California Journals

California Bound

A September 2003 trip to California by Slaney

Dolphins Cove Resort Photo, Anaheim, California More Photos
Quote: Our trip took us fron Manchester (England) to Los Angeles and San Francisco. On the journey we survived the heat of Death Valley, the glitzy excitement of Las Vegas and the cool tranquility of Yosemite.

California Bound

Overview

Quote:
Probably the best thing to do IN LA is Disney, but we weren't there for that. We visited Newport Beach, Hollywood, Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive, bought a map of the stars homes in Beverly Hills and drove round to find them, walked on Malibu Beach behind the stars homes, watched the few skaters at Santa Monica Beach (it was a weekday in September). The views from the Hollywood sign are wonderful. From LA we went to Las Vegas and called at the ghost town of Calico on the way. Death Valley was awesome and the heat unbearable. Yosemite was cool and peaceful and full of wildlife - we saw a lynx early one morning. San Francisco - well that was the jewel in the crown! We dined on Pier 39, Fi...Read More
Panamint Springs Resort Photo, Death Valley, California
Quote:
In a word, RUSTIC. But to elaborate: There were probably about 10 - 12 log cabin type rooms which were very basic. Ours had two beds, a chest of drawers and a small table. It had a bathroom with shower toilet and wash basin. The towels in the bathroom were very small and thin. There was a ceiling fan in the bedroom and no TV. The place is situated on the edge of Death Valley in the middle of nowhere. Our highlight in the evening was watching lights travel through the valley for about 10-15 minutes before they passed by. We sat on the verandah eating a lovely meal and listening to the silence of the desert whilst bats swooped round the lights to catch insects and a little mouse ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 13, 2003

Panamint Springs Resort
Highway 190
Death Valley National Park 93555
(775) 482-7680

Camp Curry, Curry Village

Hotel | "Camp Curry"

Camp Curry, Curry Village Photo, Yosemite National Park, California
Quote:
We made the reservation in February to ensure a room and as my husband would not stay in a tent, we went for the motel accommodation. The rooms were basic and I wish I could say clean, but it wasn't. There were paper cups, a bottle and a peach stone under the bed. It consisted of two beds a chest of drawers and a sink in the bedroom, with a toilet and shower in a small separate room. Bare lockers are issued to people in cabins and tents, but not in the motel rooms, so we had to empty our car of everything as bears can smell even make-up and wreck the car trying to get to the smell. Consequently, we had food in our room and my husband spent the whole night watching a mouse going to the bag of f...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 15, 2003

Camp Curry, Curry Village
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite, CA

Chelsea Motor Inn Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Lovely big rooms with two double beds, table and chairs, TV, and bay window. We also had a good size bathroom. Everything was very clean. We chose this hotel because it had free parking. As I understood, parking was very expensive in San Francisco, although there are a good many motor inns offering free parking on Lombard Street. We took a bus from round the corner to Fishermans Wharf at a cost of $1.25 each. As one of the people in our party was ill, we had to take a taxi back, which cost $9. Whilst we were at Fisherman’s Wharf, we noticed two parking areas offering parking of $10 for the day, which was as cheap as the bus for 4 people. The problem with the hotel was its l...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on October 20, 2003

Chelsea Motor Inn
2095 Lombard Street
San Francisco, California 94123
(415) 563-5600

Dolphin's Cove Resort

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Dolphins Cove Resort"

Dolphin's Cove Resort Photo, Anaheim, California
Quote:
Best Things Nearby:Disney - but this is not why we went. We just wanted a base in or near LA and this was available. There were plenty of places to eat nearby and we found it a good base for the beach, although it was a long way from Malibu and Santa Monica, but we enjoyed the drive!Best Things About the Resort:The peace and quiet, although not far from two main roads. We requested a unit at the back and it was very quiet and peaceful. Resort Experience:The gardens reminded me of my childhood when we stayed in small hotels in Italy. They had a Mediterranean feel to them, with climbers and trees. The unit was very clean and well equipped and the sta...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 9, 2003

Dolphin's Cove Resort
465 West Orangewood Avenue
Anaheim, California 92802
(866) 722-7401

