Day 46 - Grey Day on the Pacific HighwayJune 6 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C
Woke up to a grey dank day on the South Californian Coast. A weather check revealed that the temperature wasn’t going to rise above 18 degrees today anywhere between Los Angeles & San Diego. In the next 5 days it was only going to get up to 21 degrees. This was not satisfactory, we wouldn’t be staying.
Over breakfast, (I had about 10 skinny sausages on bagels), we hatched a plan to cruise south down Highway 101. We would then spend tonight in San Diego & head east the following morning to sunnier climes.
Full, we set out to Huntington Pier, then followed State Route 1 / Highway 101, it gets really confusing, south as planned through the grey gloom. Even playing the Beach Boys full volume didn’t lift the clouds.
Huntington Beach looked very nice, if it had been sunny! We drove through Newport Beach, didn’t like it for amongst other reasons it felt too corporate & had a power station at one end. Next was Laguna Beach, which was our chosen stop if the weather had been nice. We would have been happy here, a small cove-like beach & independent motels & restaurants.
Unfortunately, it was still cloudy, bordering on cold, despite people persevering on the beach. We continued through Dana Beach & San Clemente, before arriving at Oceanside, the film location for Dirty John. We parked up at the harbour, saw a seal, then walked to the esplanade. It was a real disappointment, it was either bright & tacky, selling over priced fish & chips or just grey & dull. So glad we hadn’t booked to stay there.
We pushed on through Carlsbad, Encinitas & Solana Beach before arriving in the outskirts of San Diego. We drove into La Jolla, which I had pencilled in as place to stay, but it didn’t float our boat. I’m sure the weather played a big part in our opinion. Anyway, before we knew it, we were driving along Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, past San Diego International Airport & to Harbor Drive.
The imposing sight of USS Midway in dock caused us to park up & investigate further. With 40 minutes on the meter, we had a hurried run around in the harbour. USS Midway is now a Museum & was crawling with Japanese tourists. From the harbour side we could see about a dozen aircraft on its deck.
We decided that was good enough for us, so we walked along to the ‘Unconditional Surrender Statue’ of a Sailor & lady kissing on the dockside. It appears identical to the statue in Portsmouth Docks, possibly a different uniform & undoubtedly much larger!
We also visited the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military, which was a number of life sized sculptures stood round listening to the statue of Bob Hope, together with a soundtrack of him speaking playing on a loop.
It was all very nice, however it should be pointed out that the harbour was riddled with beggars & homeless. A lot had congregated around the public restrooms. Both the gents & ladies cubicles had no doors on, presumably to prevent people locking the door & sleeping in them. Jackie had the misfortune to walk in on a woman just sat there having a wee!!
It was now 4.30pm, San Diego was heaving, so we made a decision to head east. We started on Highway 94 & within less than 10 miles we were in blue skies & the heat was rising noticeably. At La Mesa we picked up Interstate 8, which took us out past El Cajon, Alpine, Pine Valley & Boulevard. We then passed through the wastelands of the Jacumba Mountains Wilderness & just a few miles from the Mexican Border. Despite looking, we couldn’t see a wall!
We stopped at Ocotillo for fuel & a coffee then arrived at our destination, El Centro. I had never heard of it, until I read about it in my guidebook only this morning. It has nothing of any great significance, but it has all the major restaurant / takeaway chains & it is 50 feet below sea level.
We booked a room in the Super 8 Motel for less than $50, including breakfast. As we pulled up, the police & paramedics were dealing with someone who looked to be having a fit on the opposite side of the road in Del Taco car park. We unpacked & popped to Del Taco for a burrito (my first) then returned to our balcony area to enjoy the warm balmy evening with a beer, whilst helicopters from El Centro Naval Air Facility buzzed overhead. It is also the winter home of the Blue Angels.
Song of the Day - Pacific Coast Highway by The Beach Boys.Read more