Yup, all those crying Disney character gifs can only mean one thing. We have arrived at Day 17. Our last day of the trip. So go ahead, let it all out.
But now it’s time to dry those tears. Because we actually didn’t have to leave San Diego until much later that night on a red eye. So we still managed to get a lot more fun in before we had head back home.
See? Isn’t that better.
Ugh. Stop being so dramatic.
Anyways. As you all have learned from previous posts, by this time both the Nerneys and the Falzones have gone home. Day 17 was strictly Goodreau and Chagnon. Goodnon? Chagreau? Goon?
And as every amazing day should begin, this one did with donuts.
Well, backing up real quick…we woke up…we got our stuff packed up…yada yada yada. Donuts.
And these weren’t any old run of the mill donuts. In fact, these donuts were the ones that inspired this whole CA coast donut crawl thing we were on in the first place. As we were doing our YouTube research for the trip, we came across a number of San Diego vlogs mentioning this place.
And this place was…
Let me take you through the whole experience.
Nickie, Myles, Owen, and I took the Chagnons’ orders and hopped in the Mustang for the short ride over. We arrived at around 9AM to find a short, but not too intimidating line outside.
I’d say we maybe waited about ten minutes before we made it inside. Which was not a bad thing. Since it gave us time to really consider our choices.
As we made our way inside, straight ahead there was an actual bar.
San Diego. Breathe it in.
But while I do enjoy the occasional breakfast beer, our order was going to be a to-go today so I bypassed the sudsy siren call.
And to my left? This…
As we were making our way up to the counter, the guy working it let us know they were giving away free donuts to kids to enjoy while they waited. For donuts. Genius.
And the free donut today was legit made for us. It was a vanilla Forky donut. Look at this cute little guy.
I of course had a taste. Because just giving free donuts to kids is ageism. I won’t stand for that sort of thing.
We ended up ordering 8 donuts total for both us and the Chagnons. And these things were so ginormous that one box couldn’t hold them all.
Here’s the first box.
From top left, we have the Oh My Birthday Cake Oreo, Caramelized Pineapple, S’mores Big Poppa Tart, D.B.’s Nutella, Red Velvet, and another Nutella.
And the second box…
In there we have a Samoa and a Unicorn. I’ll let you figure out which is which.
We loaded our boxes of fried sugar into the car and headed back to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront to meet up with the Chagnons in the lobby and stuff our faceholes.
The donut I went with on Day 17? The Big Poppa Tart donut. Which, as I just realized, was the second rapper-inspired donut I had on the trip. The first being the Ol’ Dirty Bastard at Voodoo. I obviously have a type.
And that type is donut.
Anyways, yeah the Big Poppa Tart Donut. Check this beautiful piece of beautifulness out.
Thing was covered in marshmallow frosting, chocolate (both in the form of sprinkles and drizzle) and graham cracker crumbs.
But that wasn’t the big draw. Ohhhhhh no. Because inside was A WHOLE CHOCOLATE POP-TART.
Now guys. I am about to say something. Something I do not say lightly.
This donut was the best donut I have EVER eaten.
The donut itself was light and flaky. The toppings all worked together insanely well. And the Pop-Tart on the inside had melted just enough to create a crunchy, chewy, chocolate, paradise, nirvana, amazing, awesomeness sort of thing. Seriously. Just thinking about this donut brings a smile to my face.
I did also have a bite of a Nutella (which was very good) and some of Owen’s Oh My Birthday Cake Oreo, which was also delicious.
This donut not only had an Oreo on top, but one inside as well. Sort of like a giant fried Oreo. Which means it was incredible.
I reallllllly wanna go back to Donut Bar.
As we enjoyed our breakfast, we talked about the plans for the day. We were between either visiting La Jolla or driving over the bridge to see Coronado Island. We decided on Coronado based on some recommendations from the hotel staff and also because we really wanted to check out the Hotel Del Coronado.
So after finishing up, each family grabbed their respective car and we drove over the bridge. We parked in the town area and first hit a couple souvenir stores in search of…well…souvenirs.
And you know what? Coronado has an expansive collection of socks with swear words on them. Some of those words I don’t feel comfortable saying in front of my children. Well, sober at least.
But I feel like if they are on footwear, it’s ok for us all to stare and giggle.
We found some souvenirs and ended up meeting a Golden Retriever on the way out of one of the stores. Well, we met her owner as well. But we mainly spent time with the dog. It helped ease our minds a bit about leaving, knowing we would be seeing our own in a little bit.
