THE 2019 CALIFORNIA ROAD (PRE) TRIP THEME NIGHT COUNTDOWN – DAYS 16 AND 17 (SAN DIEGO!! ALSO, THE END. WOMP.)

This is it, everyone. This is the end. The last post.

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“I’m in a glass case of emotions”

Jeesh, relax. It’s only the end of the pre-trips. Which means we still have a whole trip to go and then the actual trip report. In fact, check this out.

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This last post means we are INSANELY close to the actual trip.

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And speaking of, make sure you stick around after the day descriptions for a bit of an explanation as to how I will be handling blogging for this one. You’re sure to be disappointed. Get excited.

 

The movie

Being that this entire post focuses on our time in San Diego, we went with the movie EVERYONE thinks about when they think of San Diego  –

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Yeah, it was also the Unrated version. Go big or go home.

Yep, of course we watched Anchorman. And yeah, I know some might not agree with us watching this with our 11 year-old. But if I went along with what everyone saw as “socially acceptable,” I’d never get anything done. Well, anything fun at least.

Not only do I think Anchorman is the best Will Ferrell movie,  but I actually place it very high on my “Funniest Movies of All-time” list. Yes, the movie is over-the-top silly but in the best way possible.

Everyone in the movie (Ferrell as Ron Burgundy for sure, but the rest of the cast as well) seems to be fighting to win ever scene, overacting and over-exaggerating their roles. And that is by no means an insult. That’s why this movie works. The entire cast appears to have been let loose to do whatever they want with their roles. Ferrell, Applegate, Carrell, Rudd, Koechner and the smaller players such as Vince Vaughn, Jack Black, Fred Willard – they all contribute something to the film and make it better than it would be without them.

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And the movie ages well, I must say. The female empowerment storyline plays even better today than it did 15 years ago, the jokes still feel fresh and the movie still stands, in my opinion, as Will Ferrell at his Will Ferrell-est.

I legit will never get sick of watching Anchorman.

Even Lilo loves it.

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“You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole… wheel of cheese? How’d you do that? I’m not even mad, that’s amazing.”

You stay classy, San Diego.

 

The meal

Being that we were going to San Diego and also being that we had a $75 gift certificate, we decided to go out for Mexican food at a place near us – Casa Vallarta.

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Place has some pretty legit Mexican food. And some pretty legit customers.

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Myles is ALMOST smiling here. It’s a Mexican Food miracle!
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Pfft. You’re just jealous YOU don’t have a Kesha shirt.

Since we were in a Mexican restaurant, I of course had to get a margarita. When in Rome.

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I don’t have time for this.

Anyways, I got a Cadillac Margarita. On account of it has both Tequila AND Grand Marnier. Two alcohols=better bargain.

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Nickie got a beer. Myles got a ginger ale and Owen got a Coke.

We also started with some chips and guac. It’s a delicious starter. But it also gives me the opportunity to say “Holy Guacamole!”

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I like how the chips look like guac-sharks. We’re gonna need a bigger margarita.

For my main dish, I went with the Mole Enchilada. This thing was delicious.

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I know. I know what it looks like. But it doesn’t taste like that. 

Plus, it gave me the opportunity to say, “Holy Mole!” Anything I can both eat and pun is a winner for me.

Myles went with the combination plate – chimichanga and enchilada (both pork.)

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Myles could not be bothered to wait for a pic. That forking kid.

Nickie and Owen split the steak tacos.

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These were good. I’d steak my life on it. Know what I’m taco’ing about?

Which I ­think­ were good. I would be remiss if I didn’t explain what happened next. Owen started eating his tacos but he started having some issues swallowing so he only could make a few bites. He said he was having trouble swallowing. Since I pretty much ate my dish in under five minutes, I took him out for some fresh air but he didn’t seem to be getting any better.

So we gave him some more Coke, finished up our meals, paid the check, and decided to take him to the emergency room to get looked at. He was pretty scared about the whole thing, but he handled it like a champ and the doctor said he most likely maybe got a piece of steak stuck in his esophagus. He gave him some more Coke to try and wash it down and we took him home.

Of course, he spent the night sleeping in our bed. We watched a movie – Peter Rabbit – and then dozed off to sleep. And he does seem to have gotten better since. Thankfully. It’s so hard when your kids are having issues but you just don’t know what it is. Poor little guy.

It’s actually been a bit of a rough few weeks. This wasn’t our only trip to the emergency room over the past couple weeks. Myles fell on the basketball court last week and knocked his front tooth out. Like, literally. I ended up picking him up and they handed me a plastic bag with his teeth in it. He ended up having to go the emergency room for stitches and then to the dentist for a new tooth. All in the course of one day. And he handled it insanely well.