Mutt Lynch's

Attraction

Quote:
This was the only place we could find for breakfast. Although a bar, they were quite busy with breakfasts, and the location was ideal. Directly across from the beach with large windows open to the sea breeze.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 9, 2003

Mutt Lynch's
2300 West Oceanfront
Newport Beach, California 92663
+1 949 675 1556

Mel's Drive-In on Lombard

Restaurant | "Mels Diner"

Quote:
This was about a 5-minute walk away from the Chelsea Motor Inn and we went there for breakfast every morning during our stay. Mel's Diner is a large chain of diners furnished in the '60s American fashion. They have two or three outlets in San Francisco and this Lombard Street branch was very clean with friendly staff. The waiter rembered us from the previous day and brought our juice as soon as we sat down. On each occasion we went, they were quite busy, but we were never waiting long for our order.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2003

Mel's Drive-In on Lombard
2165 Lombard St
San Francisco, California 94123
+1 415 921 3039

Nonna Rosas

Restaurant

Quote:
We waited about 20 minutes for a table, but sat at the bar with a drink and were entertained by the barman so the time passed quite quickly.
The food was good and well served. I had baked salmon, my husband had cod, and our friends had steak. The meals came with a choice of potatoes and vegetables. This meal was far better and cheaper than Neptunes Palace, and we were wishing we had had our lobster here.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 20, 2003

Quote:
This was the most expensive and worst meal we had during our whole two weeks trip to California. We chose this restaurant because of the views of the harbour and the seafood offered.


My friend and I had lobster. Mine was undercooked, but not having had it before, I didn't know this at the time. The two men had halibut. All meals came with some sort of vegetable (we didn't know what), which was undercooked. It seemed to be "nouveau cuisine" type. To make matters worse, we had to wait over an hour for a table when they said it would only be 30 minutes and we didn't even get a window seat to enable us to look at the view.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on October 20, 2003

Sea World

Attraction

Sea World Photo, California, United States
Quote:
It is set at the side of the seashore and seems and ideal location. We expected it to be the same as Sea World Florida and it is somewhat, but at the same time, it was different, too. We were disappointed in the mime artist at the Sea Lion and Otter Show because the one in Florida is really funny. This one was a girl pretending to sweep up and squirting water at people as they entered. There was no variety in the act. The otter was in the show more than in Florida though and the walrus appeared for longer, too. After the film Free Willy, it upsets me to see fish having to perform for people because they are trained instead of because they want to perform in ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 13, 2003

49 Mile Scenic Drive

Attraction | "Scenic 49 Mile Drive"

49 Mile Scenic Drive Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
The scenic 49 Mile Drive is a drive yourself tour that takes in all the highlights of San Francisco. It can be picked up as and when required and is very easy -- you just look for the blue and white "49 mile scenic drive" signs and follow the arrow. You can drive down Lombard Street (the crookedest street in the world), go through the Presidio to the beautiful Ocean Beach, passing the Golden Gate Bridge on the way. It takes you up Twin Peaks to the wonderful view points overlooking the whole of San Francisco, through the busy city streets, the residential areas and through Golden Gate Park. The beauty of it is you can do as much as little as you want at any time and there are stop-off places fo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 20, 2003

49 Mile Scenic Drive

San Francisco, California 94115
(415) 391-2000

Alcatraz Island/The Rock

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Alcatraz"

Alcatraz Island/The Rock Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Having heard that this trip is very popular, we pre-booked the day before by queuing for 30 minutes, but we were able to choose our cruise time. It took about 15 minutes for the boat to get to Alcatraz and there were good views of San Francisco and Alcatraz from the boat. There were refreshments available on the boat but none allowed on the Island apart from water. Upon arrival, you are given a talk on the jetty by one of the rangers and then you stroll up the hill to the entrance to the prison. Inside, you are given an audio player and headphones and your tour begins. The commentary is by both guards and ex prisoners with sound effects when they are talking about riots and cell door clanging s...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 20, 2003

Alcatraz Island/The Rock
San Francisco Bay
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco 94133
(415) 705-5555

