Time to turn North for a while
Not to sound like a stuck record, but another beautiful morning to wake to in Oceanside and time to inch our way further south, this time on to Mission Bay.
Before departing, Chuck decided to check the air pressure in the tyres and horror of horrors, the new tyre was sitting at 30 lbs less than the other tyres, which we set on 80lbs. So back to the tyre man to find out we had been hoodwinked! He had put on a passenger tyre and not a heavy duty tyre and looked most surprised. 'What, why no appy with one with les air?'. He gave us the address of his manager who was at a tyre place about 8 miles further south and off we went. The staff there was great, within no time the tyre was off; exchanged for a heavy duty tyre and we were on our way.
We needed a well-earned coffee, as well as needing to refill our large water container at Walmart. This is a great idea in the USA – you buy the 5 gallon container for $6.00 and then when needed, you can refill it at most Walmart stores for $1.75. Certainly a lot cheaper than the normal bottle water story. The shop we visited the previous day, did not have the dispenser for doing this refill. We were lucky to find both at the Forum and had a wander around the shops.
If only we had more baggage allowance - as it is such fun going to the shops right now. They have merchandise for Fall, Halloween and Christmas! I could have purchased so much for Christmas, but alas my suitcase was already heavy when we left Australia for our trip, so I dare not! The purchases which we made at the Salem outlet shops, my dear friend Trish, took back to Australia with her.
Sunset at the RV Park in San Diego
Anyhow back to our story.....we decided to keep going into San Diego, to see if we could sell the scooter – our time on the road is coming to an end and we doubt we will be using it in the next few stops. We found out no ways Jose! One cannot sell a vehicle in California, which has covered less than 7,500 miles and is registered in another state. This is to prevent purchasing vehicles in eg: Oregon, which has no sales tax, and then bringing it into California which has huge taxes. So we need to wait and hopefully have more luck in Nevada, or Arizona, where that restriction does not apply. We were lucky to have found parking directly outside of the scooter shop and within a tick we were on the freeway and into Mission Bay and parked and settled in at Mission Bay RV resort, San Diego
Halloween - The Pumpkins are out in full force in the Stores
In order to get to the city we took an Uber. How this Company makes a profit, we don't know. We had a ten minute drive, which cost the sum of $4.86 which was less expensive than two bus tickets would have cost us!
We started our day with once more, a hop on hop off 'trolley tour'. Basically we purchased a ticket each valued at $39 and this gave us a full day of hop on hop off. As we had done in San Francisco. We did the full two hour tour and thereafter, decided where we wanted to stop and explore. Funny thing here, in San Diego.......there were not enough hours in the day! We so enjoyed the enthusiasm of the drivers, each giving the history of the city as we toured round. We discovered that San Diego receives even less rain than Los Angeles, average of 10 inches (250mm) per year! The Uber driver told us 'man, even if it drizzles here, the drivers cannot cope'.
The Airport has only one runway.....amazing as every 90 seconds a plane lands and another takes off and boy, do they take off low! We thought we may have decapitations with the RV, you need to try standing in the flight path of these guys, and then you will know about potential decapitations!
We enjoyed the harbour/port area, Old Town, India Street of Little Italy and Gastown. Coronado was just stunning and the views as we went over the Coronado bridge were beautiful. Coronado is a city of its own, it has its own mayor etc. The stone sculptures on buildings in the Balboa Park area were so beautiful.
Stopped at a Pub on the Pier for a much needed drink - and took a Selfie
San Diego has it all, great climate, an annual average temperature of around 20, vibey, very orderly, clean, graffiti clear, and to my mind 'the city of beautiful sunsets'. Hard to believe that we were only 15 minutes from the border of Mexico. We had such a good laugh as one of the many drivers was saying to us ' if you cross the border to Mexico, do not take a hire car, you will return with no tyres and no mirrors.....oh well, who needs those to drive anyhow'. The driver was then asking where his passengers were from. One chap piped up saying 'I was listening with intent when you spoke about going into and out of Mexico and returning sans tyres and mirrors.....I remained quiet, but that is where I am from'. Big OOOps.... from Alex the driver and he was very compimentary, from there on, towards Mexicans and that person. Alex was amazing as he had pizazz and interacted so well with all of us, he was great.