These two kids of mine have caused us a good amount of alarm over the past couple weeks. Part of being a parent is worrying, I suppose. It’s hard, but having kids like we have makes all that worry worth it. And while it was scary dealing with issues like that, at least they are both on the mend now and we can go on vacation knowing these issues are far behind us. I am really looking forward to spending time with these guys (and my beautiful wife of course) for 17 straight days. It’s gonna be (as Myles would say) epic.

Oh, and while we were in bed watching Peter Rabbit, I decided to add one more final touch to the evening. In a nod to Ron Burgundy and his love of Scotch, I poured myself a glass of this…

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I love Scotch. Scotchy scotch scotch.

 

#CaliFriendsYeah2019 –Day 16 – In which we go from the beach to the ballpark. And also, animals.

Day 16 is our last full vacation day of the trip (since Day 17 is a departure day.) So we plan on waking up at our leisure and eating a healthy breakfast!

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We are of course getting up early and eating donuts. However, I am split between which donut shop to visit in Huntington Beach. Duck Donuts is a spot we know we like (yet don’t have back home). They make donuts fresh-to-order and you can customize with a mix of toppings. But…The Donuttery also gets amazing reviews and it might be worthwhile to try a new place.

I DONUT know what to do!

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And then it’s back in the car for a 2 hour or so drive to San Diego. The plan is to hopefully get into San Diego before 9AM because that is when our first destination of the day opens – The San Diego Zoo! Ohai animals.

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I love the zooooooooooo.

Nickie and I visited the zoo on our honeymoon and the strongest memory of this place is exhaustion. It’s pretty big and awfully hilly. When we first got there, we had no plan. I mean, it’s a zoo. But I really do think you need some sort of a plan to make the most of a visit. So I have been looking through different tips and plans like this one or this one, both from Undercover Tourist. Both suggest hopping on the guided tour bus first thing in the morning to get a lay of the land so I think that seems like a good plan.

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Then, it might make sense to jump on the aerial tram to get to the back of the park and work our way back? I mean, I think. We should probably all choose the animals we want to see most and make those a priority. But how does one choose such a thing? I have to choose between Polar Bears and Otters? Red Pandas and Giraffes? Koalas and Dung Beetles?

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I guess the good news is that the pandas are gone. Good in that we don’t have to decide but obviously bad in that THERE ARE NO PANDAS.

You know what I say to that?

Bam-BOOOOO!

Get it?

Because Pandas eat bamboo. But also the word “boo” denotes a sense of unhappiness with a current situation.

Anyways.

I am a little nervous about the small amount of time we actually have planned for the zoo. On account of it is huge-town. On the one hand, I am like, “Is there ever a such thing as TOO MANY animals?” But on the other hand, I am like, “Yeah, maybe.”

We have been all over the place with lunch for Day 16. But we have a few spots on the list that may be worth considering. All are sort of on the way to the hotel. These are currently the front-runners:

  • Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers – the name alone warrants a visit. But the menu is definitely solid. Burgers are obvs squad the featured dish here. The MMMMac and cheese and the Juicy Lucy (stuffed with cheese) burgers are calling to me. Also, beer. Beer is calling to me.
  • The Hopping Pig – is currently the front runner for me actually. Yesterday, Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers took that spot and a couple days ago, it was something else. This is the conundrum we face in San Diego. This place has 32 rotating taps so the beer is a big draw. The Hopping Pig burger also gets really good reviews as the patty is a mix of pork and beef. And things that are a mix of pork and beef are the best things. Also, their happy hour lasts from 11:30AM to 7:00PM and the prices here are pretty legit.
  • Garage Kitchen and Bar – Is on the list for a few different reasons. (1) they have what is called a Blunch menu and I am all for combining meals. (2) their prices seem pretty reasonable (though not as reasonable as The Hopping Pig) for a Gaslamp spot. And (3) short rib fries are a thing I guess now?

So I mean. San Diego is hard.

The good news is it does seem we can’t really go wrong with any of these choices. And the gooder news is that after lunch, we will be heading to our hotel – The Hilton San Diego Bayfront – for some pool time.

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That pool looks sort of kind of AMAZEFACE. The whole hotel looks pretty awesome, actually. It’s right on the water and next to both the Gaslamp District as well as super close to our nighttime destination – Petco park!

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We have tickets to see the Padres play the Braves that night. And yeah, I mean…it’s the Padres. But PETCO park is often at the top of “best ballpark” lists. So super excited to see a game there. The park is right in the heart of the city so the views are supposed to be spectacular. Plus, the place is like a 5-minute walk from our hotel. #winning.

Dinner that night will be in the park as well. Honestly, I would opt for a Hodad’s burger if we weren’t already planning on having burgers for lunch that day.  Also though, maybe I will still opt for one. Because…

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How does one eat such a burger? Maybe I should invest in a pre-trip jaw unhinging

But there look to be a ton of good food options according this article places looks pretty legit. The Triple Threat Pork Sandwich (brioche bun stacked with pulled pork, bacon, pork loin schnitzel, pepperoncini relish, and aioli) sounds like a dream I once had.

