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Oh my goodness, you guys really are not having the luck this trip at all! It's been bad enough with the high temperatures and the close call with the battery (I was holding my breath reading that bit), but then to be broken into as well. Good grief, I hope things rapidly improve for you from here on it...
Oh my goodness, I can't believe your battery died AND the van was broken into. I hope your luck gets better soon on this trip. At least the thieves didn't break the van window. That would have been a hassle to fix.
Thursday June 7/ Day 10 I woke up around 5:30am and quickly got showered and ready for the day. I then woke up the others to do the same. This hotel did not have a breakfast, so we had mini muffins. I needed to stop for gas before officially hitting the road- but then we were off. Other than the 2 or 3 small towns along the road, 29 Palms Hwy is a very deserted road with long stretches of nothing- thankfully I was able to enjoy it this time with my full tank of gasoline. We had less than a four hour drive to San Diego. We arrived in San Diego just after 10am and headed straight for the USS Midway Museum. This is a Navy ship that is known for the extreme amount of hours logged on the water in war time. We really enjoyed this place! I had anticipated this being a 1-2 hour tour. I was mistaken. We could have easily spent a half day here or more… The ship was HUGE. They had men who had served on this ship working here and they wore yellow hats so that they could be easily identified. These men were a wealth of information and really personalized the tour. They also provide you with self guided audio equipment and it was so easy to navigate and the audio had men who had served on the ship providing their personal memories- it was soooo wonderful! I had been disappointed in the Alamo’s audio devices/recordings- but this was simply wonderful! You walked up to various exhibits and touched your device to the little stand and it had a recording of someone who had been on the ship tell you about their experiences. I just really can’t say enough about this place…. We started out on the middle of the ship where there were several airplanes. There was also a food court and gift shop. There was also an upstairs that took you onto the “roof” where a ton more airplanes were stores. From there you could go into the admirals quarters and also several other places. We got a true tour of this vessel! We got to see the kitchen, the food line, the post office, the barber shop, the sleeping quarters, the control rooms, etc…. EVERYTHING. The place was so huge and it was like a maze- but they did a wonderful job with signage, the audio equipment, and tons of staff- Anyone going to San Diego should visit here- Even as I type this I want to go back and see it again…. At 1:30pm we still weren’t done…. But we were starving for lunch. We had plans to eat lunch in Little Italy. There was only one section of the ship we had not visited- so we quickly glanced at it and left. Technically you could get your hand stamped and returned but we were tired and decided we would just call it a day. We left both vans parked here and walked one mile to Little Italy. It was an easy walk as the temperatures barely hit 70 and there were no significant hills. Dillon had found a place on the way he wanted to eat and so we ate there- the name was Memas or something like that. I had fettuccini alfredo. Winston had the kid’s pepperoni pizza. Austin had a specialty pizza and the other three all had chicken parmesan. It was good, but not necessarily any better than Olive Garden. For dessert- I ordered three molten lava cakes and the six of us shared (two/two/two). It was delicious and we left full…. We walked a mile back to the vans and drove to our hotel. Back at the hotel we just hung around the room and I also did laundry. Two of the kids had leftovers for dinner. The rest of us had microwavable items for dinner- I have an assortment of mac n cheese, canned ravioli, and ramen noodles to choose from. As I type this I’m still full enough from lunch to skip dinner…. If I feel hungry before bed, I’ll throw something in the microwave… Tomorrow we will be visiting the San Diego Zoo… Friday June 8/ Day 11 San Diego Zoo I was awake before 6am this morning, after I showered and got ready I woke up everyone else to do the same. The hotel provides a continental breakfast. There were a handful of things to choose from and while it wasn’t the best breakfast, it was sufficient. We were ready to head to the zoo pretty early, but we just sat around the room until a few minutes after 8am. Just after 8am, we headed out for the zoo. We packed in sunscreen and bottled waters. We arrived at the zoo before 8:30am and there was no line to purchase tickets. I had originally wanted to pre-purchase them online but in order to get the 10% discount with my AAA membership I had to buy them in person and show my membership card. Thankfully there was literally no line to get tickets. Once we got our tickets, they scanned them and let us into the zoo. The zoo didn’t open until 9am and once in we were roped off. But it was shaded and the temperature was in the