10 years. Santa Rosa to Crescent City 320 miles takes me 5 1/2 hours and I do not exceed the speed limit. There are about 6 turns marked 35 mph between Trinidad and Crescent City. Most of 101 is 4 lane 65 mph. About 30% is 2 lane 55mph. With the tallest Redwoods ether in Del Norte or Humboldt Depending on lightning strikes. Top part of tree gets burnt off. Currently Humboldt has the tallest.
http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2011/04/08/135206497/the-worlds-tallest-tree-is-hiding-somewhere-in-california

Bob

danlb
02-02-2016, 07:30 PM
danl,

Do not know when you were on north 101. I have driven it at least 200 times in the last 10 years. Santa Rosa to Crescent City 320 miles takes me 5 1/2 hours and I do not exceed the speed limit. There are about 6 turns marked 35 mph between Trinidad and Crescent City. Most of 101 is 4 lane 65 mph. About 30% is 2 lane 55mph. With the tallest Redwoods ether in Del Norte or Humboldt Depending on lightning strikes. Top part of tree gets burnt off. Currently Humboldt has the tallest.
http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2011/04/08/135206497/the-worlds-tallest-tree-is-hiding-somewhere-in-california

Bob

It's been decades since I went all the way up 101 to Oregon. It's good to hear that it sounds like it is better now than it was.

The last time we took the coast route to Oregon (I-5 was closed) was during a storm that was so bad that it snowed at the beach near Crescent City.

Bob Ford
02-02-2016, 10:40 PM
Snow is rare in Crescent City. Ten miles inland yes! Last time it snowed 2008 Christmas 1/2 inch lasted 3 hours.

About 1975 I was working in Petaluma. Four inches of snow lasted 4 - 6 days. One of the guys lived at Point Reyes and said they had 4 inches right down to the water.

You might not be aware Fort Ross on Coast 1 about 15 miles north of Russian River was a fort built by the Russians to protect their holdings in California. They also had orchards and other farms east of the town of Bodega near Freestone.

Bob

danlb
02-03-2016, 12:29 AM
On topic... The observatory in Balboa park (San Diego) had a great show 20 years ago. :)

Several people have mentioned Hearst Castle. It's the very opulent estate of the late Randolf Hearst near Paso Robles. Rumor is that he was the inspiration for Citizen Cane. There were 3 separate tours when we went. I loved it, and will go there again some day. If you go there, check out the nearby Madonna Inn. 25 years ago we stayed in the "Gypsy Rock" room. It looks like it's still there. http://www.madonnainn.com/features.php

My brother's favorite place is Jade cove on state route 1 about 63 miles south of Monterey. At night there is NO light pollution and the view of the sky is breathtaking.

Dan

1-800miner
02-03-2016, 12:56 AM
Cross the Sierras through Yosemite Valley then south on 395. The Sierras will be breath taking for the next hundred miles.
Leave 395 at Lone Pine ( where virtually every western movie was filmed) and wander into Death Valley.
South through the valley and come out around Baker or Barstow and you have two hours to San Diego.
With the rain we had this year, the flowers may be blooming in Death Valley. If they do it is an unforgettable site.

darryl
02-03-2016, 03:01 AM
Another place to check out would be San Luis Obispo.

Mike Amick
02-03-2016, 03:08 AM
Can only comment on the San Diego suggestions which were right on. If driving down into SD .. you may want
slip off the 5 for a sec, and go into La Jolla. Outer part of the city.

They have a place on the beach called the kiddie pool. This is a section of the beach where they built a 100 ft
long 10ft high wall out in the water a ways .. to act as a surf breaker. The water on this side is nice and calm.
It was built so you could take your little kids in the water without the big waves beating them up.

Welllll ... what happened was the seals discovered the place ... and took it over. So the town in split over it.
Some saying .. hey, that is for the kids ... kick those stinky seals out of there. The other half of the town, is
like .. "don't you touch those seals, they are protected." Every summer, the fight heats up.

Here is a rare time, that people are using it ...
http://www.mikeamick.com/misc/people_time.jpg


Here is the normal view .. seals "OWNING IT "
http://www.mikeamick.com/misc/seal_time.jpg


But .. its cool walking along the beach, and coming to this nice area, and seeing about 100 seals down there
playing and laying ...

