I would Drive 500 Miles, and I would Drive 500 more…

Just to be the Car that drove 1000 miles to show up at your dooooor!!!

Driving Red Sports Car up the Californian Coast: ★★★★☆ 

Today Bex and I journeyed from San Diego to Ragged Point, both on the west coast. North of Los Angeles the countryside is actually breathtaking and I cannot even begin to understand why anyone would live in L.A when there’s such a wonderful place just around the corner. Its not for the coffee, that’s for sure.

San Diego was OK. The Hostel we stayed at stunk because of the pipes, and it was noisy (because well, downtown San Diego is just noisy) but I liked it enough. There were plenty of food places and things to see and do. We could have easily spent more time there in the hustle and bustle of the city, but I’m honestly glad to get away for a while.

Downtown San Diego: ★★½☆☆ 

We fuelled up the Camaro (which in itself was a chore, working out how they do refuelling here) and headed as north west as possible. Traffic was really kind to us except for a bad pile up on the Interstate 5 North (2 cars, an RV and a Trash truck) and we made pretty good time. It still baffles me that the posted speed limits will be blatantly ignored by most drivers, who will choose to do a solid 15-20 miles _FASTER_ than is legal. Admittedly I did not mind, and we spent as much of our time as possible doing about 120Kph. Broadly speaking california drivers have so far been very polite and have moved over for faster cars and we’ve never found ourselves blocked by unwitting or unwilling drivers.

We stopped for lunch at a place called In and Out burgers. They come highly recommended at the price point. It was better than Mickey Ds and fed us both for 13.01.

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We only actually did 400 miles today, but it sounds good enough – we’ve got about 240 miles until San Fran Cisco, but we’ve got a few stopovers on the way. Tomorrow morning we’re visiting Hearst Castle just to take a look, and when we get to SFC we’ll be either going to see the giant redwoods or the decommissioned prison (Alcatraz?)

The place we’ve stayed at tonight was fortunate and just spectacular. The view is incredible – our room is listed as “not having an ocean view”, because comparatively it does not – but it’s still one hell of a view, other rooms be damned. Bex and I went down the hill a ways to see the sunset and take a million photos. We saw a hummingbird and managed to take some snaps of him too.

Chalet Room: ★★★★☆ 

We had dinner here in the fancy restaurant – I had a 3/4lb filet steak with blue potatoes and vegetables, and Bex ordered a pork cutlet with sweet potato mash and vegetables. The meals were amazing. I also tried the local brew – Firestone pale ale. It wasn’t amazing, but a good beer. For dessert we had a chocolate pudding of some kind which was hot and saucy in the centre, with a side of ice-cream and strawberry syrup. At the moment we’re feeling rather well fed.

Ragged Point Inn Meals: ★★★★½ 

Firestone Pale Ale: ★★☆☆☆ 

Fancy Food Regret: ★★★★☆ 

That’s about it for this update. More from SFC, and hopefully I can put in some more photos too!

Seaworld – Substandard Themeparks

I’ve never been to a place before where I honestly felt the entire construct was there just to take my money. I’ve looked at a lot of places and thought it; but I’ve never actually been to such a place.

Seaworld is open from 10am to 5pm, and tickets are $84 on the website. Fortunately our Hostel does a partner deal for them at $70, which was a blessing. It wasn’t far away, so we piled up in our little red sports car and zoomed off to sea what all the fuss was about.

Upon arrival, it was obviously very quiet – the carpark was less than half full. At the parking gates (Parking costs $16 ye land lubbers) we saw that not one, not two, but three main attractions were closed. Two of them were the ones we wanted to see. Manta – The high speed roller coaster which hits 42MPH, and SkyTower, the impressive spike that stands something like 100meters in the air and has a revolving room that goes up and down it’s shaft.

We came into the gates and wandered around for a bit – there was only 1 show that day in which the Orcas were performing. We touched some fish and looked at some sharks and crabs. We went on a water ride and went to see a dolphin show. We got a little wet when they brought out little whales (a mere 12ft) to splash us all.

The park wasn’t clean and it felt like the staff didn’t really care. We went to see the Orcas in their tank and it was really sad to see the great beasts with collapsed dorsal fins swimming around in what would be a huge swimming pool, but in reality was a very tiny tank for just one whale. They were fitting several in there. I sound like a walking advertisement for PETA or Greenpeace or something but it’s true – as much as they say they “really care” or say that they’re doing conservation work, it just doesn’t feel like it, and it just doesn’t look like it. Everything just smells fishy!

We saw the Orca show, which was kind of cool – we got to see the whales do some pretty impressive stunts. Afterwards Bex and I went to grab a bite to eat at the Shipwreck Cafe. It doesn’t even warrant stars. Their soda machine was out, so they poured 12FL (355ml) of coke into a 20fl cup, and filled the rest with ice and carbonated soda water. It tasted like terrible watered down coke. The food was sub-par and we both got little desserts to try which were both dry and over-sweet. The whole cafe experience was how I’d imagine a public prison lunchroom to be on a bad day. No one smiled.

After drying out at lunch from our various damp endeavours we wandered around to see the last few nails in Seaworlds coffin. We took a ride on a rather tame but dizzying attraction called “Riptide Rescue”. We went to the “Penguin Encounter” to stand on a moving conveyer belt as we were rolled past a room overflowing with penguins. There were some underwater and some walking around but most were just standing there. There was no-where for them to go. The exhibit was about 40meters wide by 10meters long by 5 meters deep. Most of it was a single level concrete-coloured-to-look-like-ice platform, with holes in it which lead to water. Crammed into this space I’d estimate were 120-150 penguins.

Finally, we stopped by the “Wild Arctic” attraction. It’s meant to be a simulated helicopter ride, but it was so cheesy, it was really only suitable for kids. Bex and I both said nothing throughout or afterwards – we just put it behind us and moved on. We both agreed that if the next ride involved getting wet, which it did, we’d go home.

On the way out, and attendant asked “If you wouldn’t mind giving us 5 minutes of your time to tell us about your day today?” I just answered “It was terrible” and we left.

If I could give it negative scores, I would. Do. Not. Go. To. Seaworld.

TGI Friday San Diego

We had decided that some sort of Mexican cuisine would go down well, and had identified a nearby Chipotle. Bex and I set off walking though the gaslight district admiring all the shops and the lights and the sound and the smells. We didn’t even get a block from our hostel before deciding that if we found some place palatable before we got to Chipotle then we’d eat there. After all we’re only in San Diego for two nights!

There were some pretty cool places but we happened upon a TGIs (honestly where did you think this was going?) and took a look at the menu and we were both floored. The prices were nearly half that of the Aussie TGIs. We wandered in and were seated.

I ordered the New York cheddar and bacon burger, and Bex had the fish and chips. We got sodas and our meals came quickly. Both were very good – the fish was tender and sweet and very crispy, and the burger was filled with flavour. Including the tip, we only paid $34 for the both of us.

We headed back toward home, Bex having seen a frozen yoghurt place earlier in the night. The way frozen yoghurt is done here is great. You get a cup, and they have about 12+ flavours. You fill the cup with whatever you want (it’s all soft serve style) and whatever toppings you want (imagine a Cold Rock selection of toppings) and pay $4 for a regular. You can also get a larger cup that charges per ounce, like 49c per ounce. 

With an episode of The Walking Dead to finish off our night, it was a pretty good date!