Friday, 13 September 2013

Holiday Post Part 4 - Oceanside and San Diego

After our night in Palm Springs, CA we headed south to the California coast and the lovely beach at Oceanside.  The town was recommended to us by a taxi driver on our way out of Las Vegas and we weren't disappointed.  We arrived at a reasonable hour this time and we were able to call into the local Tourist Information Office where two lovely ladies gave us oodles of information about the area and California in general.  Probably the most important bit of information they gave us was the location of a car park in the harbour where we could park up our van overnight for a lot less money than it would cost us on a camp site so we headed there first to check it out.

When we got there it was rammed with cars, trailers, vans and campervans as it was Sunday afternoon and everyone was at the beach with their families, eating, hanging out and just generally relaxing.

We managed to squeeze the campervan into a tight spot and headed out onto the beach for a couple of hours.  Here's a picture of the beach complete with volley ball nets, taken from the car park the following day, which was right on the beach front.

It was a lovely beach, with a pier a bit further along and a rocky harbour wall that you could walk to the end of.  As the evening wore on families drifted away and the car park gradually emptied of vans, save about a dozen that like us stayed overnight.  In the evening we took a walk around the harbour which had lots of small restaurants and shops, some with entertainment.  It was a lovely little spot.
By 10 pm it was quiet and we were able to get a good night's sleep.  We were woken at 6am the next morning by the beach clean up team who were clearing up after the busy weekend.  We didn't mind as we normally woke up pretty early anyway.
The next day we spent the morning on the beach.  Unfortunately, by this time OH had come down with some sort of virus and wasn't feeling well at all.  He had spent a dreadful night shivering and feeling cold and as  consequence he stayed in bed most of the morning trying to sleep it off.  I, in the meantime went for a swim in the Pacific Ocean with Little Bird.  It was great fun as the waves came crashing in.
In the afternoon we headed into Oceanside itself, to seek out a particular store that Little Bird had wanted to visit.  It was a craft store called Michaels, it was huge and filled with every kind of craft item you could ever possibly imagine.   We also paid a visit to a local Target store, which is a supermarket chain in the US, and did a bit of a food shop as we were running low by now.   All shopped out, we then headed back to the beach car park as we decided we would stay another night there as OH was still not feeling good and was not well enough to drive any distance.
Later that afternoon we decided to have a walk down to the pier before the tide came in and made it difficult to get there along the beach.  The pier itself was lovely. 
There were lots of people fishing the whole length of it and at the very end was Ruby's Diner. 
We couldn't resist going in and having a drink and a milkshake.  It was a super retro style American diner.  Here's the gumball machine as you walked in. 
 If you got a red gum ball you won a root beer.  Little Bird got one on the way out which was unfortunately too late for us to  try it, but I was quite curious to know what it tasted like.
We were seated in a booth like this.
I loved the uniforms the staff wore.
We just stayed for a drink as we were intending on having fish and chips for supper, from a kiosk at the other end of the pier.  OH started feeling unwell again so he headed off back to the van to sleep and Little Bird and I ordered our fish and chips and ate them and then set off back along the beach, stopping to clamber over the rocky harbour wall before returning to the van for the night.
We'd had a lovely couple of days in Oceanside, but early the next day it was time to move on to San Diego a bit further south along the California coast.
It only took us a couple of hours to get to San Diego, but finding the camp site that we intended to stay at took a while longer as we got a bit lost.  We managed to get some help, ironically from a woman who used to live in Brighton of all places, who sent us off in the right direction.  We were also able to book into the site early so by lunchtime we were hooked up again and went off to the small inland beach which located on the campsite where we remained for the rest of the afternoon.
That night we headed into San Diego Old Town which had a very Mexican feel to it.
  It was quite quaint with lots of little shops, bars, restaurants.  We had a wander around.  I loved the colourful doily-like bunting adorning some of the restaurants.  (Apologies about the quality of the photographs here).
The next day we were moving on again but before we did I managed to get some washing done in the campsite's laundry.  I was shocked at how inexpensive it was.  I paid $1.50 for the wash and $1.25 for 40 minutes in the dryer, which completely dried everything.  Some campsites we stopped at were cheaper still.  I couldn't believe it.  I can pay up to £7 in London to do a wash and then dry clothes, if my washing machine breaks down.
Before leaving San Diego we drove downtown for a look around and drove over to Coronado which is an island that you get to via a very high road bridge.  We felt a bit vulnerable crossing the bridge in the van as the bridge sides weren't that high.  We stopped off in Coronado to watch fishermen on the pier.  One even caught a sting ray which a tourist then tried to grab in the region of it's stinger.  Not to be recommended.
We then headed to where a US naval aircraft carrier was docked and has been made into a museum.  It was huge and we wanted to stop and take a look, but unfortunately parking the van was impossible in the vicinity, so we had to carry on on our journey.  This huge statue of a sailor kissing his girl is sited just by the museum.
With hindsight, we would have liked to have spent more time in San Diego.  There was plenty to do and see here, but we were aware that time was becoming an issue so we pressed on.    
 In my next post we continue our journey to Los Angeles, visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame, spend a night in Malibu and a day at Santa Monica Beach.


  1. Don't you just love looking back on holiday photos? On a drab today like today it's so refreshing!

  2. I know, at least blogging gives you a chance to, as the holiday itself gets forgotten soon enough once you get back into your normal routine.

  3. Lovely post. Sorry to read your husband was unwell. Mine caught a virus while on holiday a farm in Cornwall... turned out it was appendicitis !

    Lovely to read about all these places I've never been to.