Rosco-P
02-03-2016, 06:31 AM
Cross the Sierras through Yosemite Valley then south on 395. The Sierras will be breath taking for the next hundred miles.
Leave 395 at Lone Pine ( where virtually every western movie was filmed) and wander into Death Valley.
South through the valley and come out around Baker or Barstow and you have two hours to San Diego.
With the rain we had this year, the flowers may be blooming in Death Valley. If they do it is an unforgettable site.

In Lone Pine, visit the museum, see Mono Lake.

ShawnR
02-03-2016, 08:20 AM
Thanks again to all. We booked our flights yesterday to take advantage of some decent pricing, connections and to give us some idea of boundaries. Flying in and out of San Diego. Will spend at least a couple days there at the beginning, no car booked, and we know our departure date. Now we can plan, (and negotiate) :o the other stops and route. We have 2 months to explore all of these web links and make a plan. . I popped into the miniature museum link.. Yep, going there. :-)

And La Jolla for sure.

We, obviously, cannot do everything mentioned this far, but you all have given us a great start on planning. Much appreciated. I hope to visit as much of it as we can.

Thank you.

Cheers.

1-800miner
02-03-2016, 10:03 AM
When you get home I want to hear about the adventure.

ShawnR
04-30-2016, 11:00 PM
As requested by 1-800miner, here is my report....

Getting back last night (or rather this morning at 1:00 AM) our trip is still relatively fresh. I made notes along the way to help me convey the information about our trip and keep things straight.

We flew into San Diego, spent 3 nights there, visiting the Midway Aircraft Carrier, Zoo and wildlife park. Also, tourist areas near hotel and gaslamp area (very good place to visit if you like food and adult beverages ) All were excellent areas to visit. If anyone has any specific areas of interest, I would be happy to supply more info.

My wife feeding a giraffe in the wildlife park...her highlight of the trip I think....

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/album.php?albumid=108&attachmentid=743

We also were lucky to be able to feed 3 Rhinos that came up to our truck...


We then picked up our rental car and drove to Three Rivers where we stayed at a nice little place, almost campground like just outside Sequoia National Park. The next day we did the park, including the General Sherman tree and many trails. (Funny story...we were walking along and met some people. They asked if we saw the bear. We had not. They showed us a photo of US with a BEAR walking slight above us on a hill. We turned around and saw it in the distance, going the other way. We kind of laughed but were glad we did not get too close or that it was not in the mood for pasty canadian meat. We then continued on our way and now I am looking for rattle snakes AND bears....:-) I started bugging my wife about how you never hear about bear scat with glasses in it so they must not eat those wearing glasses. Then I look up and see the bear, on the trail, coming our way. I told her, to which, as most wives reply "yea right!" and I said "No seriously, the bear is heading our way, on the trail..." We went off trail a bit, around the fella, and came back down behind it, which now had turned around and was meandering back our way again! By now, we met other people on the trail, pointed Mr or Mrs Bear out to them... some of the ones bent on proving natural selection moved towards it for better photos and the more educated moved away...A little excitement in our day but no tourists were injured in this story ) Here is a shot of the fella. He was more interested in foraging than tourists I guess as he was not too interested in us, but we did not get too close to entice him either.

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/album.php?albumid=108&attachmentid=744

After that, we spent a night at John Muir Lodge in Kings Canyon Park, then off to San Francisco. We toured the water front of course, more than once and did the Alcatraz tour. Ate at "The Stinking Rose" the first night, very good, check it out.

We then meandered down the coast with a couple of hours each day of driving. The Pacific Coast Highway is a sight to see....! Pictures cannot do it justice. Trust me....we have tons!

Again to spare you all the pain of the details, here is a list of what we did, not nearly complete, but generally what we did each day. If anyone has any questions, please let me know.

All in all, a very nice trip. Weather cooperated mostly. People were nice. I tried to stick to local craft beer all the time and found them all good, some more than others but I cannot remember what all I tried as there were so many...not that I drank huge quantities, just that there is quite a thriving craft brewery circle in California.

Driving in around Torrance (LA) kept me on my toes but I managed to get the rental back with no damage charges so I was happy.

I, again, would like to Thank all of you for your input. I know I did not do everything all of you suggested but I tried to incorporate as much as possible. We did it one day at a time, and basically Hotwired or used Expedia each night to find our room the next day, based on where we figured our highlight would be. It was a little more casual than what we are used to but all in all, quite an adventure.

