Deep in the Heart of Texas

We have spent the last week staying with the Bodden’s (Brice, Amy, Tom, Pippa, Alex and Jack the dog) in San Antonio, Texas.

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It has been a wonderful week and a much needed break from life on the road.  I’m being serious when I say that highlights included trawling round the supermarket, a trip to Home Depot, a visit to the local bowling alley, walking Jack through the nature trails, hanging out with the kids at the pool, eating home-cooked Texas BBQ, and quiet (or not so quiet) drinks on the porch in the evening.  The Bodden bunch were amazing hosts.  We had a lot of laughs and our time with them has definitely helped set us up for the next leg of the trip.

We did manage to squeeze in a few tourist highlights during the week as well.  Amy and Brice took Tuesday off work to take us to downtown San Antonio where we visited the Alamo, the iconic Riverwalk and chowed down on some authentic Tex Mex (think cheesy, saucy, beany, meaty, heart-attacky goodness).

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We also did an overnight trip to Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country, which is an hour from San Antonio.  Fredericksburg is a beautiful little town known for its German heritage and local vineyards.  It has a similar feel to Greytown with upmarket homeware stores and cafes and restaurants.  There’s not necessarily a huge amount to do, but it’s a lovely place to wander about and enjoy the sunshine and the local hospitality.  We had our first “screw the budget” meal at a local vineyard while we were there, which was a real highlight.

 

On the way home from Fredericksburg we visited Luckenbach – a town consisting of a pub, dancehall and post office.  Luckenbach is a country music mecca and is known as the spot at which loads of country music stars started their careers.  There is live music almost every day and it seemed like an awesome place for a hoedown (if you’re that way inclined).  We also called into the Lyndon B Johnson National Park.  This is the ranch owned by the former American President and includes his family’s private cemetery, the home where he was born and the home from which he conducted a lot of his Presidential business (the Texas White House).

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Here’s a snapshot of what else we’ve been up to, and what we’ve learned from our time in Texas:

  • Flying domestically in America is stressful.  We flew to San Antonio with Delta, who turned out to be the Jetstar of America.  Delta is notorious for over-subscribing flights (so that even if you’ve paid for a flight you may not get a seat on the day), cancelling flights, or running so late that you end up missing your connecting flight.  It took us the grand total of 14 hours to get from San Francisco to San Antonio, meaning that we arrived at Brice and Amy’s pissed off and exhausted at 3 am in the morning.  On the plus side, Delta does offer complimentary snacks when flights are delayed, and I must have eaten a lolly for every minute we were held back, so about 240 in total.
  • There are snakes in Texas.  I’m not sure how this had escaped me previously, but it
    was an unpleasant surprise on arrival.  We didn’t see any big ones, but we did come across one during our walk with Jack (about the size of a gummy snake) and it still scared the bejesus out of me.  My friend the squirrel is also a Texas resident.  Jack and I probably hate squirrels in equal measure.  He also hates the postman and buses, which I’m not so fussed about.

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  • The bits of Texas we saw were just like Texas in the movies – pick-up truck and “ya’ll” and “ma’am” territory.  Texas also openly embraces the American right to carry guns and there is a strong wild west feel in certain parts (probably due to cowboy hats and boots being everyday wear).  Restaurants will often have signs specifying whether guns can be worn visibly or not on the premises.  Our motel in Fredericksburg  had a simply request of those carrying guns – “If you exercise your right to defend yourself, please shoot accurately”.
  • Some of the food we’ve had in the States has been pretty hit and miss.  In particular,
    I had expected American hamburgers to be the things that greedy girls dreams are made of.  However, I am yet to find one to rival the burgers from Beer Meets Grill (which prompted a very awkward “When Harry Met Sally” response when I first had one).  In saying that, I would be the first to admit that America has absolutely nailed the humble sandwich.  There’s no such thing as a limp ham and egg sammie over here – the sandwiches are absolutely stacked with meat, pickles, cheese and salad.  You literally cannot fit them in your mouth sometimes.  They are amazing and there are sandwich bars everywhere – general stores, supermarkets, liquor stores, pharmacies.  Case in point – this wee sandwich had a whole ball of mozzarella just casually stuffed into it.  It was glorious.  Even Campbell thought it was photo-worthy.

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  • You need to tip hairdressers in America.  If you happen to forget, Jerry from behind the counter will go from being your best buddy to giving you a death stare in about five seconds flat.  If I was a San Antonio local, I’d be looking for a new hairdresser right about now.

