2024, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to San Diego and LA Day 1

In the first 40 years of my life, I went to California once, specifically to Anaheim, Los Angeles and Palm Springs. I went with my family and it wasn’t my favourite trip we ever took. Well, in the last year, I’ve now been to California twice. Last year we drove from Portland to San Francisco. And now we’ve gone to San Diego for the first time, with both of us visiting LA for a second time. Why go to California two years in a row? It’s a long story but basically we had to travel somewhere west because we traveled with friends and they live in a Canadian city with very few direct flights to the United States.

We got up early and took the usual limo company to the airport. Apparently I can’t type our address so the limo showed up at the wrong house but we figured it out. The traffic wasn’t terrible and we made pretty good time. Check-in wasn’t busy and security was less busy so we were inside quickly. We ate breakfast and I decided to start drinking at 5AM Pacific Time (a Caesar) to try to sleep on the plane. That didn’t really work…

We flew Porter to LAX. I didn’t even know they flew that far. The good news is that we paid a little bit more for “Porter Reserve” (or whatever it’s called) and we got extra legroom, booze and menu options. I’ve never before been served first on a flight, except maybe on a previous Porter flight where we were in the first row, but it was pretty nice. And it wasn’t much of an upgrade.

There were two downsides. The first row had a solid wall in front of it so I actually had less legroom than I do on some other planes in the bulkhead. The second problem was no TVs. So I ended up listening to Revolutions, doing crosswords and trying and mostly failing to sleep.

We got off the plane immediately and quickly found our way to the baggage carousel even though there was a massive sign saying “Do Not Enter” right next to the hallway to where you pick up your bags. (America loves its bad directional signage.) But then we had to wait for close to half an hour for our bags even though the plane seemed physically close. It’s possible it was on the other side of the terminal but we were able to walk through.

Outside we got our first glimpse of the traffic but didn’t fully register it. Our friends were parked in the cell phone lot and seemed to take forever to come meet us at the passenger pickup. We’d later learn why.

We started driving to San Diego. Unlike last year, I wasn’t able to drive, so I was lucky to sit back and look around at the endless sprawl rather than think about the traffic. In Huntington Beach (I think) we stopped for caffeine. The traffic was pretty thick until we reached the outskirts of LA. One thing I didn’t realize was that the thing that stops the sprawl between LA and San Diego is Camp Pendleton. And we saw a bunch of helicopters, including a very large one. The traffic wasn’t that bad in that stretch but then was inexplicably terrible in Oceanside.

As we entered San Diego we saw a massive cruise ship – probably not as big as I think – and a number of massive naval ships. Though we arrived in LA around 1 ish we didn’t get into San Diego until well after 5. (It might have been even later.) The biggest drawback of southern California as far as I can tell is that there are just way too many cars and not enough alternatives. (They don’t appear to lack for highways.)

We stayed at a restored hotel in the Gaslamp district, right near the baseball stadium. The Padres were not in town but it was a still a great place to stay with lots of options for food.

For dinner we headed over to Lost Abbey’s “Church” location but discovered the food options were not good. So instead we went to Half Door. There we all did flights – trying much of what we had – and had excellent burgers.

After we ate, we headed back to the hotel to take advantage of our free cocktails we got with our booking. I had a perfectly fine old fashioned. Then we went to bed as Jenn and I had been up since at least 3 Pacific. (I think I had been up since 2:30 Pacific.)

| Riley Goes to San Diego and Los Angeles Day 2 >>>>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.