A Travellerspoint blog

From the desert to the sea

California day twelve

View California 1991 on ToonSarah's travel map.

Farewell to Palm Springs

We left the Motel 6 early to drive into the centre of Palm Springs, planning to see it before the day got too hot. We found a car park and walked along the main street, which was still very quiet, and had breakfast in a pleasant café, Louise’s Pantry, with wonderful fresh melon. We took photos of some palm trees (of course) and the ‘Village Green’ with several restored buildings including a 1930s general store. As we returned to the car the town was just beginning to come to life and the sun getting hot.

In Palm Springs: palm trees and the Village Green

On the road

Leaving Palm Springs we drove through other desert towns such as Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert, and passed Frank Sinatra Drive!

2017 comment: this was a big deal as my mother was a massive Sinatra fan and I grew up listening to his songs on an almost daily basis.

Then we turned south and east on the ‘Palms to Pines’ route. This certainly justified its nickname, taking us up from the hot valley floor into wooded hills, with some great views.

Beyond the hills the land levelled out into a wide agricultural valley, and we passed several small towns, stopping in one to take a few photos. We drove through an Indian Reservation (no different from the surrounding landscape apart from the political graffiti on the rocks) and had good views in the distance of the Mount Palomar Observatory.

On the road to the coast


Our first main stop was in Temecula, which like some of the Gold Country towns had a real Wild West feel to it, but was less touristy (apart from a proliferation of antique shops).



In Temecula

Temecula murals

After a stroll around Temecula and a drink in a café there, we drove down to busy Interstate 15.

San Diego

This took us to our next destination, San Diego. Thanks to a photocopied street map we negotiated our way successfully into the city and found a car park in the centre of the downtown area, a few minutes’ walk from the Horton Plaza. This is a large and very colourful shopping mall, with pastel pink and violet arches, and flags everywhere.

Horton Plaza

We browsed around some of the gift shops and craft stalls, and were able to buy a couple of presents to take home. We also used the public phones in a very practical ‘services’ area (lockers, restrooms etc.) so that Chris could call a few music shops about buying a Rickenbacker guitar, but they had none in stock so he decided to leave it until we reached LA.

At Seaport Village

We found a nice sandwich bar in the mall for lunch (a massive filled croissant – Americans haven’t heard of light meals or small portions). In the afternoon we drove the short distance to another shopping area called Seaport Village. Unlike Horton Plaza, this was aimed very firmly at the tourist market – a sort of Covent-Garden-by-the-sea, with novelty and gift shops, entertainment and restaurants. It was a good opportunity to buy a few more presents (e.g. Amaretto-flavoured coffee beans).

We also enjoyed a walk along the sea front. The weather was almost perfect (warm sun, bright blue sky, slight breeze off the sea) and we had a lovely view of the Coronado Bridge over the bay and several ships passing under it. What we did not have was the view we had hoped to photograph, of the skyscrapers in the downtown area of the city. Despite this, however, and despite the lack of ice creams (for which we searched in vain), the area had a pleasing, relaxed atmosphere which we enjoyed.

View from Seaport Village

Page from my scrapbook

Towards the end of the afternoon we left Seaport Village and drove a little to the north of the city to Hotel Circle where our base for the night, another Motel 6, was to be found – after a little detour, as the rush hour traffic was busy and for once there were no courteous drivers to let us change lanes on the freeway.

We checked into the motel and made plans for the evening. We had considered visiting Sea World but the cost was high for just a couple of hours so we decided instead to visit the Old Town, only a mile or so from the motel. This is a group of restored buildings from the Spanish era in the town’s history, with several shops and restaurants. We explored the Bazaar del Mundo, with Mexican shopping and folk art, and ate at Hamburguesa, which combined Mexican food and giant Margaritas (for me) with various burgers and beer (for Chris). It made an enjoyable ending to a much more relaxed day.

Total miles for day: 147

Posted by ToonSarah 02:58 Tagged road_trip history california shopping seaside

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Hmmm showing a bit of leg at a stop sign in Temecula lol.

by Wabat

And in San Diego! Those were the days ;)

My apologies again for not responding sooner. I really must get to the bottom of this alerts business!

by ToonSarah

hahaha, you are so right , the portions of food are humongous in the States! :)

by Ils1976

Aren't they just! We've learned now that sharing is best, especially at lunch-time when we tend not to eat much

by ToonSarah

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