Monday 19 September, San Diego
Posted by Matthew
Our final day of the trip, our flight back to England departs from San Diego at 20.05. Following a bit of tweaking of our packed bike bags, (just to make sure that nothing untoward might happen to them on the plane), we spent most of the day in downtown (centre) San Diego, around the old Gas Lamp Quarter.
Matthew wanted to mooch around the shops, (having purchased virtually nothing except food for over three weeks). Mike was keen to visit the retired US Navy aircraft carrier, Midway, which is now a floating museum and moored at a specially built pier on the San Diego waterfront.
We decided to split up for the morning and then meet up for lunch. Following a nice veggie lunch I persuaded, (a rather reluctant) Mike to take a bus to visit more shops at Fashion Valley – an outdoor mall, about half an hour’s bus ride north of San Diego, with the promise that we’d be back at Ann and Brad’s by 4.30.
I had been longing to visit one particular shop when we reached our final destination – Crate & Barrel. It’s a bit like Habitat, (now sadly almost all gone in the UK) – but with a very American feel to it. Think Ralph Lauren meets Oprah and Martha Stewart. Off we went on a bus. It was hot there and going in to the stores was a bit of a relief from the bright sunshine and heat! I only purchased a few things and so we weren’t there long. Apart from Crate & Barrel I gave my custom to one other store – those of you who know me well, will appreciate how restrained of me this is. I went to Old Navy – the low-cost member of the Gap family. Old Navy is only available in the USA. I acquired a lovely set of compression running clothing and what very good value it was too. I have said to Mike that I will give running a go when we get back to the UK and now I have the perfect outfit. Who knows, perhaps we’ll run on the USA west coast next time! We caught the tram (or trolley as they call them here), back from Fashion Valley to downtown – Mike enjoyed this a lot.
After picking up a thank-you bunch of flowers for Ann and one chocolate brownie for Brad (he’s rationing himself), we caught the bus back to their house. Ann and Brad both took us to the airport. This was immensely kind and helpful. Mike and the bagged bikes travelled in Brad’s pickup and me with Ann in her car. After bidding our farewells to Ann and Brad, Mike bid farewell to the bikes until we reached London.
Off we went for our final Starbucks’ of the holiday and then found a spot to sit close to a electricity socket, so we could charge our iPhones while catching up with the latest few Archers’ podcasts. The plane left thirty minutes later than scheduled and as we took off we were able to watch through the window as the lights of San Diego lit the city. A very poignant sight.