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Old 06-29-2012, 09:40 AM   #91
OhioStateBuckeye
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Day 9: SD Safari Park

This park was also extremely confusing to us. I don't think the paths were marked very clearly, a few times we went down a road/path and ended up dead ending into an employee only area. We got lost and backtracked a lot, and we became pretty darn crabby after a few hours.



warthogs are one of my favorite animals, but these guys will have to do for now















Love the meerkats, look at the one guarding, and the other looks dead (but was not)


duck crossing!


The gorillas were pretty active




These guys were so interesting, I loved how tall they stood. They also blended into the background super well, we watched them for a while so we saw a lot of people glance into their pen, miss them completely and walk off






so cute


Those kids and their crazy 80's hairstyles...


Such good standing, good job buddy!


Paths, you are confusing and I hate you


I think kitty wants a belly rub
And yes, we walked by the lions about 20 times cause we kept getting lost. We didn't mind all the repeat visits though in this case.






The gorillas were another bright spot. I wish I could remember the name of the baby, it was something distinguished like Winston or Reginald.



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Old 06-29-2012, 10:00 AM   #92
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San Diego Safari Park




We had fun hanging out with this 'duck'


What a cool guy






Wish I could have got better pictures of the California Condors








I'll give the hits and misses. starting with hits:

-The lions were awesome.
-The condors were very cool.
-I loved the antelopes that stood up.
-The meerkats
-The gorillas

Misses:

-The tram, lot of variety of animals, not a very immersive experience
-The giraffe feeding. I wanted to do this very badly, we waited by the giraffe feeding area for about half an hour and the giraffes never came over.
Not the zoos' fault, but still disappointing.
-I found the park's paths confusing.
-We shared a lunch and I thought the food was outrageously expensive (this coming from a girl who just visited DL, Universal and numerous other tourist traps).
-Seemed like there was a lot of renovation, the whole tiger area was being redone.


We ended up leaving around 2. We were majorly crabby and burnt out, and our feet were killing us. I am not sure if I would have enjoyed the Safari Park more if I'd been rested, I kind of think it wouldn't matter. I was a little sad we'd gone to the Safari Park instead of the zoo, I'm sure I would have enjoyed the zoo more.


Goodbye!


that cactus is sweet


hugs





To further add to our troubles, we got lost trying to find a cheap gas station on the way back. Then Brian's phone (our gps) died and we got lost
looking for the hotel. We drove around lost for about an hour before we finally found our way back.


Cheapest gas we saw, but it was debit card only
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:01 AM   #93
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Loew's Coronado Hotel

We were supposed to be getting ready to head to Old Town for shopping and dinner, but we definitely needed a few hours to nap and recharge.

First we decided to explore the hotel (really we were looking for snacks and did some exploration on the way).


Only hotel with a bird house like this is awesome






The hotels' tennis courts


View from in front of the hotel looking across the water


This is from our room balcony, you can just see that really fun looking bridge (I'm sure it has a name, but I don't remember it)








hallway carpet was interesting



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Old 06-29-2012, 10:24 AM   #94
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Old Town San Diego

Fast forward through nap and relaxation....and we actually ended up having one of the best nights of the trip!








It started with driving over the giant bridge, I didn't know we were going to drive over it and I was so excited! I am deathly afraid of driving over water,
I have nightmares of being caught in my car in water, but for some reason I really wanted to drive over it anyway.










I loved how low the planes got in relation to the city, and this was the best picture I could capture of that



There is free parking outside of Old Town, its under an overpass and in kind of a shady looking little area, but once you are across the street Old Town is actually real nice. We got there kind of late, around 5, so the little museums were closed, but it looked like most of the shops were open.




I needed to finish up my souvenir shopping. I still needed to get my dad something for pet sitting and I wanted to get my little sister something too,
not so sure she did any work with the pets but she was still there.



















Sorry there are a ton of pictures here, I just loved the look of the town.







Old Town is pretty cool, it looks just like an old Mexican/wild west village you would see in the movies. I had fun looking around in all the shops, I
eventually ended up buying my mom a tin angel (cause I spent so much on my dad she needed something else), my little sister got a skull bracelet and I got my dad a hand made leather gun belt with spaces for the bullets (I knew this was the only gift for him when I saw it, even though it was pretty costly).


This is a very geeky yet somehow kind of cool saddle purse that was at the same leather maker's as my dad's gun belt


I love ridiculous stuffed animals

And I also got some jewelry for myself, I got to pick the stones then match it up with a necklace/band.
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:27 AM   #95
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Old Town San Diego

We ate at Casa de Reyes which I loved.



















I'm not a big Mexican food fan, but I loved the restaurant ambiance. We sat outside by a heater and I may or may not have got a bit tipsy off our one huge shared margarita (cough one and done cough).


