Goin' to California

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by dr wogz, Jan 20, 2020.

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  1. Jan 20, 2020 #1

    dr wogz

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    Yes, now that I've put that Led Zep song in your head, I'm asking for "what to do? what to see?".

    4 of us (Dad & his wife, my wife) are heading out the left coast for some much needed R&R in May (early May - May 1-10th if I recall) We will be landing in San Francisco, and expect a day or two in the Napa & Sonoma Valleys. (They apparently have some good, alcoholic grape juice..) From there, we will be heading down rt 1 to San Diego.

    We plan a stop in LA for Disneyland & the Star Wars experience. (The wife already has a plan on how to ditch the parents! :D ) We are also expecting a day at the San Diego zoo..

    Some weird place not to miss? food wise? attraction wise? shopping wise? fun places to stay the night?
    Places to avoid?

    Best hobby shop? (I assume LA has one, maybe two that shouldn't be passed up..)

    We also like aquariums..
     
  2. Jan 20, 2020 #2

    heada

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    While in San Francisco, drive about an hour south and go to the Monterey Bay aquarium.
     
  3. Jan 20, 2020 #3

    shreadvector

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    There are virtually no good classic hobby shops left in the Los Angeles area.

    There are some that have a bunch of model rockets, but nothing special:
    Large selections: Kit Kraft in Studio City(all Estes), Pegasus in Montclair (Estes and Aerotech), Hobbytown USA in Corona (all Estes), Tony's in Baldwin Park (Estes and maybe Aerotech - but they are a few blocks from the world HQ of In-N-Out Burger including the factory store).
    Small selections: Smith Brothers in Northridge.
    A smattering of Hobby Lobby stores.

    Not sure if Discount Rocketry has a retail store. Google them....
     
  4. Jan 20, 2020 #4

    DWonders

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  5. Jan 20, 2020 #5

    thequick

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    There is a pretty good tech museum with the space shuttle, a bunch of satellites, an Apollo capsule, an sr71, and more in LA. There’s also Herst castle, Santa Cruz, Carmel, Big Sur, etc. if you are driving down the coast. Any time for Yosemite? I’d skip the aquarium in SF but Monterey is a good one. Long Beach Aquarium is highly rated but never been there. Into cars at all?
     
  6. Jan 20, 2020 #6

    shreadvector

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  7. Jan 20, 2020 #7

    shreadvector

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  8. Jan 20, 2020 #8

    BABAR

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    In-N-Out Burger has a factory store?

    Wow, what do they sell? Slightly mismatched buns? Overstocked pickles?
     
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  9. Jan 20, 2020 #9

    Rocket501

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    First of all, as others have mentioned, the Monterrey Bay Aquarium is quite possibly the best in the world. I live in Monterrey during the summer and love going there. Food-wise, Monterrey has First Awakenings which offers good breakfast with massive pancakes. Most of the restaurants for dinner and stuff are a bit expensive for my tastes so I haven't tried too many.

    In San Francisco, my favorite museum is the Exploratorium. Tickets are pricey ($30 a head), but I still love to go. It's a bit more niche, but I love the Conservatory of Flowers too. It's a bit niche too, but there is a hackerspace called Noisebridge, and it can be fun to drop by and see what the people there are up too. I've built rockets there more than a few times and it has a very cool atmosphere in general.

    I wouldn't bother with the cable cars, lombard street, sea lions, painted ladies, alcatraz (unless it really is your type of thing), etc.

    As for things nearby, I find sutro baths to be fascinating and love going to Fort Baker on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. It's very pretty and gives amazing views of the bridge and city. I'm also a sucker for the Naval museums such as the USS Hornet aircraft carrier and the liberty/victory ships.

    In general, everything in the Bay Area is expensive. Food is usually excellent and we have a great variety, so I'd just use yelp to search for what you are interested in. That said, if you run into It's Its at a grocery store or about, you have to try one. The mint flavor is my favorite.

    I don't spend much time in LA, except for driving to FAR, so I don't really have any advice for your there, except if Norton sales is still in business, it might be worth paying them a visit, but they weren't doing so well the last time I went by. They had tons of stuff from the rocketry companies in the area including full-up engines, but the stock is depleting as they sell it off and it was looking a little picked over last year. I think they still have a J2 engine, though.
     
  10. Jan 20, 2020 #10

    shreadvector

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  11. Jan 20, 2020 #11

    BABAR

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  12. Jan 21, 2020 #12

    cbrarick

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    I "get" to go to LA to visit my in-laws. My favorite thing is homeboy cafe, LAX terminal 4. The chicken Caesar wrap is good, abet overpriced. A good finish to the visit..
     