An aside here, when we hailed our bus with Alex driving, the bus was full, so I said 'we are from Australia, surely there must be space and we don't have to wait 30 minutes for the next bus?' He let us on with open arms but then honed in on us. Asking us if Mel Gibson was Australian.....are we part of the Commonwealth etc. he also happened to mention Ugg boots and Chuck took great pleasure in educating him that they originated in Australia.
The famous "Kissing" Statue - this is the way Chuck greets me everyday!
The Star of India sailed during Abraham Lincoln's time, and still sails today
San Diego Bay
It's been quite a mission, (excuse the pun), for us to find propane of late. We tried at Huntington Beach and Oceanside, but to no avail. Each morning we turn on the gas for our morning cuppa, we hold our breaths and then.....Hooray, we still have propane (gas)!!! The park we stayed in at Mission Bay, had a chap who fills up gas in RV's, but only twice per week. So off we set to find somewhere we could get our propane refilled.
We stopped at Pacific Beach, but no joy there. Anyhow we had a lovely vista over the Pacific Beach, sat for a long while watching a very experienced kite surfer on a foil. We also watched about one hundred surfers bobbing up and down in the water, waiting for a wave.
From here we drove to La Jolla (pronounced Lahoya) where we found a lovely coffee stop, in real cups for a change. Mostly the coffees have been served in take away paper cups or huge mugs. We realised we were just on the outskirts of La Jolla, so off we went deeper into La Jolla and on the way, I spotted a propane dispenser so we made a hasty stop and now we don't have to hold our breaths anymore, wondering if we will have gas for the stove!
La Jolla was very pretty, upmarket homes and shops, boutiques etc., and a beautiful bay to boot. All in all a lovely day of exploring the seaside.
Two interesting things about San Diego are that when certain parts of the city were built, they were purposely designed without any of the old alley ways which were used as service lanes, thus preventing people from loitering about. The other is that golf buggies are quite legal to drive around. They are registered just like a motor vehicle is and it was a common sight to see them on the roads, even with baby seats in them. There are also 'valet parking' signs all over, for drivers convenience.
Our last night in San Diego; boo hoo (boo for Halloween), 🎃 but boo hoo because we have enjoyed this place so much. We decided to take an Uber into Old Town and have dinner. Surprise, surprise....our driver was the first female Uber driver we have had, she was Roxy. She was brilliant, grew up in San Diego, she was a pretty blonde 25 year old very helpful lady and pointed us in the direction of where to eat. Roxy.....we chose your suggested Italian restaurant which was 'Bellisimo'. We had a lovely evening with pre dinner drink at a pub and then called for our Uber home. Another surprise.....this driver was another female, Erica. She also grew up in San Diego. Whereas Roxy was as white as the driven snow, Erica was as black as the ace of spades; both lovely ladies. Erica had a full time job, but drove an Uber, whilst her six year old daughter slept, so that Erica could afford to take her daughter to Disneyland for her next birthday. You rock Erica!!!
Sadly we had to leave this beautiful coastline and head for the desert.....we might have to trade the RV for a camel and don our keffiyehs.....watch out desert here we come!!!
A Selfie of us having drinks before Dinner
As we waved farewell to San Diego, it was not long before the ocean was behind us and the desert ahead of us. The drive took about three hours, using the Highway 215 and 15 most of the time. I still get anxious in these eight lane freeways, with traffic whizzing past at a rate of knots. Most of the drivers are great, well mannered, know how to merge etc. However as in all cities, you get one or two hoons who weave in and out or cross a solid white line at an exit, just to beat us.
We knew we had arrived in Palm Springs, when we popped over a hill and saw miles and miles of wind turbines, quite an amazing sight and of course they tell a story....a story of wind. We had heard about wind storms in this area and held thumbs that we would not experience any during our stay.