Pictured: bucket sized drink










Seriously scary horse, he looks crazy








I don't really agree with tree or cactus writing/carving




Everything was closed by now, so we made it back to the car and the hotel, where we did a bit of packing and sitting on the balcony.





I was pretty sad cause it was our last night, but I think we were both ready to get home and sleep.

UP NEXT: USS Midway and then to the airport

QUOTEABLE QUOTES: None today

LOWLIGHTS OF DAY 9: getting horribly cranky at the Safari Park, and then getting lost afterwards

HIGHLIGHTS OF DAY 9: the ambiance of Old Town and going over the big bridge.
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:58 PM   #96
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Ok first off, SUPER COOL BIRD CAGE! I love that! Little finches are my favorites <3

I love old town San Diego. There are so many neat things to look at. Too bad they were closing when you got there. But still, there are a lot of things to look at when they are closed. The picture with the staircase and succulents - reminds me of the stair way in Disneyland. I think it's known as Angel's Flight? Neat pic.

Funny too - My name is also Rachel. Alright gotta run, doggie wants out *now*
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:28 PM   #97
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I've really loved your thread! Thanks for all the work you've put into it.
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:58 AM   #98
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I've so enjoyed reading your trip report and all your great photos!

I'm so glad you did get to go on the Transformers ride after all!! I can't wait to do that...

p.s. loved Captain Jack's tips!!
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:34 AM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khiori View Post
Ok first off, SUPER COOL BIRD CAGE! I love that! Little finches are my favorites <3

I love old town San Diego. There are so many neat things to look at. Too bad they were closing when you got there. But still, there are a lot of things to look at when they are closed. The picture with the staircase and succulents - reminds me of the stair way in Disneyland. I think it's known as Angel's Flight? Neat pic.

Funny too - My name is also Rachel. Alright gotta run, doggie wants out *now*
I know, right?! I want a bird cage like that...cept the bird's house would be bigger than mine.

Well hello other Rachel, nice to talk to you You should come over and join me on my pre trip report for WDW. I don't think anyone is there yet...probably cause I only made one post and then got distracted by this trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by limace View Post
I've really loved your thread! Thanks for all the work you've put into it.
No problem! This was my first trip report so I hope I did a good job. I also think I'm going to really appreciate having made this trip report in the future when my memories of the trip aren't as fresh. You are also more than welcome to jump to my WDW pre trip report, its going to be a good one! MNSSHP with sweet costumes, the Tower of Terror 10 Mile race (my first race...probably should have went with a 5k, but I go big or go home).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Velvetia View Post
I've so enjoyed reading your trip report and all your great photos!

I'm so glad you did get to go on the Transformers ride after all!! I can't wait to do that...

p.s. loved Captain Jack's tips!!
Feel free to drop by my new trip report too! Transformers is honestly the most incredible ride I've ever been on (and remember, I have been on Universal Florida's Forbidden Journey, which previously held the title of most awesome ride). When do you get to go??

Lol, I'm glad you liked Captain Jack's tips
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:09 AM   #100
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Day 10: USS Midway

Another early morning!



I think we were both dragging this morning, but we knew we were coming down the homestretch so we trudged through final packing.

This is what Captain Jack occupied himself with while we were packing and cleaning up:








He thought he saw some rum down there but I convinced him not to jump.


The hotel exit




The big bridge again!




My Mom would always play the license plate game (find a plate from each state) when we were on vacation, so I took this in her honor.

The plan had been to stop downtown at a farmer's market on our way to the USS Midway. Brian had been to a school conference in San Diego a year prior and remembered a good farmer's market...except it wasn't where it was supposed to be.


Random downtown shot



So we gave up and made our way to the Midway. We had found coupons for $2 off admission online, so we used those.

















The Midway seemed pretty busy, and in the next dock was the USS San Diego. The SD was a few days away from being commissioned, so there were drills going on all morning preparing for the ceremony. Most, if not all,
of the people working on the Midway seemed to be retired military and they were pretty excited about the SD.


The USS San Diego

Last edited by OhioStateBuckeye; 07-03-2012 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:28 AM   #101
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Day 10: USS Midway

We spent a few hours running around the Midway.






Looks pretty cozy to me!








Do you guys have those couple of pictures that are just like...why did I take this??


It pays to have a higher rank








Master Chief! I love Halo (the videogame)








Brian loves penguins

















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Old 07-03-2012, 11:39 AM   #102
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Day 10: USS Midway

It was a pretty good time, most of the ship you just explored on your own, but there is a guided tour for the command center of the ship. One warning here: there are some pretty tight and steep staircases you must ascend/descend. If that could be an issue for you, you might want to skip this part.




Captain's Quarters are pretty nice


















The only bad thing was the school group that was exploring the ship as well. There was one little girl we continually ran across who decided it was a cool thing to act afraid of all the 'mannequins' and scream real loud if she saw one. Yes little girl, so cool.


