DAY 14: Checked out (using TV!) and went for the hire car. Once up and away, it was like driving on the UK’s M6 on a bank holiday and we had over 200 miles to go. We stopped at the first opportunity for a buffet lunch at Nevada Landing. The 4-hour journey took over 9 hours including 2 stops, a small detour and an incorrect arrival location. There have been a few misunderstandings between us and the SatNav, but we are all keeping our tempers!DAY 15: Took in the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in an attractive suburb called La Jolla (included a good view of the Pacific shoreline). We then found our way back through La Jolla streets and down to Spanish Landing Park situated between Lindberg Airport and Harbour Island. A relaxed walk, as the sun went down (16:30ish), along the water’s edge opposite hundreds, if not thousands of moored yachts. Passed several ‘drop-outs’ who all looked remarkably healthy, and mobile (on pushbikes). Followed this by another stroll from the moored aircraft carrier ‘Midway’ (one of many military and historical ships) to and through the ‘Seaport Village’ shopping area. Beautiful blue skies, not as warm as expected, lush green in comparison with Vegas with many attractive flowering plants such as Bird of Paradise and Bouganvillia plus Iris and Lilly varieties we’d not seen before.
DAY 16: We started the day in Balboa Park – having decided against the Wild Animal Park, partly on cost (58 dollars) and partly because we could do that at Longleat! Balboa was a large attractive area containing many elaborately decorated buildings (museums, galleries, theatre etc), fountains and neat plantings. There was a free tram service to get us about. The sky continues to be cloudless, but not quite as warm as we expected, similar to a sunny day in the UK’s late-Seprember. On leaving, we returned to Coronado for a stroll along its wide sandy Imperial Beach and a coffee on the terrace of the Coronado Hotel, a huge all-timber structure, with an ice-rink in the gardens.
DAY 17: We had to re-pack because of the weight restriction on the Tokoriki seaplane, before setting out for the Gaslamp Quarter shopping area - almost immediately we realised we’d not retrieved our passports and tickets from the hotel safe and, using the SatNav, tried to go back for them - several false turns later, we got back and set off again, again after several more false turns, we reached the Gaslamp Quarter. It turned out to be a city centre restaurant area which probably came to life in the evening. After a great ice cream sundae at Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Shop, we left for the Mission Bay area (with the SatNav sent to Coventry!) - we made it without hassle and discovered, beyond a large military area, a stunning clifftop park called Cobrilla Point. Then off to Fiji – the Saab plane that was to take us to Los Angeles was small and noisy!