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1 Pork, good. 2 Pork, great. 3 Pork, STUPENDOUS.

Also, we may have to seek out the Baked Bear for one of their drool-worthy ice cream sandwiches.

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Probably worth pointing out that I devoted one sentence to the actual ball game and three paragraphs to the food plan. Priorities for the win.

I know – it’s a pretty awesome day/night in San Diego. Some might say it’s a…

….

Touchdown!

That’s right, right? Touchdown?

 

#CaliFriendsYeah2019 –Day 17 – In which we don’t have much of a plan aside from donuts and departure

Yes, Day 17 is our last day. Which is sad. But I take solace in two things. For one, DAY 17 is our last day. Which means we will have had 16 days of vacation prior. Which is like, a lot of days of vacation prior. And two, this is only a pre-trip report. So this isn’t the last day of anything. In fact, this post actually signals the trip is legit STARTING in only a few days.

Yeah, I’m sad. If by “sad,” you mean “ecstatic.”

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Plus, Day 17 starts with amazingness. It starts with donuts. And yeah, I know…a lot of days on this trip have started with donuts. But this donut situation? This is kind of a big reason why we decided to plan this whole California donut crawl in the first place. This donut situation is Donut Bar.

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When we started looking at vlogs and planning our trip, this was one of the first places we found where we were like “YES. THIS IS WHY WE GO OUTSIDE AND DO THINGS.” This place looks hands-down donut bananas.

I am going to have a humungous issue picking what donut to have here. You know a donut shop is great when the Maple Bacon looks like one of the more run-of-the-mill choices. Cake batter? OREO Cake batter? A unicorn donut? Nutella? Maple bourbon? French Toast donut? This place has a donut with a frakkin pop tart inside it?

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I may faint.

But, I will power through and choose one. Or possibly five. On account of I am a true hero.

Also, we will have to say goodbye to the Nerneys at some point this morning which will be sadness-town. But hopefully we will all be saying goodbye as better and closer friends than we were when we started this whole thing. Also, hopefully, none of us will have straight up murdered another one of us by this point. If not, I’d call the trip a success.

The rest of the morning will be spent at the hotel pool before we have to check out. Hopefully, relaxing and reflecting on what an incredible journey this whole trip has been. 17 days offers the chance for A LOT of reflection.  Like Mulan-level reflection.

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And really, beyond that….there isn’t a whole heck of a lot planned. We will have to check out of our hotel and have lunch somewhere with the Chagnons. We may just end up making our way back to the Gaslamp District. And for lunch, maybe we search out some Mexican or hit up one of the spots we didn’t hit the day before (Garage, Hopping Pig, something like that.)

Or it might be nice to spend the day at Coronado, which is not too far from the hotel and will give us the chance to drive this bad Larry.

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If we do head there, I think we will have to check out the Hotel Del Coronado for sure. Maybe have a drink on the Sun Deck.

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For lunch, I can definitely see us having lunch at the Coronado Brewing Company. Because beer. But also food. But mainly beer.

But who knows? Maybe we head over to La Jolla instead or just make our way to Old Town. I think it will be a game time decision. Which is a sports euphemism meaning we will decide that day. The more you know.

Wherever we end up, we will spend a few hours exploring with the Chagnons before we have to head to the airport.

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Womp. Womp.

But we have to go home at some point. Eh or maybe we don’t. Maybe we just stay. Let’s just stay. We are staying.

But just in case Nickie doesn’t go for my “let’s be homeless in San Diego” plan, we will head to the airport probably around 5:30 or so. We have to drop the car off and were planning on dinner at the airport with the Chagnons.

Since we will be in the JetBlue terminal, there are a few options for dinner it looks like. There is a Stone Brewing in the terminal, which has both beer and BBQ Duck tacos. But, honestly, the presence of a Panda Express has me equally as excited. Especially since we won’t have seen any pandas at the zoo. At least we will be able to eat some.

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We have a red-eye that night so we will be back home the next morning, completely exhausted and most likely full of rage. Which is an appropriate end for any family vacation.

 

#CaliFriendsYeah2019 –Epilogue (AKA so what happens now?)

So yeah, that’s the plan for the trip.

We leave in a few days so we are literally not able to do anything but be excited at this point.

As for the blog, I am not planning on live-blogging this one.

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I know. It’s a bit disappointing but I really want to be able to enjoy myself on this trip and be present. And I don’t want to bring my laptop with me so as I am not tempted to do any work. But I will do a series of posts when we come back, each dedicated to one day on the trip. So don’t worry – you will still get your Goodreau fix. And it will put a bit of time in between these pre-trips and the actual trip report.

Which is a win-win. Or at least a win. For me.

But I do plan on posting on Instagram throughout the trip so definitely follow me (weheartdisney0o0), Myles even promises to tell me how to use Instagram Stories. Wait, is that even supposed to be capitalized? These kids and their social media.

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