Thank you.

Cheers,

Shawn
Day 1 San Diego exploring water front
Day 2 USS Midway / evening waterfront / Gaslamp area
Day 3 San Diego Zoo
Day 4 San Diego safari park
Day 5 Drive to Three Rivers
Day 6 Sequoia National Park/Dodge a bear/visit a tree
Day 7 Kings Canyon National Park- Panoramic Trail/John Muir Lodge
Day 8 Off to San Fran /Fisherman's wharf/ Stinking Rose Restaurant
Day 9 Alcatraz tour, more walk a bout in wharf, Dinner at Pier Market (Grilled shrimp, salmon, halibut over mesquite ...very good)
Day 10 Golden gate bridge (drove over it and back, in the rain...oh well...get to say I did it/ off to Monterey, more walk a bout, Dinner at Sea Harvest ((Chilean sea bass and rare tuna (a first for me)...very good!)
Day 11 Monterey Aquarium/ then through Big Sur and off to Sam Simeon, with a visit to the Elephant Seals
Day 12 Hearst Castle, off to Solvang
Day 13 Solvang Motorcycle Museum, Wineries Gainey, Rideau and Blackjack
Day 14 Torrance Museum of flight
Day 15 Carlsbad craftsmanship museum/ Wife hit the outlet mall
Day 16 San Diego Balboa Park/ Aerospace Museum/Gaslamp area again for a great dinner
Day 17 Go home

A couple other last minute notes....

Solvang was so nice and pretty, we spent an extra night there. Hotel Corque, toured wineries here, ate fresh pastry
Motorcycle Museum is a gem! and I am not a motorcycle nut.

Craftmanship Museum in Carlsbad is another gem. Spent hours there. Could spend days there. Very pleasant and helpful Guides

Hearst Castle....incredible....

Pretty much everything on our list was excellent, including food, drinks, sites, hotels. Makes me wonder what I missed!

gambler
05-01-2016, 12:54 AM
Wow I'm surprised you found that gem in solvang. The best motorcycle museum ever. Did you see the Rollie Free Vincent ? Awesome that you can get so close to history .

1-800miner
05-01-2016, 01:29 AM
You could have taken another seventeen days and still just seen the tip of the iceberg.
I have lived here forty years and still discover wonders.

1-800miner
05-01-2016, 01:33 AM
Welcome home! Isn't it nice to lay your head on YOUR pillow?

Forestgnome
05-01-2016, 11:31 AM
That's casual? Wore me out reading the list. You visited some fantastic places, glad you enjoyed your trip!

Alistair Hosie
05-01-2016, 02:13 PM
I went to Mexico with my pal Irving we have been best pals since our schooldays over fifty years, We went to Acapulco for a week altogether .
Definitely the worst holiday I ever went on.
Remember we went for seven days ,five and a half of which I spent in bed staring at the on suite toilet which I sat on nearly as much as in the bed. We were in the TOTUGO OR TORTOISE Hotel .Everybody who laughed at me getting sick almost on day one shared my experience from day two. We ended up with stomach poisoning and acute gastro enteritis. I had a friend back in Scotland who told me even the modern looking hotels have very badly installed ancient plumbing.
The drinking water pipes and the sewer pipes had long since developed little cracks and there was to put it mildly cross contamination between the two. I will leave the rest up to your imagination. I won't wallow on about the really bad smell which lingered till I was finally better it seemed to last for months. Seemingly the tour operator should have insisted we got shots before leaving. Which we did not . MY Doctor was seriously concerned for me he said it was like a third world country LIKE Pakistan for example when it came to hygiene and plumbing etc. Alistair

dave_r
05-01-2016, 02:41 PM
yeah, it's my understand you (as a visitor) don't drink any tap water, including drinks with ice, and be very suspect of bottled water (as it can easily be just bottled tap water like in the US). You have to stick with alcohol for the trip...

danlb
05-01-2016, 04:56 PM
Pretty much everything on our list was excellent, including food, drinks, sites, hotels. Makes me wonder what I missed!

Thanks for the followup. It's always amazing how many things there are to do here that I never quite get around to. We went to the Carlsbad museum for the first time last Thursday despite making the drive to San Diego every other month for the last 10 years. We spent 2 hours touring the exhibits. I got a personal tour of the machine shop since were the only ones there. :)

Welcome home.

Dan