  13. Jan 21, 2020 #13

    Mugs914

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  14. Jan 21, 2020 #14

    o1d_dude

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    The Napa Valley and to a lesser degree the Sonoma County wineries are worth the trip. Napa Valley would be the better choice as doing them both would be rather time consuming and involve a lot of driving. I lived in both places growing up, even worked in a few wineries as a yoot.

    Also lived and worked in San Francisco for a number of years but can no longer recommend it as a travel destination.

    The most amazing part about the Los Angeles Basin is that the cities and towns seem to go on forever and there are SO MANY people there. The most commonly asked question there is "After the freeways are done, then what?" My kids have lived there for years now...about 15 minutes from Disneyland. Any of the big name attractions are recommended and will not disappoint. Just be aware there will be lines everywhere, too.
     
  15. Jan 21, 2020 #15

    BABAR

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    If you go to any of the theme parks, bring an empty plastic water bottle with you, and if you aren't one for plain water, you can usually bring in a little squirter flavor bottle. There are water fountains all around. You can keep hydrated without draining your wallet.
     
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  16. Jan 21, 2020 #16

    AfterBurners

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    If you like Italian food there's a place called Cortina's in Anaheim. They have excellent food and good prices. There's also an In and Out Burger across the street. I live a block away. There's Ultimate Hobbies in Orange and of course as mentioned before Pegasus in Montclair. If you are in upland check out Vinci's spaghetti. They have been there since early 30's. On the way down stop at Solvang...plenty of wine tasting and danishes. Hadsten House is a great place to stay. A little pricey there are other places available much reasonable.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
  17. Jan 21, 2020 #17

    Rocket501

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    Also, if you are in Napa, there is a lovely little town called Yountville. It has a wonderful bakery called Bouchon. There's always a line but it is well worth the wait. My favorite thing there is the almond and chocolate pastry.
     
  18. Jan 21, 2020 #18

    mach7

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    I love Sonoma but napa has more vinyards. Visit ZD Vineyard along the eastern ridge, Silverado trail. It was started by 2 retired NASA engineers. ZD stands for Zero Defects.

    Bistro Jeanty is a great restaurant for dinner.

    Give most of San Fran a miss, too many aggressive homeless and its kind of dangerous.

    I would not miss the Monterey aquarium, as others have said its among the best in the world.

    Just north east of beautiful downtown Burbank is Vasquez rocks. A great place to visit. Lots of TV and movies were filmed there including Star Trek, Kirk fought the Gorn there.

    Bronson canyon is in the ridge between LA and Burbank, its where the bat cave exterior was.

    The LA science center has Endeavor on a very nice display among other space stuff.

    The Tar pits are really very good as is the Peterson Auto museum.

    In-n-out is a must! Also try and fit in the Apple Pan.

    The hollywood walk of fame is not bad, very kitschy.

    The Long Beach aquarium is Very good, not as nice as Monterey.

    Of course Disney!

    San Diego has lots to see.

    The USS Midway

    The tall ships The Star of India and the HMS Surprise

    Balboa park is great, a nice Aviation museum with some space stuff. A very nice small automobile museum and a good
    (not great) natural history museum.

    The Zoo is there also. Plan a day, it takes a while. They have one of 4 Honey Badgers in the country. Stop buy and visit him, or not-He won't give a Sh#t.

    The St Louis BBQ from Top Gun is there, eh, its just ok.

    Seaworld is also there.

    If Crazy Burger is still open stop by for a kangaroo burger and a beer.

    Enjoy your trip!
     
  19. Jan 21, 2020 #19

    Eljay

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    If you drive by the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne (Southern CA) they have a booster in the parking lot. It's impressive.
     
  20. Jan 21, 2020 #20

    o1d_dude

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    My son works there.
     
  21. Jan 21, 2020 #21

    Exactimator

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    Coming down the Pacific Coast Highway into LA you'll pass through Malibu. Zuma beach and Point Dume are there. Amazing beaches where they filmed Baywatch.

    Continuing south will take you into Santa Monica with another beautiful beach (this one's bigger than Zuma Beach). Lots of restaurants and shops there.

    Heading inland/east on Interstate 10 (called "the 10") will take to you the California Science Center where the space shuttle Endeavor is on display. From there you can hook down to Hawthorn and see a SpaceX booster sitting in their HQ parking lot.

    Back out to Long Beach is the LB Aquarium. Also nearby is the Battleship USS Iowa museum. Downtown Long Beach is great with lots of shops and restaurants.

    The greater Los Angeles area has too many great restaurants, hot dog stands, burger joints, etc to list them all. While in So Cal in general you can't go wrong with a hole-in-the wall taco shop in a strip mall or almost any sushi place (since we're right next to the ocean, the fish was probably swimming around earlier in the day)

    San Diego has a ton of stuff. The zoo, wild animal park, Seaworld, the USS Midway Carrier museum, Maritime museum where you can tour tall ships and both US and Russian submarines. If you come at the right time they have sleepovers on the Midway where you sleep in the sailors bunks. Sometimes they show Top Gun on the flight deck after dark. Pretty fun to watch that sitting between the fighters and helicopters on deck. There's bay cruises. You can rent a sailboat or go deep sea fishing. I think May might be too late to go out whale watching. There's the Scripps Birch Aquarium in La Jolla on the UCSD campus. It's sorta small compared to long Beach and Monterey but it has a beautiful view of the coast. La Jolla Shores is another nice beach with kayak rentals nearby.