Yes, maybe a little frightening. But not 'shriek so loud you ruin everyone's hearing in a 5 mile radius frightening'




There were a couple planes available for photo ops


I always wanted to be a fighter pilot when i was little. I think I coulda handled this.


And this.

I think we tried to wrap up around noon since our flight was at 2. I highly recommend the USS Midway as a good pre-airport activity, it is about a 5 minute drive away. Brian was interested in one shirt in the gift shop, it was a green button down with some of the popular air force pictures you could see on the planes (wow, that was a good description), but it was $70! So we passed.




Goodbye and Good Luck USS San Diego!



We found a gas station along the way to top the car off, then we dropped Lil' Miss off at her home and took the shuttle to the airport. I was so happy to see the airport! Mostly because I hadn't eaten anything today yet, but yeah.


Random city shot

Also, thank goodness we brought an empty suitcase, and thank goodness Southwest is an awesome airline that allows 2 free checked bags each. Because of the purchase of a new sleeping bag and all the souvenirs, we barely got everything to fit and ended up having: a giant checked suitcase that was right at 50 pounds, a garment bag that we checked for the flight back because we didn't care anymore if our good clothes got wrinkled, a 40 or so pound sports duffel bag, and a stuffed to the gills yet lighter duffel. Then we carried on a stuffed backpack, my red Puma bag and a grocery bag with breakable souvenirs. Ugh.

We had about an hour wait til we got to board and take off, during which time we had some very over priced quiznos. Yay over priced airport food!



I think we can see our hotel!




I love looking out the windows of planes at the landscapes, I think its very interesting









We switched planes in Phoenix, we were only going to have about an hour layover but it got pushed up to around 2 or 2.5. Only bad thing about that is we were originally scheduled to get into Columbus a little after midnight, now we wouldn't be back until 1 or 2 am. Ugh.

We spent the flight watching Game of Thrones and trying to sleep...I was exhausted yet I still couldn't sleep because of vacation keyed up ed ness. I should have brought some Nyquil or something.

The plane landed in good old Columbus around 1:30 am. We got a taxi for the short trip to my friend's apartment where my car had been safely living. I think the taxi was around $30 with tip. My friend dropped us off on our way to vacation, but there was no way I was even going to try to stretch the goodwill of my friends to pick us up after 1 am on a Wednesday night.

We were finally home! We stumbled into bed with all our bags and souvenirs and the other detritus of the trip strewed around us. It had been a great time.

UP NEXT: Nothing. Just an empty void of working and surviving until my next vacation. Hahah. But no really, I will write a vacation wrap up post.

QUOTEABLE QUOTES: 'Are they any scary fake people in this next room?!' 'Blood curdling shriek'. Ugh, little girl, get over it.

LOWLIGHTS OF DAY 10: the amazing shrieking wonder mentioned above

HIGHLIGHTS OF DAY 10: the pride all the retired military volunteers working on the Midway showed toward the new USS San Diego

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Old 08-02-2012, 10:44 AM   #103
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Summary of Trip and Looking Toward Future Trips

Just realized I never did my trip summary.

Final Thoughts on Trip:

I love love love California. Loved the weather, love the nearness of the ocean, love all the landscape (in PA/OH we don't have beautiful red wild flowers growing by the highway).

Next time...I definitely need to slow down. If there was a bad part of the trip, it was usually because we were exhausted and run down. I just need to convince myself that sleeping in or hanging around the hotel pool isn't a bad way to spend some time while on vacation.

Speaking of next time, there will definitely be a next time. I've decided that I would like to spend my 30th birthday in California. More specifically, in Disneyland. Even more specificer (made up words are awesome) in Trader Sam's.

My birthday is March 2, so I am hopeful that we'll just beat the Spring Break crowds. We really loved all the places we went last time, so we are going to try to hit them up again to see what we missed.

So we'll start out in San Diego, probably stay at Loew's Coronado again, hit up the San Diego Zoo, probably go to Old Town again, and hopefully find the time to fit in some water/ocean activities.

Then we'll head to Anaheim where i am hopeful to book the Disneyland Hotel Fantasy Suite (just for one night, my actual bday). We'll spend a few days at Disneyland, then head up north to Hollywood to repeat the Magic Castle club. This time, Brian wants to take some cheesy Hollywood bus tours (I agree). We loved our tour of Paramount Studios so we may try the VIP of WB. We are also hoping that Big Bang or The Price is Right will be taping at this time.

Anyway, thanks everyone for reading!

Even more thanks for everyone who joined in and posted! You lurkers best come out next time (or my weird pirate will get you).
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:19 AM   #104
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I really enjoyed reading your trip report, nice job. We took our kids to San Diego last year and thought the highlight was the Midway tour. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:34 PM   #105
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Saw your post on a WDW TR, and decided to click on your link. Enjoyed the "ride". Bet you're surprised after all this time people are still dropping in. Spent yesterday and today reading through it all. See you in March!
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