It had been a long day, one which took 22 hours to get from a bed at A (Beds) to a bed in B (San Diego), via taxi, aircraft and shuttle bus…

For months Boatwif and the Captain had been craving a face-to-face reunion with the full Californian family.

Once news of booked flights percolated through certain Cal Clan members pressed their own cravings for a Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate delivery…

There was a 90 minute delay in take-off from Heathrow (a ground equipment issue) but the flight was smooth and uneventful.


Time was made up and as the sun was setting local time the aircraft came in over the city,  only 50 minutes late. There had been a tantalising glimpse of the California Tower and Museum of Man buildings in Balboa Park before landing. Then (ground equipment issue again, this time at San Diego Airport) it was a further 30 minutes before the aircraft doors were opened…

“I’ve been watching your flight all day,” texted Cal Guy Jnr – and his screen shots showed the aircraft west of Iceland and coming in towards San Diego over the Anza-Borrego Desert…

San Diego Airport is under massive reconstruction, but eventually, minus the huge delays remembered from entry to the US via Los Angeles, two weary travellers (by then 21 plus hours since their morning alarm clock) found themselves out on the street – and in due course at a harbour-side hotel.

“You must eat meals according to the local time zone to help the body adjust,” the Captain insisted.

There was a small dinner.

There was a 3am (local time) wake up when that crushing, squeezing jet lag pain sears across the eyes…

Then there was a 6am (local time) second wake up when the eyes ached very slightly less…

By 8am San Diego City and travellers were awake:  the buglers played First Call from the nearby US marine training base, the marine military band played the US national anthem and four storeys below the swimming pool was being given its morning check.


Fruit …fruit…

After a day of airline food Boatwif craved a bit of fruit. In this big country most things are mighty big…

Outside the hotel rain was blowing in across the harbour.   Lightning flashed behind the skyscrapers  – and the prospect of a road journey north to deliver the chocolate and be reunited with the Cal Clan felt a little alarming.

The hotel shuttle bus arrived, (“Your Boris Johnson needs a  haircut,” was the driver’s pronouncement). Back at the airport the rental cars shuttle bus delivered a motley group of travellers to the Consolidated Rental Car Centre, a new provision where car processing was smooth and efficient.

Out of town. There was an urgency to get out of town ahead of the weather – and up the Interstate 5…

Once at Carlsbad there was the sea / Pacific Ocean to survey surfers to watch,  ground squirrels to spot – wave-skimming pelicans to miss…

Several cravings had been satisfied, now another was tackled. Many times before the Greek eggs with orange slices, the good coffee and the relaxed atmosphere at The Pannikin  has aided post flight recovery.

Then on to San Marcos, not via the freeways but by a route across country, each “rotary” (roundabout) approached with caution. The way roads slice and switchback through the valleys and over the hillsides is always a marvel…

Arrived. The final craving satisfied, family hugged, some for the first time in four years – and there was Cal Gal (last seen in the UK last December) and, taller again, Cal Guy Jnr, Cleddau’s recent crew member who’d learned the ropes last July.

There had been four years since the last San Marcos trip – but revisiting old haunts and assessing local changes would just have to wait until some serious catch up sleeping had been done!

Signs seen en route: Pet Relief Area                                                      Dogtopia:

UK places referred to in casual US conversations: Dover, Stockport, St Andrew’s, Chelsea, London

Journey by air: 5479 miles; Journey by road: not yet calculated (94 miles, Capt)


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4 Responses

  1. Nidia Oliveira says:

    Yay great blog. Have fun with the fam. Love this time of family reunions xoxo

  2. Jaqueline Biggs says:

    So happy to hear your voice Sue, and to know you and Ken had a safe journey over. HUgs to the Cali crew! xxx

  3. Sue Deveson says:

    Thanks Nid. In my head I am trying to calculate the time difference between us here in Cal and you in WA – would it be that we are now 16 hours behind you…?

    Jaq, it was absolutely great to hear you too! We’ll talk again soon.

    Sue /Boatwif

  4. Nan says:

    Wonderful stuff as always Sue. Looking forward to the next instalment already. Please give our love to James.

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