Picture above taken on an iPhone from moving car so not the best, but gives an idea
It had been difficult to find a place to stay, as a rock concert was taking place. Wish we had known about this beforehand. It was a 3 day event, and some of the artists performing were Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, the Who, Neil Young and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters. Would have loved to attend. Apparently there were around 140,000 people there. After calling around, we had a place to park and a lovely resort it was too. Emerald Desert RV Resort. Andrew and Debbie also stayed here, whilst doing their trip, a year ago.
Oh goodness, the heat of the desert was quite apparent and within minutes, the RV's air conditioner was working hard and cooling us down.
Some of the road names leading us in were
Gene Aultry drive, Bob Hope Road, Sonny Bono Drive, Frank Sinatra Drive. However ....Kalahari Drive led us to our camp for the night.
Once again no fires allowed, but they did have grills over at the clubhouse, so we were able to cook with gas. We'd forgotten how much quicker this method is, compared to waiting for the coals on the barbecue. We had the entire courtyard to ourselves and took advantage of the lovely area of the clubhouse, pool and surrounds.
We aimed quite early in the morning, for the Aerial Tramway (cable car), but stopped on the way, in downtown Palm Springs. We found a lovely courtyard area with shops, boutiques and cafe. This is a big 'rainbow nation' area and they have '90 Gays of summer' I read in a magazine! Palm Springs has one of the largest per capita gay populations in the US and the region has more gay-themed hotels and resorts than any other city in the world. I am sure our friends J & D reading this right now, will be booking their flights to PS! After relaxing in the shade whilst trying hard to spot hummingbirds, we continued on, in the direction of the aerial tramway.
Courtyard for Coffee
We had about a half hour drive to get to it. Once there, it was a very steep drive up to the parking area, which was already at a 1000 foot elevation. Once parked, a bus took us to the entrance of the cable car, which took us 8,516 feet up into the San Jacinto Mountains. This is apparently is the world’s largest revolving cable car. It takes 80 passengers and there are only two others, one in Switzerland and of course, and the other in Cape Town. It is the second steepest. Not only were the views across the desert amazing, but it was a wonderful reprieve from the heat. The temperature at the top was a cool 30 degrees Fahrenheit less, than down below. We lingered and lingered and enjoyed the cool air, sitting amongst the huge trees, listening to a Woodpecker pecking, taking in the nature around us, but eventually we had to make the descent. It was 18 C degrees on top of the mountain and 35 degrees C below. I had to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius but it should be more or less correct.
Some films and TV shot at the tramway were:
PS I love You
6 Million Dollar Man
The juxtaposition of the green trees at the summit and the harsh desert landscape below
The Aerial Tramway
We needed to fill the RV up with gas and stock up the fresh goods and head for our overnight stay at Indian Waters RV park.
There was an incident in Palm Springs the day before we arrived. Two policemen went to a house disturbance where there was a dispute and both officers were shot dead. The police woman had only recently gone back to work after giving birth to a baby girl......my heart breaks for that family/families affected and what they are and will be going through. I would like here, to praise our, (all nations), nursing staff, police officers, fire fighters, paramedics for their dedication in what they do for the safety of us. Thank You!!!
We have noticed that the further north or east we drive, the shorter the days have become.
We were chatting on our last evening here and, realised that we only had another eight days in the RV, before putting it in storage. Then five days in NYC before we see our beloved family in CT.
So much to see and do before then and the scooter to sell also. We placed an ad on Craig's list in Las Vegas and the phone has not stopped ringing! Let's hope we get a good clean sale, once we arrive in LV.
🎶🎶 Viva Las Vegas! .....🎶🎶
....and we were on our way to visit our friends, Steffi and Andre Agassi.....well we hope to spot them loitering around somewhere! Chuck has read his book, we have both watched them play tennis over the years, so we do know (of) them, nudge, nudge, wink, 😉 will check 'the strip' in Las Vegas and keep you posted.