high 60’s- so we were comfortable waiting. Finally at 9am- they opened the zoo. We had been studying the maps they gave us while waiting for the zoo to open, but still found it disorienting. We ended up visiting the reptile house first followed by a few other animals in that general area. We then went to the petting zoo. The petting zoo was a let-down. Our local Atlanta Zoo actually has a much better petting zoo. But I will go ahead and say that was the ONLY let down- generally speaking this zoo was phenomenal. The San Diego Zoo has sooo many animals. I saw several animals that I had never seen “in person” before including camels and porcupines. We took a “Sky Safari” ride (sky buckets) through the air across to the back of the park where we continued viewing more animals. We also used their bus transportation that was on a constant loop which helps you to save some of your walking when you want to visit a different section of the park. We used this “free” service twice. We ate lunch around 11:30am and a quick service type restaurant. I had nachos. Dillon and Wesley had chicken tender baskets. Winston had pizza. Austin had a burger and Madilyn had buffalo chicken sandwich. The portions were large and while overpriced- reasonable/what you would expect to pay inside the zoo. The drinks however were outrageous- $5.75 for a soft drink. No thanks. Thankfully we had carried in bottled waters plus they provide complimentary iced water- which we got with our lunch. We enjoyed our meals and after lunch we continued touring the park. They have a 35 minute bus tour through the park that I really wanted to take but it just never timed out for us to do it…. I especially loved seeing the giraffes as their exhibit was closed at our most recent Atlanta Zoo visit. We did miss out on the Panda Bear exhibit. The line for it was ridiculous and we visited the Atlanta Zoo not long ago which has a pretty nice Panda exhibit- so we decided to skip the line…. We also missed the penguins which I had really wanted to see. The zoo was a maze and we somehow missed them when we were in that section of the park. When we realized it later- we were all getting tired and I just couldn’t see backtracking for one single animal…. Even though I truly wanted to see them… Finally about 2:30pm, we headed out of the park. We really could have stayed until the 6pm closing as there was so much to enjoy here. But we were tired and felt satisfied in what we had seen. So we called it a day…. Once back at the hotel, we just relaxed. I spoke on the phone with my sister who is flying into Los Angeles tonight to spend the next week with us before flying back to Atlanta. She has an 8:30pm flight out of Atlanta but with the time difference- she will arrive at 10:30pm California time. We will be meeting up tomorrow at California’s Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Oh my goodness, I remember just how amazing both the USS Midway and San Diego Zoo were from our visit there all the way back in 2006. I'm with you - I couldn't believe how much there was to do at both and you could easily spend much of the day at each of them. Amazing places!
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I've got a trip planned for CA and based on your description, I have now added the Midway to my list. Sounds like a fascinating place.
The SD Zoo is lovely, but I do remember when I went last my only gripe was that drinks were exorbitantly priced. There'tourist prices,, and then there's downright stupid prices. And back then I thought $3.75 was bad. Sheesh, $5.75
Saturday June 9/ Day 12 We had a 2.5 hour drive ahead of us this morning. The plan was to drive straight to Six Flags Magic Mountain and meet my sister (and her two kids there) at park opening (10am). We left a little later than planned- but not my much. We could have arrived at the park by 10:30am but Wesley really wanted to see if our hotel room was ready. I really didn’t think it would be, but after the car break-in- I really did like the idea of unloading the vans rather than having all of our belongings in the vans in the Six Flags parking lot. Much to my surprise- the room was ready! How wonderful and unexpected. We only had one single room here. It is a family suite and sleeps 6 people. It is a nice hotel and a nice room but as the kids get older, it is really preferable to have two rooms and especially two bathrooms! We have one other family suite booked later this trip, but other than that- we always have two rooms. I’m making a mental note that going forward we have outgrown the family suites and to just stick with two rooms (even though it is often more cost effective to get the family suite than two rooms- which is why I got it in the first place). We went ahead and unloaded both vans into the room and put on sunscreen for the parks. We were getting our passes and mugs to walk out the door when we realized we could not find Wesley’s season pass. We looked and looked- no luck. I was seriously concerned he had possibly set it in the van console and it was taken the night of the car break in. After looking everywhere- I was convinced it had been stolen from the white van especially since they had been petty enough to take our