I’m writing this blog as we wing our way to New Orleans.  Delta has delivered today and aside from a delay on the runway while a “maintenance issue” was resolved, it’s been smooth sailing.  We are due to arrive in the Big Easy just after 9 pm and will be bunking down in an airport motel before heading into the city proper tomorrow.  The annual Jazzfest is on this weekend, so we’re expecting a fun and full-on couple of days.

A&C

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Yosemite: Naughty by Nature

We had the best intentions of getting up early on Tuesday and beating the crowds to Yosemite.  However, our time in Vegas had taken its toll and we were both feeling decidedly jaded when the alarm went off in the morning.  It didn’t take much convincing to hit ‘snooze’.  Turns out we had nothing to worry about – we hit the road about 10 am, Campbell dialled us into a throwback RnB radio station, and we cruised into the park listening to the sweet sounds of Warren G, Puff Daddy and Mariah about an hour later.  We were feeling pretty smug when we pulled up to the gate without another car in sight, only to have the Ranger inform us that it was National Park Week and entry was free – we were off to a flier!

Things just kept on improving as we made our way into Yosemite Valley.  April is still officially classed as winter in Yosemite and a number of roads and attractions can be shut due to snow.  One of the key sights, Glacier Point, is often still closed and we were prepared for the fact that we probably wouldn’t be able to see it.  Not so!  Tuesday was the first day that Glacier Point was open for the season, and it was absolutely spectacular.  We wound our way up the road (which at some points had almost three metres of snow and ice banked up on either side), past the Yosemite ski field, through gorgeous forests (the whole of Yosemite smells like Christmas) to the amazing Glacier Point lookout.  This is another one of those things that photos don’t do justice.  Go to Yosemite and see it for yourself – do it!

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We were both absolutely buzzing as we drove away from Glacier Point.  We took our time and meandered down to the Valley floor taking in all the beautiful meadows, rock faces, forests, streams and waterfalls on the way.  Yosemite has two of the tallest waterfalls in the world and the snow melt meant that they were really putting on a show.

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Our luck ran out as we pulled up to our accommodation – Half Dome Village.  To be fair, the accommodation itself was exactly as we expected.  Lodging options in Yosemite aren’t all that broad and, with the budget in mind, we had booked a permanent tent with heating in amongst a massive tent village.  Campbell said it looked like Guantanamo Bay, but he can be a bit precious about these things.  It really wasn’t that bad, but it was a change from some of our recent accommodation.

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In reality, the biggest issue with our accommodation was our fellow campers.  It seems that National Park Week is also school camp week, and the camp was absolutely overrun.  We’re not talking a handful of smiling children sitting round a fire toasting marshmallows and singing Kumbaya; we’re talking hundreds of prepubescent heathens who tore the place apart and all spoke like Fran Drescher from The Nanny.  It started off as a bit of joke as we smiled and quoted The Castle (“how’s the serenity”?), but after a few hours the red mist was descending.  As bedtime approached, I decided a preemptive strike was required.  Campbell was mortified (to be fair it was only 7.30 pm) as I got out of my pjs and got ready to march up to the office to complain.  Hell hath no fury like a Sandilands who predicts she’s not going to get a good night sleep!

Off I power-walked, ranting and raving and preparing my extensive list of complaints.  It was quite the walk from our tent to the office and, as it transpired, my temper is explosive, but lacking in stamina.  By the time I reached the front desk the rage had seeped away and instead of thumping the counter like I had planned, I politely asked if the manager could please ask the children to keep the noise down.  She was very obliging – we got a discount on our room for being so “understanding” and the manager came down and yelled at the children, so I didn’t have to.  Winning!

The next day we decided to tackle a couple of proper hikes around the park.  The most challenging of which was the climb up to Vernall Falls.  The official brochure ranked this walk as “moderate”, but whoever wrote that was clearly having a laugh.  It was an uphill slog, including clambering up slippery rock steps alongside the falls, but it was well worth it.  You get absolutely saturated at the top from all of the spray and the outlook is amazing.  Campbell said I did well not to kill myself since I am a “gangly-legged plonker”.  We kept our eyes peeled for mountain lions and bears the whole way, but sadly (or maybe not) we didn’t get to see any.

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We left the park this morning and are currently holed up in an airport motel in San Fran.  After three weeks we are back where we started.  We’ve done almost 3000 kms on our California/Nevada voyage and Sally the Sentra pulled through valiantly after reaching heights of almost 9000 feet. Tomorrow we fly out to Texas to stay with Amy and Brice and we cannot wait.  It will be nice to stay put for a bit.