The walk from the shops to the Hotel Del Coronado was a short one and soon enough, we were in front of…ANOTHER SIGN!!
When we got to the lobby, we did some exploring.
The look of the place was super old-school. Lots of dark woods, neutral colors, etc.
And we walked through and out to the courtyard as well.
The grounds of the hotel were pretty cool. Lots of different plants and flowers. And the whole look of the place is very reminiscent of the Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World. Which isn’t surprising since it did help to inspire the look of the hotel. See? I find Disney legit everywhere.
There was an ice cream shop downstairs as well. But since we were kind of close to lunch, we didn’t end up getting anything.
We did, however, make use of their cool bench outside.
We next walked out towards the beach. As we were walking, Nickie and the boys picked up some drinks at the cart outside.
Now, it wasn’t exactly a beach day but the beach at Coronado is pretty amazing. The sand has a lot of mica in it, which makes the whole thing literally sparkle in the sun. Though, to be completely honest, it wasn’t all that sunny on Day 17. But I mean, you could still see some sparkle.
If you squinted hard enough.
And lied to yourself.
Still though. A really pretty beach.
As mentioned, it was getting near lunch time so we all decided to head back over the bridge to have lunch in the Gaslamp District. Lunch today would be at The Hopping Pig. I am of the belief that if a city has a restaurant with the whole “______ Pig” thing going on (Salty Pig, Polite Pig, etc.) then just go there. At best, it will be an amazing place. At worst, I’m sure there’s bacon.
As soon as we walked in, I knew we were in the right place as this was up on the wall.
Much better than those pesky Wayne Alarms all those other places have.
I started with a California Blonde.
A California blonde beer. Jeesh.
They handed us menus but of course I already knew what I wanted before we walked in. I never enter a restaurant unprepared.
We started with the Poutine Fries (fries covered in pork gravy, bacon, and queso fresco).
Which was of course delicious. I mean I already told you it was covered in pork gravy, bacon, and queso fresco. Did you expect it to not be delicious? What the crap is wrong with you?
Like I said, I already knew what I wanted – the Hopping Pig Burger.
This was a GREAT burger, folks. The patty itself was a pork and beef mix and was covered in pepper jack cheese, chipotle aioli, mushrooms, and caramelized onions. The toppings were all great, especially the chipotle aioli, but it was really the patty that stood out. Super flavorful.
After lunch, the group wanted to stop by the CVS down the street to get some last-minute supplies for the flight. I, however, knew I had to feed the meter so I walked over to the car and made plans to meet them down at CVS.
As I started walking towards CVS, I noticed one of those Lyft electric scooters and, since I already had the Lyft app, decided to grab it. Much to the dismay of the locals, I’m sure.
I hopped on and rode it over a few blocks and down to CVS. Thing was super fun and since everyone else was still in CVS, I decided to ride it around the neighborhood.
On my third time by the CVS, I did see George had emerged so I asked him if he wanted to take a spin. Which of course he did.
When everyone else came out of the store, Nickie and Steph had zero interest in trying it. Courtney was the only other potential candidate as the rest of the kids were too young. So she hopped on and took it for a ride down the street.
Yeah, we’re a good time.
It was getting close to when we wanted to be heading to the airport but we had one more stop planned before we officially said goodbye to our California Road Trip.
We drove down to the bay and parked near the USS Midway.
But while we would have loved to have done an official tour….
So, we got a quick look at the ship and walked over to the actual reason we came down to this location – The “Unconditional Surrender” statue. And I mean. Of course we did the pose.
I know others in our party posed as well but for some reason I only have the one of me and Nickie. Sorry, rest of the party. I think this was the only one taken on my phone. But trust me, everyone looked ADORBZ.
And that was our last stop of the trip. Which was fitting. It was pretty much right on the Pacific Ocean (well, I mean…the bay…but close enough) and it was sort of a “kiss goodbye” to the coast. Or I mean, maybe I am just reading into things too much. Whatever. Either way, that paragraph has already been written and I am not about to delete it.
So it was off to the San Diego airport to drop off the Mustang. Womp A Domp. But as we were cleaning out the car, thus began the next and final chapter in what has been come to be known as…
GlassesGate 2019: Chapter 7
As you may recall from our previous chapter, I had lost my glasses in wine country. Because…I mean…WINE country. But through Nickie’s hard work and diligence (and $400 or so), the LensCrafters in Monterey did eventually end up delivering another pair.
