We got wheels
27.10.2006 26 °C
So, we picked up the car and we were off, almost. As main driver, Laura got to take the wheel first. It didn't start smoothly!! Not having driven an automatic before she didn't know not use both feet on the pedals, there's no clutch on an automatic so your left foot becomes redundant. Using your left foot on the brake and your right foot on the accelerator results in a lot of bunny hopping... It wasn't until after nearly hitting the Porsche behind us and the car hire bloke offering to drive as around the states himself that he mentioned just using the one foot for the brake and accelerator and everything went smoothly. Obviously I should have mentioned this too but was just too excited to be sat in a car to notice!
So, we were off. We took the Pacific Highway up through Malibu, missed the turn to Santa Barbara and nearly ended up in Pasadena. This has nothing to do with my awesome navigation skills I hasten to add, it's just that we didn't have a proper map and the road signs in the states don't mention the nearby cities you want to get to, they only mention roads. So, on a main highway, you'll come across hundreds of signs saying 'Red Rock Boulevard' or 'Ashton Road' without the slightest mention of which town they are in...
Anyway, 8 days later we arrived in Santa Barbara. OK, 4 hours later (only 2 hours longer than it should have taken us!)
We stopped off at the Tourist Office and got a map of the area, found the hostel and then I drove Laura to the doctors again for her poorly ear (deafness). I love driving!
That night we partied with the locals at a bar down the main street and got followed home by a guy from our hostel who was slightly strange to say the least.
It may seem that the only people we meet on this trip are ALL strange. I would just like to assure you that they're not but it doesn't make such interesting reading to write about the normal, nice people.
That said I wonder if we get a mention in anyone else's blog????
We spent another day in Santa Barbara walking around, Laura saw the sights and I went shopping. Bought 3 CDs for our new car as the radio here is awful. Best of Eurythmics, Keane and Monty Python soundtrack - awesome!!! They were cheap!
The idea of having a Monthy Python CD in the car doesn't bare thinking about. Can you imagine J9's continuous hysterical laughter whilst driving round America?! Luckily it was The Full Monty CD, so I only had to listen to her rendition of Tom Jones instead.
Normaly I would've just edited the above paragraph for her but seeing as I had to endure complete humiliation at the start of the blog, re: my driving, I thought it best to point out her mistake :-)
The next day we headed for Palm Springs, another 5 hour drive. It gets a little bit hectic when you drive on the city ring roads because the 2 lane highway suddenly changes into a 6 lane highway and nobody her indicates so you have no idea what anyone else is doing until they cut you up.
As there are no hostels in Palm Springs (far too posh) we opted for Motel 6 which ended up being cheaper than our hostel in Santa Monica. What luxury to have our own room, with TV and a clean private bathroom. And there was a pool outside too, it felt 5 star to us!
You will notice the facilities do not include a kitchen... ho hum, take outs for 3 nights then.
We hung out in PS for 3 days. We went to the Joshua Tree National Park and did a little hike and saw all the smog coming in from LA obscuring the view. We then spent a good couple of hours at the hotpools with all the old people.
The next day we rode the rotating cable car up to the top of Chino Canyon (8,516 ft) and had walk around there and then drove to another park and had a walk around there. Lots of desert here.
And that was Palm Springs.
We drove to Phoenix and spent a night there so didn't see any of it and so won't comment on it. Doesn't look too exciting though.
Then we took the scenic route up to Flagstaff through Prescott, Jerome and Sedona which was stunning.
And then we were in Flagstaff, ready for our Grand Canyon trip.