Newport Beach

Story/Tip

Newport Beach Photo, California, United States
Quote:
After a long flight from the UK, our first venture was to the beach to relax. We found Newport Beach to be a quiet place, with plenty of car parking, both in the beachfront car park with meter charge and on street, which was free. There is a long promenade with some nice beachfront houses and apartments, public restrooms, a long sandy beach, and a pier used by fishermen. There are small supermarkets and clothes shops to browse. There were no sun beds available on the beach. After relaxing, we walked on the pier to watch the fishermen who were mainly Oriental. The thing I did not like was the way they put the fish they caught into dry buckets for a slow death. Later in the afternoon, there was...Read More

Calico Ghost Town

Attraction | "Calico"

Calico Ghost Town Photo, Yermo, California
Quote:
Whilst checking our route from LA to Las Vegas, I noticed just off the freeway was Calico. This is a renovated ghost town from the silver rush era. We arrived at about 9am, it was very hot and there were one or two people already there. There was a charge of $6 per person to look round. We wandered up the street, marvelling at the ancient buildings and imagining the silver miners of yesteryear when the town was alive. We took a walking tour down Maggies Mine for $1 and heard how the miners lived down the mines -- some gave up and others died there before finding silver. There were the usual souvenir shops housed in the old buildings and there was a café, but it wasn't open, which was a pity as we wer...Read More

Calico Ghost Town
36600 Ghost Town Road
Yermo, California 92398
(760) 254-2122

Malibu Photo, California, United States
Quote:
We took the Pacific Coast Highway from Anaheim to Malibu and it took us two hours. The traffic and hold ups were so bad but we did see the coastline at times! MALIBU We arrived at lunch time and had a sandwich at the Subway, then took off to find the beach where the stars live. One entrance was just near the area where we had lunch, but it was gated and guarded, so we headed further out. Eventually, we found access to the beach and parked at the roadside. This end of the private road was no entry, but there was access to the beach so we walked right on the shoreline. Each house had a notice saying to keep 800 metres from the house. Some of the houses were beautiful, some were dilapid...Read More

Death Valley

Story/Tip

Death Va;;ey Photo, California, United States
Quote:
This is the most amazing landscape I have ever seen. We were travelling from Las Vegas and our first view was of Badwater. It looked like a sea when viewed from the top of the hill, but down at the bottom it was like dried salt. The road wound right past and then ended at a car park where we were able to walk on the surface and take a closer look, although it was too hot to walk far. There was even a pool of water which surprised us given the heat of 120 degrees. The different colours in the rocks of Artist Palette left us in awe. We also saw the sand dunes in the distance, which looked like pyramids. I expected this to be the whole landscape as Death Valley is desert. There are ro...Read More

Yosemite National Park

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Yosemite National Park Photo, California, United States
Quote:
After sweltering in the heat of Death Valley, we found ourselves shivering 9000 ft above sea level as we descended down Tioga Pass on our way to Yosemite Valley. Everywhere there are beautiful views of the valley, mountains and lakes. I can understand why Ansell Adams found it so fascinating. After checking in Camp Curry (motel rooms) which was to be our home for two nights, we went for a meal, then a short walk around the camp then a beer and bed. That night, my husband spent the whole night watching a mouse foraging for the food we had to bring out of our car and keep in our room. At 2.45am, the wolves were howling and cars were leaving -- possibly to look for the wolves. The next ...Read More

San Francisco - Jewel in the Crown

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Fishermans Wharf Photo, California, United States
Quote:
And so we were on our way to San Francisco. It took about 45 minutes to cross Bay Bridge. We had a little problem finding our hotel because the map I had got from Mapquest.com seemed to be sending us the wrong way -- instead of going up Van Ness, it took us to the Embarcadero, but it gave us a glimpse of what was to come, and when we got back on Van Ness, we had fun counting the roads to Lombard. After checking in, we got a map from the reception desk and they pointed us in the direction of the bus to Fishermen’s Wharf. The fare was $1.25 per person -- the journey was about 15 minutes and then a few minutes of walking from the bus stop. It was like a different world. There were fish ...Read More