A&C

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Waking up in Vegas

So it’s been a wee while since the last blog (Mums – the hints have not gone unnoticed!), but we’ve been in Vegas and that place doesn’t leave much time for anything else.  Vegas is as mad and exciting as everybody says, and is totally unlike anywhere either of us have ever been before.  The closest comparison I can draw is a cross between Wellington during the Rugby 7s (when they were still cool) and a full-moon party in Thailand when all the pastey, cashed-up Brits descend on the islands.  It is hedonistic and absolutely mental, but I guess that’s the point.

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I think the key lesson I learned in Vegas was, that in order to really enjoy yourself, you have to pretty much abandon any idea you have of how “normal” adults behave and check your judgy pants at the door.  People seem to come to Vegas for the sole reason of leaving normal life behind and doing things that you just can’t do at home.  It took me the first day to stop looking round thinking “you people are animals”, and really get into the swing of things.  Campbell, on the other hand, embraced Vegas from the moment we hit the Nevada state line.  I have actually never seen him so excited (think, five year old child jacked up on red food colouring), which is both awesome and slightly worrying given we only got married six months ago.  Fair to say that he had no trouble throwing himself into the thick of things!

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Our four days in Vegas turned out to be some of the best of our trip so far.  We ate, drank, smoked, gambled, shopped, golfed, sunbathed, made it along to a show, and just had a bloody good time.  We also had a day apart from one another and we both agreed that was absolutely awesome!  Campbell hit the golf course and then joined a poker game with his new golfing buddies (Jack and Mike) and although performing poorly on the golf course, managed to fleece the group out of a couple of hundy (minus golf fines and drinks to ensure he didn’t rark up the locals too much).  I had a wander around the shops and played with handbags I couldn’t afford and then spent some quality time around the pool.

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In amongst all of that we also set aside a day to visit the Grand Canyon, which was a highlight of a totally different type.  The Grand Canyon is flat-out amazing.  Yes, it might just be a hole in the ground (thanks for that observation, JR :)), but it is also so grand and beautiful that it really does take your breath away.  We joined a guided tour that gave us four hours to wander around a section of the Canyon’s perimeter and it was time well spent.  We arrived during a snow shower and it was beautiful and sunny by the time we wrapped up.  Again, it’s one of those things that pictures don’t do justice, but here’s some anyway.

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Here’s a few other key learnings from Vegas:

  • Do not drink at the same rate at which you lose money.  You will end up drunk.  You will also end up eating a wedge of camembert with a plastic spoon for dinner, which you will justify to yourself on the basis that your room doesn’t have a fridge and you don’t believe in waste.
  • Games that involve food and animals (two of my great loves) will bring you the best luck.  We had bumper sessions on “Chihuahua Fiesta “and “More Chillies”.
  • People here drive fast, like seriously haul-arse, drive it like you stole it, fast.  There is nothing more terrifying than a massive pick-up tailgating you.  The lights and grill on a pick-up truck do not make one of those smiley “Thomas the Tank” faces – they make very aggressive, angry faces.

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Today, we hit the road and currently find ourselves in Oakhurst.  I drove us here today and actually managed quite well.  There were a few hairy moments while I got used to sitting on the wrong side of the car and Campbell ended up almost sitting in the lap of the truck driver in the next door lane, but we made it in the end.  We’re now thirty minutes from Yosemite National Park, which we’ll venture into tomorrow.  It will be a massive change of pace as we camp out in the bush for a couple of nights, but we’re both looking forward to a bit of a detox and going offline.

A&C

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Stay classy San Diego

On Monday morning we left LA and headed south for San Diego.  It was another busy day on the roads and there were some navigational challenges, most notably when Google and I had a wee breakdown in communication and we almost ended up driving into an US military base.  After a hasty u-turn, we decided to call into Oceanside for some lunch since I was clearly suffering from brain fade.  We parked up at Tony’s Sports Bar, which served up the worst meal of our trip so far.  The waitress compensated for this by being super lovely to everybody and her efforts to call Campbell “babe” and “baby doll” meant that she still got a decent tip.

We’re staying at Ocean Beach in San Diego.  It’s out of the city itself and is a relaxed surf community, and home to plenty of old beach bums.  This is our second Air BnB and it’s a bit of a laugh.  Our little house is attached to the owner’s German restaurant and shares a wall with the beer garden – there is a locked door in our lounge that actually opens straight into the bar.  You can only imagine Campbell’s delight when the owner opened the door on the first night and let him have the run of the place (the restaurant is closed on Mondays). Of all the things we have seen on our trip, it was the photo of his own personal beer garden that Campbell wanted to send to his mates.

