Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back from the West Coast

After what seems an age and also a short time (odd, that) I'm back from the family holidays on the west coast of the states. I drove somewhere around 2,000 miles as our tour took in; 

San Francisco inc. Marin County, Monterey, Carmel, The 17mile drive, the Zoo, Golden Gate park, the city itself and all it has to offer (as well as a rather lacklustre Six Flags Magic Kingdom for Harry's birthday). We had a good time here and it was a pity that it was either windy or pretty cool for most of the trip - one day it was fairly dismal.

The majesty of Yosemite National Park, although this was short-lived due to pretty disappointing weather.

After leaving from the heights of Yosemite (some 4,500ft up at the lodge base and climbing to almost 7,000ft on the way down we drove to our hotel in Santa Monica, where the weather was gorgeous and the hotel a million miles away from the rustic setting of the lodge. The six hour drive went fairly straight forwards as the kids were kept amused watching The Simpsons courtesy of the in-car DVD player - which was a god-send.

Once in LA, we did the usual walk from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach, we toured Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverley Hills and Bel Air, had a great day at Universal Studios (prior to the fire!) and also took a great day out over on Catalina Island. We also found time to have a meal out with Cris Blyth and family and also a meal at his place, with Tilo, his young son Ronan and Tilo's folks.

From LA we flew to Las Vegas for the day, battling first a 3.5hr delayed flight (pretty crappy when you're only going for a day!) and then the extreme heat. Fortunately a day seemed a good call with the kids, who despite the heat and being asked to walk along the strip, enjoyed themselves and the magic show we'd booked at Tropicana.

For the final leg of the trip, we drove down to San Diego and stayed on The Coronado, a thin strip of land in the bay, which was beautiful. We had great weather and a very relaxing time here as we took in San Diego Zoo, Seaworld (where the kids had time with Dolphins and dined with Shamu), visited the main shopping Malls for Katrina and finally went to visit La Jolla/Torrey Pines.

The trip home was hassle free and the flight was almost an hour early due to 175mph tail winds! (Just 9hrs 15 or something from LAX to Heathrow) but this meant an almost 5hr wait until our Leeds flight connection, so despite being tired, I hired a car and drove it home - after collecting our excitable dog I collapsed into sleep...

Not sure where we'll go next year, it was a very active holiday and the kids got to see a lot - I just need a holiday of my own now to recover.

I've got 800-900 photos of the 2-3,000 I took to edit and stick up on Flickr at some point too.

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