So, I mean. Great right?
But like I said, we cleaned out the car and as I dug into the center console, lookie what I found.
Oh well, now I have TWO pairs of glasses. Like some sort of near-blind Rockefeller or something.
But is this the end of our spectacle-driven spectacle of spectacular proportions? Do Wayne’s glasses still have a role to play in our tale?
Well….no. I mean, that’s it. I have two pairs of glasses. I know. Riveting. Let’s just move on.
And with our cars dropped off, we went to the ticketing booth with the Chagnons to get our tickets and get inside the terminal. We were a little early but we wanted to make sure to have some time for dinner and maybe a few drinks. Heh, yeah. Maybe.
But check this out. So the JetBlue ticketing booth? No one was there. Like, at all. I guess they don’t show up until closer to flight time since there aren’t a ton of JetBlue flights out of San Diego. Who knew? I mean, we could have gotten through security with our phones but since we had bags to check, we sort of had to go through ticketing.
So there we were, forced to just sort of hang out and wait for the ticketing booth to open up. It felt just like that time in high school when I waited on line for New Kids on the Bloc…er….Metallica tickets. Rock and Roll baby. That’s the right stuff.
Finally, someone did show up. And when they did, I gave them a piece of my mind. And by “gave them a piece of my mind,” I mean I was very polite and did everything they told me.
Take THAT, JetBlue!
Security was thankfully not too bad. And we were at our gate relatively quickly. We grabbed some seats at the Urban Crave across from our gate.
And while most of the group was happy enough living by the rules of “society” and ordering from their menu, like Nickie with her Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad…
…I wasn’t about to let an airport tell me what I can eat. I mean, I will drink your beer Urban Crave but I WILL NOT let my tastebuds be slaves to your menu! I already can’t bring fireworks on an airplane. I’ll be DAMNED if I let you tell me what to eat.
Myles and Owen weren’t into the menu either so we made use of that new AtYourGate app, which is pretty awesometown.
Basically, it works like a GrubHub or UberEats type of app. You can order from any restaurant in the airport regardless of gate or terminal and they will deliver it to you. Frakkin genius.
Myles wanted a burrito so he ordered one from Qdoba. He ate this in a big hurry so I have no photo evidence of said burrito.
As you may remember from my pre-trip post , I was really looking forward to getting me some Panda Express at the San Diego airport. For a few reasons, really. I mean, yeah, EVERYONE knows Panda Express is delicious. But for me, this was mainly about getting back at the pandas for not being at the San Diego Zoo. By EATING THEM.
To my utter disappointment, I found out very quickly they don’t serve panda at Panda Express. Not even in San Diego.
Ah well, I had already committed to it.
Owen went straight Orange Chicken Bowl, but I got what I think should probably be considered the best possible meal at Panda Express – Orange Chicken and Honey Walnut Shrimp with Chow Mein.
And yeah. The beer was from Urban Crave. It made me feel better because (1) it justified taking up a seat and (2) it was beer.
As we were sitting there, I loved watching the kids at their table. They were having so much fun, laughing, playing games.
It made me smile and think about how glad I was Nickie and I could give the kids this trip (and how glad the Nerneys and the Falzones and the Chagnons could do the same for their kids.) There is a lot out there that can stress kids out. A lot out there that can make kids feel like the world is a cold place. I hope these trips we take and the memories we make show them there is a lot of fun to be had in the world and a lot of good, if you know where to look.
Soon enough, we were on our plane and on our red-eye back to Boston.
And that’s pretty much it, man. It really was an incredible trip. Thanks to the Nerneys, Falzones, and Chagnons for joining us and becoming forever a part of these special memories. We are truly blessed to have such amazing friends. And thank you to my family as well. Myles and Owen, you guys are great kids regardless but on vacation, I really do cherish the time we get to spend together unencumbered by daily stresses and worries and able to really just have fun together. And of course, Nickie…thank you for putting so much work into creating such a perfect vacation and for making every day of the trip even better. I feel lucky to wake up next to you every day, but waking up next to you with new adventures in front of us is a feeling I hope we continue to search for. Life with you is the funnest.
And thanks to all of you for reading along. I hope you enjoyed coming along with us on our California Coast road trip. And stay tuned because we have A LOT of travel planned over the next few months!