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Yesterday was our first full day here and we spent the majority of it at the zoo.  San Diego Zoo is ranked among the best in the world and that seems to be well-deserved.  The grounds and facilities are absolutely amazing and it was really nice to visit a zoo where the animals aren’t all mysteriously “sleeping”.  We were a little surprised to see people chugging beers as they walked around the zoo, but it seems that you can buy and drink booze pretty much anywhere you like over here.  Six pack at the zoo?  No problem!  In the afternoon, we popped into Old Town San Diego, which is an area of town that includes old buildings (schools, court houses, saloons etc) that have been restored, and which give an insight into San Diego from the wild west days.   It was super touristy, but worth an hour wandering around.

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Today we spent the morning at the USS Midway Museum.  The USS Midway is a retired aircraft carrier that is moored in San Diego harbour.  It has four engines that each have 53,000 horse power and, together, mean the ship can go fast enough to tow a waterskier – yeeha!  You can wander around it and see the different planes used by the Navy over the years, the engine room and the living quarters. This was definitely one for Campbell, (who watches that kind of stuff on Discovery all the time) but I really enjoyed it as well.  We even tried our luck at the flight simulator – Campbell was the pilot and I was the gunner.  Luckily for us they didn’t give you your stats at the end, because I think we hit one enemy plane and about twenty of our own (obviously due to pilot error).

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We paid a visit to Walmart this afternoon to grab some emergency supplies after realising that we are woefully underprepared for our time at the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.  I would need to take ‘layering’ to a whole other level to survive zero degrees and predicted snow showers.  Walmart wasn’t quite the freak show we were expecting after seeing those “People of Walmart” pages,  but it was still pretty mind-boggling.  We sorted ourselves out with some snazzy windbreakers, so hopefully will be good to go now.  We spent the rest of the afternoon at Pacific Beach, which is a really beautiful area just up the road from us.  If you had a few extra bucks this would be the place to stay.

Our time in San Diego has been really enjoyable, and we both think it is a beautiful city that seems to be incredibly liveable.  We’re hitting the road tomorrow and have a five hour drive to Vegas where we expect the pace to go up a notch or two.

A&C

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Los Angeles: Welcome to the Jungle

Tonight is our last night in LA.  At the risk of sounding a bit bratty, it’d be fair to say that we haven’t exactly loved it here.  There’s a couple of reasons for that – the key one being that it has rained for two out of the three days that we’ve been here.  At home, that wouldn’t normally be grounds for complaint, but LA typically gets only thirty days of rain a year, so we’re a bit bummed out to have had such a wet visit.  The vast majority of things that we wanted to do while we were here were premised on getting good weather (think beaches, parks, observatories . . ), so we’ve found ourselves cooped up indoors a little more than we would have liked.  The other key reason would have to be that LA is just a bit mental.  Hollywood (where we’ve been staying) is loud, dirty and incredibly busy.  People are up in your business 24/7.  On the plus side, we have been forced to slow down the pace a little bit and we’re both feeling better for having bit of R&R.

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Our first full day here was Friday.  It pretty much poured all day, so other than a quick walk down Hollywood Boulevard to see the Chinese Theatre/Walk of Fame etc, we really didn’t get up to much.  Cabin fever kicked in yesterday and I was desperate to get out of the house to see/do/eat something from my mega itinerary.  Campbell said I was being a “dick face”, so we rugged up and decided to head to Downtown LA to go to Grand Central Market.  Grand Central Market is a giant food hall with all sorts of delis, bars, food stalls etc.

There was a half marathon on in our neighbourhood and traffic was a nightmare, so we decided to brave the metro.  I have no issues with public transport and will happily ride the loser cruiser at home, but I absolutely hate underground transport.  I hate that you don’t know what’s lurking in the station until you’re already on the escalator and committed. Sadly, riding the Paris metro previously only reinforced my fear – there were all sorts of bat shit crazy people lurking in those stations.

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Anyhoo – we got on the metro and were off to a good start.  I didn’t stare at anyone, and it looked like we were going to get through unscathed.  Two stops before we were due to get off a crazy little man got into our carriage and immediately decided he had beef with Campbell.  He was right up in his grill and wanted to know how much his shirt was, how much money he had in his wallet, how much his sneakers costs etc.  It was incredibly uncomfortable and we were both super relieved when crazy little man got off at the next station.

Grand Central Market was awesome (as expected), and the only downside was that we didn’t have bigger stomachs.  I would have kept eating until I popped, but thankfully Campbell has a degree of self-control.  On the way back to the metro, we swung past the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  It’s a beautiful building, but neither of us have an overly high appreciation for architecture, so it was a flying visit.

