Southern California Trip 2007

9/28 Going to San Diego

Going to San Diego (DTW-DFW-SAN)

Woke up at 3:45am, stretched my body then took a quick shower. Left apartment around 4:30am in the darkness, I still can see stars and the moon. I think this is the earliest time being outside since I have moved to Michigan because the other time I took a plane was departing time of 7:00am. Beck Rd was on construction but I had no problem since there was no traffic. However, I had to be careful driving since I was a bit behind of schedule. I entered the I-96 east then I-275 south, drove in less crowded freeway down to the airport so I could not speed much, arriving just past 5:00am. I used usual blue deck and found a very convenient spot for parking on the first floor.

Walked to the counter and checked in my baggage. There are many people like me going out of town in this early. Passing the security and walk toward the gate. The boarding has begun justas I got there, unable to find a water bottle at nearby the bookstore, I went to Quizno’s in the same terminal to grab a big one then I went inside the plane. I miss the days when 3-1-1 rule was not in effect. (I heard wireless devices, including Nintendo DS, will be prohibited to be used in the cabin soon because of its wireless connecting capability could cause malfunction of aircraft's equipment.)

AA640 DTW-DFW 6:00AM-7:40AM

Still dark outside. 6:00am wasn't like that in a couple of weeks ago (summer is over) Sun coming up from the east at DFW

AA0640 Arrived at DFW

The plane departed to the south on time. Very much smooth ride toward the DFW, just few bumps. I wish I could tell where the position was since it was still dark. The only thing bright outside was a moon in the sky, and some city lights on the ground. I had nothing to do so I took many short naps but inside of the plane was too cold. After in the place for 2 hours, finally got up near Dallas Fort-Worth International airport. Arrived around 7:20am but was a bit too early so the jet bridge was not ready yet, stuck in front of the gate for about 5 minutes, and surrounding trucks could not move, either. Hahaha. I was just watching the Sun coming up from the horizon. After got out the plane, I am free from cold cabin for now. Dallas is sure still warm.

AA1789 DFW-SAN 8:25AM-9:25AM

AA1789 at DFW El Paso, TX Yuma, AZ
U.S. Naval Base San Diego Bay San Diego, CA

I was already informed on the connecting gate information, so took Skyline to the Gate D. Watching the planes taking off and landing as moving to the terminal. While waiting in front of gate, I checked out Sony’s vending machine containing PSP, and its software, MP3 players and memory sticks, DVD-Rs. I know there are similar ones selling iPods and other items. I think tricked out automatic vending machines are getting popular these days. You can use credit card, and airport is sometimes boring. What a nice opportunity for those companies wanting to sell stuffs. After getting onboard, the plane departed to the south on time again, seeing many wind firms right after taking off, imagining myself what oil rich state like Texas is doing. For the environment? Or for the future? The plane took smooth ride to the west, after 2.5 hours, the plane finally starting to descend. Unfortunately, the destination was under cloudy sky. I got to see the much of downtown area before the landing. Arriving at the gate around 9:20am. I am so ready to get out and go sightseeing.

I called a friend from college since he paged me while I was in a plane. I talked to him while I was waiting for the baggage claim to start working. Picked up the baggage, went to the Hertz rental car using a shuttle bus. I requested for a Toyota made, and they gave me a 2008 Toyota Corolla S. However, they showed me a different price from the reservation, so I had to ask them to double check. The original was around $25/day, and they offer me at $45/day, not a chance.

Coronado Island

Midway 2008 Corolla S Bridge to Coronado

After successfully getting a rental car deal, Around 10:35am. I went to a pier and saw aircraft carrier Midway, and 76 (USS Ronald Reagan) and 74 (USS John C Stennis) are at the port. I have gone though the place before so not much to check. On the way coming here, I was checking on a travel guide for Coronado Island, it was also on my friend’s recommendation list so I drove up to the historical hotel there. Set up a destination and start driving on the road, after passing the bridge, I saw a gate but no toll, except there was a Police Station, so I drove slowly. Finding the place to park was very hard since the only spot left had both sides of line was covered by a Mercedes S-class to the left, and Toyota Sequoia to the right. I managed to park my car (I should have taken a picture of it) Spend 11:00-11:30 walking around. The lighting at the lobby was such a great decoration, and the was a hallway on the down stairs for their historical background. They had Marylyn Monroe and Thomas Edison visited the place. Many of Spanish building have a courtyard in the middle. I was not surprised to see it, though. I walked to the back and been to the beach. Seeing a military ship was a bit depressing but the beach itself was pretty nice. It would be pretty romantic to be there in a way. While I was walking around, I felt a bit hungry (11:00am here is already 2:00pm in EDT) but I am assuming this kind of place has very pricy food, so I did not want to have any (The parking itself is already $10!)