national park pass. ***I’m going to jump ahead and tell you that Wesley found his pass in his swim shorts pocket later than night*** Once at the Six Flags we headed to the will call to report that his pass had possibly been stolen and at the very least- it was lost. Because this isn’t our “home” park- they could not replace his card. However they gave us a one day admission that included his meal plan on it and also explained that we could download the Six Flags app and it would work as a pass- you can scan it at the gate instead of the actual pass. This app ended up being awesome! I can’t believe we didn’t know it existed. We downloaded everyones passes onto it and now we don’t have to worry about keeping up with the passes. You can scan your phone for park entry and you can also scan your phone for your meal redemptions. It also has park maps and you can put in where you want to go and it works like a GPS giving you walking directions to the attraction or eatery. This is a wonderful app that I’m so glad we now have. We finally entered the park and we were really hungry so we headed off for some lunch. I had a chicken sandwich. Most of the kids had chicken strips as usual. It was very hot outside. I was thinking we would be experiencing much cooler weather here- and I suppose it was cooler than the triple digits we had in Texas, but it was still getting to around 90 each day and I had expected it to be much cooler than this… The park was very, very busy- but this is probably the most efficient Six Flags I’ve ever visited and they move the lines along at a pretty steady speed. We rode several things including an indoor shooting 3D type ride and a few water rides among other things… For dinner I had tacos and they were not good. Dillon and Austin had them also- Austin agreed with me, they were too dry. But Dillon enjoyed his… Madilyn and Winston had Chinese and I can’t remember what Wesley had- probably chicken strips. After dinner we headed out of the park and back to the hotel. Once back at the hotel- we went swimming for a bit…. Winston was really excited to have a younger cousin to swim with- the older kids have not been much into swimming this trip and swimming with me isn’t as fun as swimming with a cousin/friend! After our swim, we went to Wal-Mart and stocked up on groceries again. I realized I left my debit card in the bag we had taken to Six Flags. Thankfully the Wal-Mart is just a quarter mile from the hotel and Madilyn ran me the card. Wesley called while I was shopping and said the a/c had went out in our room and they couldn’t fix it tonight and they had no rooms to move us to. Thankfully the window could be opened and we had a box fan- between those two things and the fact that the temps went down decently overnight- we still slept well. I would have liked a slightly lower temp in the room- but we were fine… **They did fix the a/c the next morning** The next day we would be bound for Los Angeles….
Sunday June 10/ Day 13 We had been all over the place as to how to tour LA. There were hop on/hop off tours we considered…. There were full out tours we considered… but none really did exactly what we wanted. The main things we wanted to do were see the Hollywood Sign, see the Walk of Fame, see the Chinese Theater, and visit Santa Monica Pier. To do all of those things on the hop on/hop off tour would require switching lines several times and it just sounded too complicated. To do the full out tour- they focused on celebrity homes which none of us were really interested in…. So we decided just to give it a go ourselves. We left the hotel by 7am after eating breakfast (hot breakfast provided by the hotel). We went to the Griffith Observatory first. It was closed because it was only 7:30am, but we were still able to enjoy the views of the city and the long distance view of the Hollywood Sign. Up next we headed to the Walk of Fame which was very shady and dumpy. Parking was prohibited, but because we were out and about so early on a Sunday morning- the place was bare. We let the kids walk it and take pics along the way while Bre and I drove the vehicles along side them. They walked several blocks doing this until it ended. I’m sure there was more to it- maybe more roads with the stars? But we were fine to call it a day. We also got to see the Chinese Theater along the walk/drive. This section was a little busier than the rest of the walk/drive. The kids hoped back into the vehicles and we headed for Santa Monica Pier. The rides at the pier were not open yet but we enjoyed walking the pier and just taking in the sights. We also spent some time on the beach. Winston and Cousin Dejaun had an absolute blast getting pounded by the (freezing) waves. The rest of us didn’t go past our knees as the water was ice cold. We had a great time touring Los Angeles. I’m sure we would have enjoyed a tour but we were satisfied with what we did see…. On the way back to the hotel- we ate In and Out Burger. We enjoyed our lunch. We hung around the hotel for a few hours relaxing and then went back to Six Flags for a few hours and to eat dinner there- I had a tuna croissant and the kids had an assortment of other things. Tomorrow we are bound for Disney Land.