Stop 24: South California (San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach & Newport Beach)
We were good for nothing more than a lazy beach day after our epic road trip the day before, and so spent the day soaking up the sunshine on San Clemente's beautiful golden beach. We made friends with a lovely group of friends sunning themselves nearby - pilots Dan and Dave and their friends Jasmine & Matt, and so we all headed to the pier's bar to enjoy G&Ts as we watched the sun set. Turns out they had witnessed Nat's rather girly entrance into the cold sea earlier that day, tad embarrassing - especially as hard-as-nails Helen had waded in without a second thought... Still tired, we wimped out of making a night of it and retired back to our pool house for an early night.
Feeling much more energetic today, we headed north along the coast to visit Huntington Beach aka Surf City. We wandered along the pier and enjoyed watching the surfers below ride the waves. We then headed along to Newport Beach but were put off by the crowds and so made our way further south instead to Laguna Beach. We enjoyed a walk beside the beach and then found a beachfront bar to enjoy cocktails and dinner as the sun set (we Pickwells are VERY romantic, we LOVE to share a sunset together!) before returning to San Clemente to hang out with our new friends for the evening. Needless to say we were a VERY bad influence on the gang, and a LOT of gin was consumed..... Naturally this led Nat to sensibly suggest a moonlight dip in the sea (the perfect time for sharks to feed close to the shore apparently - IDIOTS), where Dan & Dave attempted to teach us how to surf - the reality being more that we lay prone on the boards whilst the poor guys carried us over the waves. Us, lazy?! Frozen, we then gatecrashed a poor teenage boy's late-night beach fire before returning to the guys' apartment for a final G&T before heading back to our poolhouse.
A bit of a recurring theme, we awoke after 4 hours' sleep to find Helen had spectacularly missed her 9am hair appointment, and Nat had stood Dan up for a daylight surf lesson.... We made it up to the boys by driving Dave to the airport, before convincing Dan to change his flight back to Salt Lake City to instead join us on our road trip to our next destination - San Diego! We were probably the worst roadtrippers ever for Dan - sweating out gin, inanely babbling, and demanding that he find us a hangover-curing In N Out Burger PRONTO. All burgered up, we cruised south, past the San Diego wildfires with helicopters dropping water from the air. We crisped nicely in the 108F degree heat (that's right, 108!!!) and somehow reached San Diego in one piece. Dan was glad to escape us, having made the innocent suggestion that we visit SeaWorld whilst in town, to be hit with a diatribe of abuse from us about SeaWorld's lack of morals and animal cruelty (Seattle's Black Fish documentary still fresh in our minds.....)
Our penultimate stop - San Diego, which contrary to what Ron Burgundy had to say about it, was NOT found in 1904 by the Germans, people DO know what its name means, and no it was not named after a part of a whale's anatomy...... You Stay Classy San Diego!