Balboa Park

San Diego Aerospace Museum

Convair YF2Y-1 Seadart Bee Gee R-1 Bell AH-1E Cobra Douglas A-4B Skyhawk
Pitts Special Ryan X-13 Vertijet
MiG-17 Ford 5-AT-B Trimotor Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina MD F-4J/S Phantom II
Mitsubishi A6M7 Zero Northamerican P-51D Mustang Curtis P-40E Warhawk Boeing GPS-12

San Diego Zoo

Next was the park. I looked up on navigation unit, and found Balboa Park, and I set the course. I just drive back on the bridge, I went straight to Air & Space museum, saw the only existing GPS on the earth. They had several other exhibitions like Catalina, AH-1 Cobra, and Sea Dart (a Delta winged jet with ski for over the ocean operation. (arrived there around 12:00). After I am done, I walked around and saw a couple of buildings. They had an outdoor theater, a Japanese tea house(the sign say “anise” since it was damaged) found a visitor center, got direction to the zoo. On the way walking toward, I saw a snack shop so I decided to get a late lunch. The line was pretty long (but better than the restaurant which was 20minutes wait) Placed order at 1:00pm, after finish eating hamburger and fries, I finally got to the zoo. The admission was quite expensive but the exhibits were placed closer so I got to enjoy Stayed between 14:00-16:20pm.

Checking in at Hotel

After the zoo visit. I set the navigation unit to the hotel. Entering street address just gave me a direction which I just need to follow. Drove up to I-5 North, but since it was in the evening, the road was packed with cars. I did not have any restriction on entering but soon, I start seen so many cars coverging to the I-5. I drove up for ?miles and finally arrived at Carlsbad, CA. On Poinsettia Ln.

La Quinta Inn. One of the best deal I could find...

Arrived at the hotel around 5:20, since there is not much Japanese last name, the guy at the hotel did not have hard time finding my reservation. I got a key and went into the room. It must be a bit older design or something but it was okay. Turning on the air conditioning but I did not set it too cold. Relaxed, wrap up on today's activity and relaxed a bit. I spent a lot of money on parking so I used navigation unit to look up for a first food place but not to fatty. I went to get a sub at Subway around 6:30pm, my favorite Italian BMT. There were two teens at the store, and one of them was chilling his Starbucks cup in store’s fridge (I bet it was a health violation) Coming back to the room, I was a bit tired due to time zone difference, and  from driving in a crowded condition Relaxed, watching TV for a while, planned what I want to check out tomorrow, went to bed around 10:00pm

9/29 Going to Los Angeles

To Long Beach

Woke up at 6:00am, had quick breakfast at the hotel around 6:30, I made a waffle and an apple. Left the hotel for Los Angeles around 7:20am. The sky was not clear but much better than yesterday. The weather forecast says it will clear up so going to Hollywood should be the last.. I drove up north on I-5 first, seeing many cop cars so I only went +5mph. The navigation system says I should use a toll road (the toll booth looked like a diner or James Dean Museum used to operate at Indiana), so I paid $4 and kept driving. I set the course to Torrance airport, but my first stop was to see Queen May, a cruise liner built long time ago. I switched from freeway ? to 110?

Driving along Pacific Ocean Dana Point Going up hill Toll booth at CA-73

Long Beach

RMS Queen Mary

Arrived at Long Beach to see RMS Queen Mary around 8:50am, The black and white colored ship build back in 1934 retains its beauty. I could see a lot of rivets, bulky, thick steel plates on the surface, indicating the old time engineering and manufacturing method. The position of the Sun was not good since I was seeing the front of the ship against sun. I could not take good pictures. I tried to get a over all look, but the some places were blocked and a tower was hiding some part of the ship. So I did not get to see the whole thing. Walking around, seeing a firefighting ship spraying water, I got an idea that I should be going to the opposite side of the shore, I decided to go to the aquarium which is directory across the pier. I got out of the parking lot but since I parked only for a while, it was free. I drove for 5 minutes and found a place to work. Since it was a port, there was a place for running but not crowded as having a beach there. I snapped a picture and I think I am done now. I had to park at two different locations, but both of the times I parked only for half hour, I did not have to pay. Yeah.

