Tonia, Joseph, Daniel, and I went to LA and SD, July 4-11. We flew Spirit Airlines both ways and had a very good experience. Spirit is less expensive, as long as you can take it easy on luggage. (We brought two large bags for the four of us.) We were even able to buy our fourth ticket with a few days to go (Joseph decided to go at the last minute)– for a bit less than the three tickets we’d bought earlier.
We rented a car from Kyte; that was weird, but inexpensive and excellent. It was $220 for a new Toyota Corolla all week. The odd part was that they had no footprint in terms of buildings. They used a shuttle from the airport to meet us in a rental car parking lot, where they met us with the car and computers to check us in.
Everything except groceries was considerably more expensive. Gas was $1-1.50 more; fast food was pricier in most cases. That said, we did get amazing donuts and an inexpensive, delicious torta at Winchells’ Donuts!
Overall, I’d say this was a good trip but not nearly our best– compared to our top trip: SF to Glacier in 2016 (hard to beat that!) or other top-tier trips to New York State in 2011SD and eastern CO in 2012Arizona in 2020(We’ve taken many other smaller trips that were roughly equivalent: Chicago, NC/SC twice, Atlanta/Florida, Michigan twice [mostly southern and northern], and St. Louis/Memphis.)
The highlights in LA the first few days: The Petersen Auto Museum was the best of many auto museums we’ve ever seen. No surprise: this was a Top 3 trip moment for Daniel and Joseph! The Getty Museum had amazing architecture and tons of art in a beautiful setting. But the art didn’t have enough variance– and was not exactly in our wheelhouse in terms of tastes. It’s a must-see, but it wasn’t all I hoped it would be. The LaBrea Tar Pits are interesting and a quick stop. It’s free unless you go in the museum, which didn’t look to be worth the price. We also drove around a lot: Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Rodeo Dr., Sunset Blvd; Santa Monica Pier, some of the canyons, and the park at the Griffith Observatory.
Heading out of town to the east on Wednesday, we visited Huntington Gardens. The art there was solid, but the gardens were huge, varied, and amazing. That’s a must-see. Continuing east, we visited the NHRA Museum where they were having a car show. Both were solid, but not as exciting as I had expected for Daniel and Joseph. Palm Springs, with its oppressive heat and high-end stores. We walked around and had Ben/Jerry’s for the first time.
We stayed the night in Palm Springs to be in position to take the San Jacinto Peak tram on Thursday AM. It’s a 10-minute beautiful ride with a tremendous temperature change and the opportunity to walk/hike at the top. (We had other things to do, so we weren’t up top very long.) Then, we went to Joshua Tree NP– solid but redundant and ultimately disappointing (perhaps because we had been to Arizona so recently). If we’d driven through Joshua Tree, we would have ended up near the Patton Museum. (Interestingly, I readO’Reilly’sKilling Patton on the trip.) It was beautiful and varied landscape the rest of the day, as we hit Julian’s Apple Pie (wow!) just before a four-mile hike to the top of
We finished the day by driving to San Diego. On Friday, we spent a big chunk of the day in Balboa Park (amazing, but apparently had wise counsel to avoid the museums). We also drove through Gaslamp Quarter and Old Town (seemed ok, but touristy) on our way to the beach at LaJolla (boys weren’t as interested as we expected and snorkeling was limited/ineffective). The boys did paragliding at
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