Holidays Our little holiday diary

California 2001 Part Two


Sunday 30th Sept.

Alf had something different lined up for us today. In commemoration for the firefighters of New York, in the aftermath of 9/11, a Volunteer Fire Brigade in a small township called San Pasqual held a Fund Raising Breakfast. We stuffed Pict0037ourselves with sausages, pancakes and scrambled eggs. We bought Tee Shirts to help the fund. The brigade took delivery of an old Fire Engine that had kindly been donated by another Fire Brigade some distance away. The rather ancient (and I mean that kindly) firemen swarmed all over it excitedly. The played with it for hours while we were there.

A very enjoyable morning. After lunch, we went into San Diego and spent a happy hour cruising round San Diego bay, passed all the US Naval ships and under Coronado Bridge. We finished our time in San Diego by Pict0040booking our hire car for our trip to Las Vegas starting tomorrow. After studying the maps carefully for an hour or so, we decided to have an early night to get ready for our little jaunt tomorrow.

Monday 1st Oct.

Up bright and early, had our breakfast, loaded our car up and we were out on the road by 8.30am. What a brilliant start to our trip up to Las Vegas. As we went the top way last time (via Death Valley), we decided that this time we would loop round the bottom way. Having set off so confidently, we promptly got lost, not once, but twice before we had even got out of San Diego!! Anyway, with the help of a couple of locals, we were put on the right track and away we went. We headed out across Highway 8 through Elcentro till we turned left onto Route 95, up past Lake Havasu and Fort Mohave, through Boulder City, Henderson, and looped into Las Vegas from the top and to our amazement arrived right outside Hotel Cortez. Easy!! We have never experienced valet parking before and it was rather a strange feeling to see someone just drive off with the car, not knowing where he was going with it. (We needn’t have worried). When we booked in we were asked if we wanted a view of the mountains or a view down the Strip. We opted for the strip view. After unpacking, we ventured out to get our bearings and decided to have a quick look along Fremont Street, the original bit of Las Vegas with the covered roof. We made a note to come back here again to try and film the roof show. Back in our room, we experienced our first real view straight down the “Strip”. It was brilliant. We moved some furniture around in the room so that we could sit on the settee in the window and just gaze around Las Vegas.

Tuesday 2nd Oct

Got up and had breakfast in the hotel, we were very pleased with the food and said we would eat there again. We then decided to have a walk back around Fremont Street again in the day time and did some shopping. We went mad and Diane bought a pair of trainers and sock to go with them. Back to the hotel where Diane had a nap for about three hours. I just sat there enjoying the view. Late afternoon and we made our way down to the far end of the “Strip” intending to visit every one of the big hotels along the way back. I think we managed about a third of them and then gave up. We made a rule to gamble in every hotel and we rated the hotels for enjoyment, and wow factor. We played the slots and depending on how well the hotel scored we spent in multiples of 5 cents in the slot machine, with 20 cents being the maximum per hotel. (We know how to gamble when we get going!!). I was also filming as much as I could.

Wednesday 3rd Oct.

After breakfast, we headed off down the “Strip” again, full of good intentions. We ground to a halt when we went into Caesars Palace. It was like walking through a full sized Italian city. There were moving statues, shops and light shows. It kept me happy for hours just filming. (Mostly rubbish of course). We then moved on to the Mirage and caught the “Volcano” in action. Next on the list was “Treasure Island”. Unfortunately the show had been cancelled, so we will have to try again tomorrow. We were now beginning to feel rather weary, so we called it a day and went back to the hotel for an evening meal (rib eye steak) and early bed.

Thursday 4th Oct.

Up and out to try and visit more hotels along the “Strip”. We made a mistake by going back into the Circus-Circus. We stayed here the last time we came to Las Vegas with my brother. This time, just a quick look was enough to show us that Pict0124the hotel was now very tired and was in desperate need of updating. Next stop was a trip up the Stratosphere. A hotel that dominates the Vegas skyline, towering about 1,100 feet above the “Strip”. It was a great experience both going up in the lift and the panoramic views from the top. A lot of the visitors were crawling on their stomachs to the window in order to get a good view straight down. We had our portrait done up at the top, it’s a caricature really but we like it. Then it was off to Treasure Island where we finally managed to film the naval battle between a British Naval ship and an American Pirate ship. The only thing left to film today was the Fremont ceiling which we managed with me lying flat on my back on the pavement for most of the time.

Friday 5th Oct (My 65th Birthday)

Packed up and left Las Vegas (I was sorry to leave) and headed back to my brothers. We went via Red Rock canyon. I managed to leave my hat in a café in a small town called Baker. We had to take the hire car back also today. Alf and Denise took us out for a very nice Chinese meal in celebration of my birthday.

Saturday 6th Oct.

Pict0143Went into Ramona for breakfast and then did a bit of shopping, mainly for stuff to bring home. I then got a surprise 65th birthday present from Alf and Denise. They had booked an hours flying lesson for me in a Cessna 152 and I actually flew it for most of the flight. My first ever flying lesson and it was incredible. I could ramble on for ever about it but I won’t bore you. I would just like to add, as we took off the instructor handed over the controls to me saying, we can turn left or right. If we turn right, we will fly along the California coast line. If we turn left, we will get shot down!!! That way would take us over San Diego bay which has a large naval base and being only a few days after 9/11 the authorities are still rather twitchy

The same evening, we went to an American football game between San Diego Aztecs and Indianapolis Panthers. San Diego. We left a little early to miss the traffic but San Diego were winning easily anyway. That was one hell of a day and birthday!!

Sunday 7th Oct.

A big comedown after yesterday. We went for a stroll and paddle along the beach before coming back, having a BBQ and packing for our journey home.

Monday 8th Oct.

After a quick breakfast, Alf ran us to the airport (mainly to make sure we went I think!) and we had a very uneventful flight home.


The last couple of days seem like a bit of an anti-climax, doing very little but I couldn’t see any point in writing anything just for the sake of it.

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