Finally got to the museum in Torrance Airport, I was hoping to see the YF-23, but the museum did not have it nearby. Hmmm. I was told that the place used to make Nike SAM, now has it and I can only see it between the buildings. Had lunch at Jack in a box nearby the museum. The sky is clearing up, I should be heading to Hollywood now.

To Hollywood

The freeway system in LA is pretty big...

Los Angeles

Capital Record

Hollywood Bowl

I set the new destination and start driving. They had a Walk of Fame registered on the location list. Good.. This time, I went through the downtown Los Angeles, Arrived around 12:15 at Hollywood Blvd to check out the Walk of the Fame and Chinese theater. I had to drive around since I have not clue about the location. I parked at near by paid $10, which I could save more if I park at real public parking which was only for $4.00. I just walked around, seeing many famous people’s name. I think they will be honor to see their names here, but from the person who is only looking at the names, they are nothing but a piece of tiles on the road. The stars are located not only at Hollywood Blvd, but some other adjacent roads also. I found there is a Ripley's museum and also Capital Record, other well known companies. I think I am done looking around, it's time to go but let me get some postcards. Left 1:40pm, Stopped by at Hollywood Bowl around 2:10pm, Some band group was practicing but my head was remembering the scenes from Tom and Jerry.. Before leaving the Hollywood, it is no way not seeing the big HOLLYWOOD sign close. I entered the keyword on the system, and saying “Can only take to the place of good view!?? Oh well, Drove for a few more minutes, I get to see Hollywood Sign around 2:30pm. I found it was not possible to take a close look since it is located in the middle of the road.

Going back to San Diego

I thought about going Santa Monica beach or Beverly Hills, but I was tired and concerned about the traffic, so I headed back using I-5 south. The road was totally packed. The signals at the freeway entrance was taking effect and limiting the cars to flow in. Since I was not going fast, I decided to call up a friend who I have not talked to for a while. He is working on his PhD in MSU. The traffic becomes clear as I drove to south. Driving back was smoother after that, I only drove on I-5, not toll road like I did in the morning.


Come back to the hotel around 4:30pm, relaxed until 5:50pm and headed out for running. There was an entrance for the beach (I was not sure if I had to pay for it or not) I ran for a while, watched sunset around 6:45pm, running back to the hotel. Running on a beach was totally cool since it was breezy and the ground was wet but firm (but why there are so many rocks?) Just only need to watch for the salty air which makes my skin feel a bit funny. There are many people watching the sunset, many couples also. After taking shower, I drove up to get dinner at Applebee’s but the place was quite busy so I went to Quik Wok nearby. Their fried rice was alright. I brought it back around 8:00pm. Spent evening just writing cards to friends, going to bed around midnight.

9/30 Going back to Detroit

Woke up at 6:00am, had the same kinds of breakfast around 6:30am, left the hotel at 7:30am, drove up to a post office nearby to mail. I found one at downtown area of Carlsbad. They have a quite nice environment. Domestic ones were fine but the machine did not let me buy 80cents stamps so I used automated machine to buy one stamp at a time. Since I did not want to be late, I left the place and get on the I-5 for San Diego bound.

Going back to the airport

Before heading back to the airport, I wanted to enjoy a bit more so I drove to Old Town around 8:30am, part of San Diego. It says the place is the birthplace of California. Left there around 9:12am, refuel the car, returned it to the rental car center. The place was packed to I had to wait a bit to even enter the facility. Went through the security, had lunch (sub) around 10:00am. The place came to the gate late so the plane departed 11:20am, about ten minutes late.


Going back to Detroit (SAN-DFW-DTW)

AA878 11:10AM-4:05PM

AA2438 5:25PM-9:00PM


The plane arrived to DFW 4:10pm (It’s only 2.5 hours flight but changes time zone twice, so felt longer than actual. Had 10 pieces of chicken nuggets from McDonald’s. The plane to DTW tookoff on time, I could see the outside for a while but getting darker and darker. About one hour into flight, I start seeing lights of the town (before that, moisture in the air prevented me from seeing the ground because it was so hazy) Passing Indy around8:10pm. I could not tell, though.

AA2438 at DFW Typical Texas stormy clouds, still warm enough to get showers

Flying over Indianapolis, where used to be my hometown about half year ago

Arrived to DFW around 8:55pm, waited for my bag to come out. I see a couple of people getting mountain gears. I am not sure where they went, but walking in mountains would be cool. Drove back to home, the outside was getting chilly so I miss San Diego...

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