Saturday, April 16, 2011

California Adventures

3 California Observations:
(1)  Speed limits are optional
(2)  There's not any billboards
(3)  Just because it's on the West Coast and sunny doesn't mean it's going to be warm and sun tannin' weather!

Ever come back from a trip and then need another trip to recover from it?? That's exactly how Mom and I felt after we got back from California Thursday morning.  We crammed SO much into a short amount of time but we had a lot of fun and got to see and do so so much!  We flew out last Friday ... very early flight.. left the house in TN at 4:30am for a 5 something flight from Chattanooga to Atlanta.  We landed in San Diego around 10am and were not the least bit happy to discover my bag had things missing (the side was open and items falling out) when it came around the baggage carousel.  We spent the next hour in line at the Delta baggage claim to get all that somewhat settled.  From there, we picked up our rental car and headed out to Coronado.  Very beautiful little place!  Everyone calls it an island but it's really a peninsula.  Pretty neat because you can actually see Tijuana, Mexico from there as well.  We walked along the beach for a little bit and then explored the Hotel del Coronado before having lunch at the outside grill.  Apparently it's like $400/night there..!  Mom and I thought it seemed a lot like a West Coast Greenbrier.   

At the Hotel Del Coronado

Gettin' some sand between our toes!
San Diego coast line from Coronado Landing

After we checked out Coronado, we decided to go by the Visitor's Center and get some information.  I had read about a 59-mile scenic drive that was supposed to have beautiful views and take you thru a lot of the local areas so we were interested in doing that.  Well, turns out the scenic drive took HOURS to do and at last count the 59-miles were closer to 80 but we saw some beautiful views, houses, rainbows and points of interest along the way.  By 9pm we were ready to find the hotel.  Friday and Saturday night we stayed in Old Town at the Marriott.  The hotel was in a perfect location, away from the downtown San Diego traffic, near tons of restaurants and right by the interstate exit.  Once we got checked in we were ready to crash.  The 3-hour time difference was starting to catch up, especially once we added in the very early hour we had gotten up to make it to the airport.  We ended up ordering pizza and calling it a night.

Saturday it was up and out early to make it to Anaheim to go to DISNEYLAND!!!  I was super excited to find out that we were going to be about 90 miles from Disneyland.  I've been to Disney World 3 times at 3 different times in life (4, 16 and 20) so I was really excited to see the original Disney park in CA.  Disneyland is MUCH smaller than Disney World.  There's only 2 parks - California Adventure and then their version of Magic Kingdom.  We just went to the Magic Kingdom park.  We got there around 9am and left around 10pm.  VERY long dog at Disney.  It was really crowded, apparently it was right in the middle of Spring Break - so we spent about 80% of the day waiting in lines.  I did get a special "Birthday" button so that made it a little entertaining.  We were hoping it would be warmer since we were off the water but Disney was still pretty cool.  The sun was out but it was windy and cool so we had to wear our sweaters all day.

We got SO sleepy driving back to the hotel.  About halfway back I had to have a "power nap" and we needed gas anyway so we exited.  After a 20-minute snooze and gas it was back on the road.  True story.. I had on a halter top under my sweater and the tie around my neck was starting to hurt so I had untied it while I was driving.  When I went in to pay for the gas I forgot the shirt was untied and almost flashed the little guy working the register!  Thank goodness my sweater was a wrap!!!!

Our favorites:
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Haunted Mansion
  • "It's a Small World"
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
The flops:
  • Captain EO starring Michael Jackson
  • Innoventions   
  • Storybook Canal    

In line at the Haunted Mansion

 Sunday we weren't in a big hurry to get up that's for sure.  We debated over whether to go to the Zoo at  Balboa Park or the Wild Animal  Safari Park about 30 minutes outside San Diego.  Someone told us the Zoo was all on hills so that helped with the decision, especially after we had been on our feet all day at Disney.  So up and out Sunday to the Safari Park.  It was a little warmer on Sunday so it was nice to get a little bit of sun!!  We had a good time walking around the Park and seeing all the animals.  They had a couple different things we hadn't seen before and there were lots of babies!!!  

After the Safari Park, we finished up our scenic drive and had dinner in Old Town at a really good Italian restaurant.  We switched hotels to the Marriott Marina right down on the water in the heart of San Diego.  We even got upgraded to a better room on a higher floor because it was my BIRTHDAY!!!  The hotel was beautiful and so close to everything.  

Monday morning I had to get ready to go to the SHRM Staffing & Selection Conference since that was the whole reason for the trip.  Plus, Monday was my 25th BIRTHDAY!!!!  The Conference was at the Hyatt which was the hotel right next to the Marriott so it was only about a 10-minute walk which was nice.  Monday was a short day at the Conference but I really enjoyed the sessions and speakers.

For dinner, Mom and I walked down tot he Gaslamp Quarter.  There were SO many places to choose from!!  It was a very unique area with hotels, shopping and restaurants everywhere.  We walked around the Hard Rock Hotel and bought some stuff at the gift shop before heading down the street to the Cafe for my birthday dinner.   

 Tuesday was a full day at the conference.  Another great day of sessions and speakers.  I'm glad I had the opportunity to attend because it gives you such a different perspective on what companies are doing to attract and retain the best talent out there right now.  Not to mention the impact that Social Media is now playing into companies recruiting strategies.  I have a lot of great ideas and opportunities I think we can apply at work. 

Tuesday night we walked down to the Seaport Village - another area full of restaurants and shops and right by the San Diego Bay.  We had dinner at a local place that overlooked hundreds of fancy private beautiful yachts.  Unfortunately, dinner there was not good at all for either of us.  You win some you lose some!  Our free Ben & Jerry's ice cream made up for it :)

Wednesday was the last day of the Conference and the General Session Speaker was the co-founder of HGTV!  She was such a great speaker and it was really awesome to hear about the start up and structure of HGTV - one of my all time favorite channels.  Who knew they were headquartered right down the street in Knoxville?!?!

After the conference ended, Mom and I scurried back to the airport to catch our flight back to TN.  We had a great trip and it was nice to get away together for a few days.  I'm glad she was able to go with me especially since it was my birthday - who wants to be alone on their birthday???

No comments:

Post a Comment