News From The USA


Hi everyone from San Diego USA.

This is the first time I have had a chance to sit down and write a blog since I have been here.

I have taken a break because although it is nearly fall here the temperature today  is 41 degs C!

The first impressions you get when you land in America is that everything is sooooo much bigger here. The cars, houses and the land itself 4 time zones!

Typical house Carmel Valley

The second impression you get when coming from Cape Town, everything is so much cheaper. I mean every thing, cars, houses, food(except bread), electronics. I had a chance to compare the price of a brand new Land Rover Discovery 4 HSE in San Diego its price is $45,000 approximately R316000 whilst in Cape Town R700000. And with gasoline at half our price it does seem possible to run a Land Rover in America!

One of the first visit on my agenda was to the Land Rover Club San Diego what a wonderful bunch of guys and girls, they couldn’t understand how we run Land Rovers at our costs. Mind you Defenders command a considerable price as they are rarity items not available in America. Their club is run along the same lines as Cape Town. Although a lot of their machines a pretty radical, for rock crawling etc.

San Diego is a major base for the US Navy so a visit to the USS Medway, built in 1945, at the time the biggest warship built, is a must. It is now a floating museum complete with jet fighters and prop planes. The whole ship is open to the public you can sit in the planes and go up to the control tower and all the mess rooms. A fitting memorial to all who served in her.

USS Medway aircraft carrier

Jet fighters on board USS Medway

Across the harbour we visited Coronado a peninsula off the harbour, a quaint place with beautiful houses with white wooden fences. A very popular holiday place.

Southern California is a place of coastal areas and deserts. The coast is a good place for surfing swimming and sea sports, although the sea is not much warmer the Cape Town. Inland is the area of deserts and an adventure junky’s dream. Hiking horse ridding and 4x4ing.

Landscape in the McClain Valley Desert mountains

Most of the areas where not American Indian Reserves are controlled by the state and well protected there is a R7000 fine for littering. Quads and scramblers and 4x4s are controlled by licensing. The size of the quad engine governed by the age of the rider who have they have to take a proficiency test. There are very few privately owned trails.

San Diego Skyscape from Coronado

I have driven a couple of the easier trails, as I was using my daughters Ford Escape which is not a 4×4 and has road tyres, but even so found myself completely surround by deserts and mountains, a 2 hour drive from San Diego. Death Valley and the Grand Canyon are in California. The trouble is though the USA is so large, to give you an idea my son in law’s step brother visited the family last weekend from Florida. It took 8 hours by plane!

The scenic drives in the deserts are truely amazing and aware inspiring. Though the customs and immegration officals have a tough job keeping out illegal immigrants from Mexico right across the border from here.

Small "Dorp" on the way to Julian

Driving to trails you pass through many little settlements a bit like our Dorps, very photogenic and the people are so friendly and helpful, as are the shopkeepers and all people who serve the public.

My son in law has even taught me the rules of American Football, more complicated to an outsider the cricket. But the local team the San Diego Charges have gates of more than 70 000 the stadium is bigger than the World Cup Stadium in Cape Town.

They have a way of entertaining the spectators like no other game. By the way I have managed to watch most of Chelsea FC games on television here so am not missing out too much.

We paid a visit ot a town called Julian up in the mountains, an area famous all over America for growing apples, they make the most amazing apple pie, and cider.

Seventy Niner Julian

It seems like the World Cup has made an impression on the Americans, I was speaking to an immigration official at one point, he told me he had been to Johannesburg with a friend to watch the mexican team and definably wants to take his wife to see the beautiful city of Cape Town. The reaction of must of the people when you inform them that you are from South Africa “Yur from Africa!?” Even so there are a lot of South African living in this city, it is easy to get biltong and wors.

The original purpose for our visit was to welcome into this world our latest Granddaughter Emily and I am pleased to announce the mother and daughter are doing just fine.

As for myself I cannot wait for an excuse to visit this part of the world again. It seems like my holiday has been far too short.

Torrey Pines the only place where these endangered pines grow

San Diego Chargers Match

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Filed under 4x4, Cape Town, Football, Hiking, News, US Navy

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