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A SoCal Thanksgiving - The OC, San Diego, Catalina, Amtrak, Private Helicopter

A SoCal Thanksgiving - The OC, San Diego, Catalina, Amtrak, Private Helicopter

Old Nov 14, 20, 11:05 am
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A SoCal Thanksgiving - The OC, San Diego, Catalina, Amtrak, Private Helicopter

Off to San Diego

SFO777Jr and Mrs. SFO777Jr are visiting for Thanksgiving from Denver and we're thinking about a day in San Diego and a day in Catalina. Since it's been a whille since I've been to San Diego, I figured that I'd do a little pre-planning and take Amtrak's convenient Surfliner down the coast. A gorgeous crisp morning in South County and I arrived at the "station" 15 minutes before departure.







Amtrak Surfliner 564
San Juan Capistrano to San Diego Santa Fe Depot
8:22a-10:02a





Only three of us boarded here this morning with not many more thru pax on board from LA/north that I saw, at least in Business Class. The Amtrak Café is on the lower level of the Business Class car.



With a selection of snacks for purchase.





And Business Class upstairs.





With comfortable and roomy 2x2 seating.







And nice recline.



Business Class passengers were offered complimentary snack basket options of pastry or breakfast bar, and a beverage.



With free Wifi, which was quite robust this morning considering there weren't many passengers this morning.





I sat back and relaxed for the next 90 minutes as we journeyed south. Much of the early part of the trip hugged the coast and featured some beautiful scenery.





































San Diego International Airport.



Downtown San Diego approaching the Santa Fe Depot and terminus.




Last edited by SFO777; Nov 14, 20 at 5:38 pm
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Old Nov 14, 20, 11:05 am
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Postcard perfect weather on arrival. Even better than planned as we pulled into Santa Fe Depot 10 minutes early.



So I walked two blocks west to the Broadway Pier...



... just in time to catch the 10am Coronado Ferry.





Only 6 other passengers this morning for the quick 15 minute ride.









USS Midway Museum adjacent, which is on the short list to visit when we're back in a couple of weeks.



























Pretty San Diego skyline.















1P, SanDiego1K, lamphs and 2 others like this.

Last edited by SFO777; Nov 15, 20 at 8:45 am
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Old Nov 14, 20, 3:17 pm
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Received my November edition of Hemisphere magazine today and just finished their article on del Coronado and their on going rehab before catching your report. 😜 If you get it, worth the read. Looking forward to your Catalina review.

Last edited by glasman19; Nov 14, 20 at 3:46 pm
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Old Nov 14, 20, 4:11 pm
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Great photos!

Funny because I was in San Diego just last weekend and had literally walked right by Santa Fe Depot and down that sidewalk by the Intercontinental towards the bay. The weird 'shrink-wrapped' aircraft carrier was there too.
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Old Nov 14, 20, 5:22 pm
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That's going to be a great TR as usual!

Isn't that the aircraft carrier which was in San Diego already last year autumn - I believe I googled this one up and the ship is there for heavy maintenance which takes roughly 3 years or so and costs more than a billion dollars (don't quote me on that, cannot remember the details) In any case impressive for a European guy to see that thing in relative close proximity.
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Old Nov 15, 20, 12:28 am
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It was fun to see your pictures of Encinitas. The first picture shows the mosaic of the Surfing Madonna, very controversial when the artist surreptitiously installed it under the train tracks at night without permission. It's been moved a couple times and seems to now be in its forever home, roughly across the street from where it was first installed. The Self Realization Fellowship Temple is a real landmark in Encinitas. It will be beautiful to see it lit up for Christmas. It's followers have given land to the Fellowship that means some highly valuable coastal land is used for gardens to grow produce for those living at the Fellowship. Then there's the stretch of restaurants right on the beach at the south end of Encinitas/Cardiff starting with Pacific Coast Grill. Outside dining there offers a great view of the waves rolling in.
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Old Nov 15, 20, 4:03 am
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Good grief!! The USS Midway looks huge. Maybe I now regret never visiting, but I always chose Napa Valley as a quick break when I was in the USA on business. Priorities....
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Old Nov 15, 20, 8:34 am
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Originally Posted by glasman19 View Post
Received my November edition of Hemisphere magazine today and just finished their article on del Coronado and their on going rehab before catching your report. 😜 If you get it, worth the read. Looking forward to your Catalina review.
Thank you glasman19 and the for info about the Hemisphere article. It's on page 20...
https://www.hemispheresmag.com/wp-co...EDUCED_PDF.pdf

Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
Great photos! Funny because I was in San Diego just last weekend and had literally walked right by Santa Fe Depot and down that sidewalk by the Intercontinental towards the bay. The weird 'shrink-wrapped' aircraft carrier was there too.
Thanks very much cmd320. What a small world. Hope your weather was similarly beautiful.

Originally Posted by Duck1981 View Post
That's going to be a great TR as usual! Isn't that the aircraft carrier which was in San Diego already last year autumn - I believe I googled this one up and the ship is there for heavy maintenance which takes roughly 3 years or so and costs more than a billion dollars (don't quote me on that, cannot remember the details) In any case impressive for a European guy to see that thing in relative close proximity.
Thanks so much Duck1981. For the naval enthusiast, San Diego is a great place to visit and explore.

Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
It was fun to see your pictures of Encinitas. The first picture shows the mosaic of the Surfing Madonna, very controversial when the artist surreptitiously installed it under the train tracks at night without permission. It's been moved a couple times and seems to now be in its forever home, roughly across the street from where it was first installed. The Self Realization Fellowship Temple is a real landmark in Encinitas. It will be beautiful to see it lit up for Christmas. It's followers have given land to the Fellowship that means some highly valuable coastal land is used for gardens to grow produce for those living at the Fellowship. Then there's the stretch of restaurants right on the beach at the south end of Encinitas/Cardiff starting with Pacific Coast Grill. Outside dining there offers a great view of the waves rolling in.
Thank you SanDiego1K and for some interesting local flavor of a beautiful part of the country.

Originally Posted by roadwarrier View Post
Good grief!! The USS Midway looks huge. Maybe I now regret never visiting, but I always chose Napa Valley as a quick break when I was in the USA on business. Priorities....
Thanks roadwarrier. Indeed, you don't really appreciate the size and magnitude until you see in person and from different angles.
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Old Nov 15, 20, 8:40 am
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Hotel Del Coronado

Looking back to our ferry and San Diego from the Coronado Ferry Landing.



The Coronado Ferry Center is a little over mile away from and on the other side of the island from the Hotel Del Coronado.



A short Uber ride and I was at "The Del".



This iconic hotel is more tham 130 years old, and parts of it definitely look that age. The Del is currently undergoing a much needed $400 million renovation, which has resulted in a lot of the interior areas being closed to the public.



Pics from the interior courtyard area. Lovely, but definitely tired and dated.





The main action at the hotel is outside on the ocean side.







With a gorgeous beach.













This looks a little better with the newer Cabanas and the Ocean Village the place to stay.









Lots of attractive outdoor lounges, bars and restaurants.



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Old Nov 15, 20, 8:41 am
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Five minutes from the hotel is the Coronado stop of the Old Town Trolley, San Diego's HOHO attraction. My original plan was to take this to Coronado and see more of the city but the ferry change that idea. So I'm starting here. Our personable driver/guide Scotty was great... informative amd funny.









I hopped off at Balboa Park to explore.

















Then back towards the Trolley stop to wait for the next one. On the other side of the road is the San Diego Auto Museum and the San Diego Air & Space Museum, appropriately located under the flight path approach to the airport.













Back across the street, the next trolley arrived just as I got to the stop.



Unlike the first trolley which was quite full, I had a private trolley charter on this leg.



We drove back thru Balboa Park.









And to the west entrance.





I hopped off at the next stop, which was in the heart of San Diego's Little Italy, which featured numerous outdoor dining options. This is India Street.



I stopped for lunch at lovely Buon Appetito.





OMG, the bread and dip were to die for.



It doesn't get much better than this... fabulous canneloni with a glass of Super Tuscan.



Since I was only four blocks from the train station, I finished up and left at 1:15p, some 20 minutes before my departure.
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Old Nov 15, 20, 8:43 am
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I arrived at the station 10 minutes before our 1:35pm departure.



Amtrak Surfliner #579
San Diego Santa Fe to San Juan Capistrano
1:35p-3:06p

A little better load than this morning with perhaps a dozen Business Class passengers heading back north.



Similar seats as this morning, but they didn't recline... or at lease I couldn't figure it out.



This afternoon service was a complimentary #TrainTreats snack box and beverage.



Similar to United tapas box and with about the same volume of carbs and calories. Since I had just eaten lunch, I only sampled a few.









Iconic Del Mar racetrack, creatively offering COVID-era concerts in your car.



Only $99 per car. LOL. I guess that desperate times call for desperate measures. Very creative though.





More nice coastal pics as we head up the coast.

















And back at San Juan Capistrano, right on time at 3:09pm.



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Last edited by SFO777; Nov 30, 20 at 4:39 pm
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Old Nov 15, 20, 9:18 am
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The train is now my fav way to go to LA - love the train ride. I also need to go to Balboa Park next time - most of the time I was in SD I used my free time to go to Fashion Valley (if that is the correct name) instead to buy some stuff for my wife...

I believe there are almost no flights from LAX now due to CoVid? I enjoyed the contract lounge AA uses at San Diego airport - I always got free whiskey refill from the barkeepers (even when I ran out of AA vouchers)
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Old Nov 15, 20, 3:02 pm
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Let's see what 400 millions will do with the old lady
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Old Nov 15, 20, 3:17 pm
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Great report, SFO777. My wife and I enjoyed our time visiting San Diego, and walking around the Coronado grounds back in June 2018. I've stayed at the Coronado before as well too, back in 2008, but found it to be OK and not as good as I was expecting, but perhaps it was just our unique experience.

As always, San Diego looks beautiful!
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Old Nov 15, 20, 8:51 pm
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Thanks for the report. Very scenic, and reminded of my own trips to SD. And what a great way to spend your day!
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