    Discount Hobbies on Clairemont Mesa Blvd and Convoy has a small rocket selection and sells motors. The best part of that place is the RC planes hanging from the ceiling. Check the DART schedule. If we're launching on Fiesta Island (in Mission Bay across from Seaworld) while you're in town you can come join us. Just make sure you wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before touching our launch controller.

    While you're here grab a carne asada burrito and a horchata to wash it down from a taco shop.

    When your done enjoying yourself, do us a solid and go back home and tell everyone how much California sucks. Mumble something about regulations something something. Being a part of the 6th largest economy in the world isn't for everyone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
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  22. Jan 21, 2020 #22

    Exactimator

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    OH! I forgot to mention, between San Diego being a tourist destination and weed being legal in this state, a decent number of out-of-towners end up in the ER with pot-induced anxiety attacks. Weed today is much more potent than in previous decades. They just keep you there until you calm back down and release you back into the wild.

    I'm not implying anything about anything. Just saying people new to the devil's lettuce should go easy.
     
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  23. Jan 21, 2020 #23

    Steve Shannon

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    I didn’t see that anyone mentioned Universal Studios, but it’s always fun.
     
  24. Jan 21, 2020 #24

    Exactimator

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    Especially if you're a Harry Potter or Simpsons fan.
     
  25. Jan 21, 2020 #25

    Sooner Boomer

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    Looks like one of the main suggestions is food.

    I was in the San Jose/ San Francisco area in mid 80's. I *loved* the food, esp. the fresh seafood! Unfortunately, some of the folks I was with HAD to eat McDonalds or Pizza Hut every day. Heathens!
     
  26. Jan 21, 2020 #26

    AfterBurners

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    California does suck. We have a crime, pollution, homeless bums everywhere, cost of living is ridiculous, high gas prices, an abundance of stupid people, gangs, graffiti ....I could think of more.
     
  27. Jan 21, 2020 #27

    Mushtang

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    Some of these were already mentioned, some were not...


    Are you a fan of The Office? You can go to the building it was filmed in although you can only see it from the sidewalk it's still a cool experience.

    What about The Brady Bunch? The house used for the exterior shots in the show (and last year sold and renovated on the inside to match the show) is fun to stop and see. Again, only get to look at it from the sidewalk but also very cool.

    The science center has the Endeavor Space Shuttle and you can actually go inside a building to look at it, but finding which building can be tricky - the signage is not as clear as I would have liked. I highly recommend. When I saw it last year it completed the set for me with all the real shuttles on display.

    SpaceX headquarters is very close to LAX and the booster (again, you have to stay back on the sidewalk) is VERY impressive because it's so much bigger than expected.

    My final recommendation is Randy's Donuts with the big donut on top that Iron Man sat in. They have yummy donuts too.
     
  28. Jan 21, 2020 #28

    H_Rocket

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    In San Diego, there is a great little eatery on University called The Mission - I've only been to the one on University in North Park. At breakfast, the Roast Beef Hash is to die for.

    In San Francisco, there is the restored Nike Hercules Battery SF-88L. I've not been, however it is most certainly on my bucket list.
     
  29. Jan 21, 2020 #29

    hcmbanjo

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    The Highway 1 drive South from San Francisco is a great plan. I always recommend that to first timers.
    You mention visiting the Disneyland Star Wars attraction. Unless the numbers of paid guests has greatly decreased -
    You might have to get "Boarding Passes" first thing in the morning right at park opening through the Disney app on your phone.
    They assign you a number to "guarantee" you can see the new Ride Of The Resistance attraction. The ride is complex,
    subject to breaking down.

    Monterey Bay Aquarium (and what's left of Cannery Row) is a great stop. Monterey is just South on my home, Watsonville, CA.
    The Aquarium is worth the stop. Sometimes there are school groups that can fill it up, though.

    Exactimator mentions anxiety inducing (now more potent than you remember) Marijuana. It's true.
    One half of a cookie really set me back. Not recommended.

    Have a great trip!
     
  30. Jan 21, 2020 #30

    samb

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    On the San Diego tip, I spent a beautiful, chamber-of-commerce-advertisement morning at Cabrillo National Park on Point Loma. Stunning views. On the hike down to the tidal pools you pass the old rusty doors of the harbor defence gun emplacements. Make sure you call ahead and reserve a clear day ! :)
     

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