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Clad in khaki boiler suit and dark glasses, Michael Portillo joins the US Navy Pacific Fleet, birthplace of the elite flying academy Top Gun.

Michael Portillo is nearing the end of his thousand-mile rail journey from Reno, Nevada, to San Diego in southern California. In this final leg, clad in khaki boiler suit and sporting dark glasses, he joins the US Navy Pacific Fleet, birthplace of the elite flying academy Top Gun. Aboard the Pacific Surfliner, he arrives first in the coastal town of La Jolla, where he takes to the water in a kayak to explore the extraordinary 75-million-year-old caves.

In San Diego, he picks up the trail of the industrialist and property speculator John D Spreckels, who made the city boom in the 19th century and built a pavilion to house the largest outdoor pipe organ in the world. Michael is offered the chance to play it. Appleton's recommends a trip to a huge structure, completed in 1888, on which San Diegans have depended for water for 130 years - the
Sweetwater Dam.

29 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Michael Portillo
Director Dave Minchin
Series Producer Alison Kreps
Production Company FremantleMedia

Broadcast

Steam Railways: Watch programmes from the archive collection

Steam Railways: Watch programmes from the archive collection

Shows from the BBC archives celebrating the beauty of locomotives.