One of the problems of being on vacation and keeping a daily blog going, is staying ‘on vacation’ while keeping a blog going. It has become work. So forgive me if there hasn’t been any news for the past week – I got caught up on vacation. I’ll make up for it now with some highlights:
Our last day at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. We ride our bicycles through the neighbourhood for about 1 ½ hours, check out of the hotel and spend the next 2 hours luxuriating by the hotel pool and splurging on a poolside lunch delivered in bento boxes. Greek salad with grilled chicken for me. It’s time to leave and we head off to Yuma. It’s only 90 F. Yes it’s stinkin’ hot, but I’m not complaining! We settle in our campsite and have tortilla chips and gin and tonics for dinner – it’s enough in this heat!
It’s Cinco de Mayo day (Mexican Independence Day) and although it’s Tuesday, people seem to be in a party mood. We’re heading to San Diego and the terrain is spectacular as desert turns into mountains that look like huge piles of rounded rocks. And as we climb up the next hill, the VW’s accelerator cable comes loose. Yes, we’re on the interstate, it’s hot and thank god we’ve got extended AMA. We’ve got enough power to get up the hill and then for the next half hour we coast downhill into Alpine, CA and wait for the tow truck. Thank you Dennis, from Dick’s towing, for getting us to the auto repair garage and within an hour, it’s fixed and we’re on the road again.
We arrive in San Diego shortly after 5pm and find a parking spot in the Gaslamp area, downtown. An area like 104 Street in Edmonton where warehouses and office buildings have been restored mixed with newer residential buildings, hotels and shops and restaurants. I stop in at a World Marketplace and notice two quotes on the wall that are worth repeating. While not food related, they sum up our philosophy of our trip:
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” Lao Tzu
“The voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust
We stop at the Tin Fish restaurant by the convention centre and enjoy fish tacos and fish and chips: decent fresh faire.
We decide to ride our bicycles from the campsite to downtown San Diego (about 5 miles each way). First it’s a stop at the historic site of Old Town San Diego (think Fort Edmonton). A guided tour for an hour, gives us details of the beginnings of San Diego, its people, its historic architecture and life at that time. Highly recommend this if you are coming to San Diego.
We decide to stay on site for lunch and eat at Casa de Reyes. Burritos were so-so. Of all the Mexican food we have had so far, this is the most American/Chili’s style yet. Great atmosphere though, with costumed servers and strolling Mexican musicians that come to your table and sing requests.
Then it’s on our bicycles to continue our journey down the coastal road to the USS Midway, a de-commissioned aircraft carrier, which has been know to carry up to 1800 sailors. I can’t imagine all the provisions that would be required to feed that many.
Just a short ride on the pier and we find the ferry for Coronado Island. We have to get to the famed Hotel del Coronado, just for a drink at the bar! It’s about a 15 minute trip to the Island and we ride our bicycles to the west side to the hotel. It’s beautiful here. Quiet, lush and warm. The hotel is one of the only original wooden hotels left in the US and is it massive. We order drinks at the bar (Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc – which brings back memories of my recent culinary tour to South America as this was one of the wineries we visited that’s owned by the Grande Marnier Family) and sit outside overlooking the beach and ocean. I could get used to this…..
To La Jolla we go, taking the road along the ocean. Stop to take in the beaches, seals and sea lions. There’s a debate going on right now in La Jolla and where one group wants this particular public beach to stay public and the other wants it closed to seals only. Apparently this area has become a haven for seals that Sea World has put back out to their natural habitat.
We head a bit west to Temecula (north of Escondito) to southern California`s wine region to visit some wineries. First stop is Mount Palomar, who produces only 11,000 cases per year. We’re sold on their Solera Cream Sherry that’s aged for five years in aged wine barrels.
Next it’s Leonesse Cellars, who produce Rhone inspired wines and finally we do a last tasting at Keyways, the only female owned winery in the valley. Overall the wineries are well-run and opulent but have not yet come into their own. The wines were weak and not overly impressive...but give them time.
We find a camping spot at Pechanga RV Resort, part of a large native owned casino complex: very spacious and well run. We decide to do dinner at the casino, relying on memories of great food that David Cruz prepared at Sage at the River Cree. There’s room at Paisanos, an Italian eatery. We order a bottle of Wiens zinfandel (another valley winery that we stopped at, but it was far too busy for a tasting), and an order or arancini. I ordered the Pollo – stuffed with prosciutto and asparagus. It had the crispiest outer skin and was perched on a bed of crisp polenta and vegetables in a generous butter sauce. I’m pleasantly surprised. It was delicious and I regret not bringing a camera! Jon had a pasta dish that also passed muster.
On to L.A. Remember Burt Bacharach’s song Do You Know The Way to San Jose and the line LA is a great big freeway, put a hundred down and buy a car… well, there sure are a lot of cars and freeways. We find an RV park just a few blocks from Disneyland and park for the day and have a day off from travel and sightseeing to do laundry and read.
We’re off to Disneyland and arrive just as the gates open. It’s a sea of people and stollers. I’ve never seen so many strollers in one place in my life. We spend the next eight hours walking and taking in a lot of amusements. I’m pretty impressed with what we did and discover that I’m a closet roller coaster freak! If you’ve not been to Disneyland or Disneyworld, most of the attractions involve a roller coaster type of ride that takes you through the attraction and I love it!