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The weather finally played ball today.  We got up bright and early to tick off a few things from our list.  First stop was a drive through Beverly Hills and down Rodeo Drive.  I wanted to get a quick glimpse at how the other half live and it did change our perspective a little bit – there are some lovely neighbourhoods in LA.

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From there, we carried on to Santa Monica.  Santa Monica is beautiful and, if we ever return to this area, it’s where I’d stay.  It’s a lovely seaside community with great eateries, a lovely shopping promenade and a gorgeous beach.  I got super excited at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co and got my photo taken at the Forrest Gump bench, complete with box of chocolates.  I maintain that Forrest Gump is one of the best movies, ever.  Campbell declined to have his photo taken.

 

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We were planning on having one last jaunt along Hollywood Boulevard tonight, but the Games of Thrones series premiere is on at the Chinese Theatre and the road is closed/carnage.  I was tempted to go and do a bit of celeb spotting, but I can’t compete with the people who have been parked up in their deck chairs waiting since god knows when.  We have seen some celebs while we’ve been here though (if you’re prepared to take a liberal interpretation) – the guy from Bondi Vet and Gary the judge from Master Chef. Not exactly A list though.

Tomorrow we leave for San Diego where we have a house booked at Ocean Beach.  We are really looking forward to getting down there.

A&C

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Anaheim: Hey Mickey!

Yesterday was D-Day – Disneyland visit day.  We were up bright and early in the hope that we might get a jump on the crowds and, in particular, the family groups who we figured would take an age to get ready and out the door in the morning.  We quickly realised our attempts would be futile when we woke at 6 am to the sound of screeching, sleepy children being wrangled into carseats by their parents.  We knew then that it would be long a day and that we’d have to call on all of our survival skills – outwit, outlast, outplay.

Getting into the park itself was a breeze.  Venues here don’t seem to struggle at all dealing with large crowds of people – everything is streamlined and pretty bloody efficient.  The people are also very relaxed – no one gets aggro or impatient, they just wait quietly (well, as quietly as Americans ever are) for their turn.  It’s a good thing that they take that approach – wait times for rides can be over an hour!  We were through the gates and ready to hit the ground running just after 8 am.

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Once you’re in the park it quickly becomes apparent that there is a hard core of Disney diehards.  These people seemed to have annual passes and were often decked out in full Disney costume and running frantically from ride to ride dragging their children like they were all part of the Amazing Race.  We avoided these people at all costs.

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Disneyland itself is pretty spectacular.  The attention to detail that goes into the rides, the streets, the stores and the costumes is amazing and its hard not to get a little bit caught up in the ‘wow’ of it all.

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Here’s some of the highlights from our day:

  • Getting to go on most of the best/grown-up rides (just look at how much Campbell loved Splash Mountain!).  The rides aren’t exactly thrill rides like you’d expect at a regular theme park, but are focussed more on special effects, costumes etc.  Once you get your head around that you can start to appreciate the amazing work that’s gone into them.
  • My personal highlight (and Campbell’s undisputed lowlight) was the “It’s a Small World Ride”. You’ve probably seen the ride (or take-offs of it) on TV.  It involves taking a wee boat trip through a grotto where little dolls representing the countries of the world sing “It’s a small world” over and over and over again.  I have never seen a grown man as uncomfortable as Campbell was while those little dolls were singing and dancing.  Wikipedia says that there are 196 countries in the world, so you can just imagine how long the ride went for.  At the end of the ride, I splashed out and bought Campbell a commemorative coaster, so that after a hard day at work he can have a beer and remember that things could always be worse.
  • Campbell’s highlight (because he is a bit mean and grinchy) was when it started to rain shortly after lunchtime.  You have never seen smiles turn into frowns as quickly as they did at Disneyland.  Face paint started sliding off, candy floss went soggy and all around the park were moans of “Mommy, I’m wet, Mommy, can we go home, Mommy, I don’t want to go on any more rides”.  The claim that Disneyland is the most magical place on earth evidently only applies on fine days.
  • Arriving at our Air BnB accommodation in Hollywood.  This is our first Air BnB experience and we were both quietly chuffed that the place actually existed and we hadn’t been scammed.

We bailed on Disneyland at about 2.30pm and decided to tackle the hour drive to LA.  Two and a half hours later we finally made it to our accommodation.  It turns out that President Obama was in LA yesterday and every road that he was due to travel on, or might vaguely look in the direction of, was shut.  The result was freeways that were absolutely rammed with traffic – it’s known round here as Carmaggedon.  We made it in one piece and were stoked to find that our Air BnB hosts had stocked the fridge with beer, wine, cheese and crackers.  We tucked in and all of the stress of the trip quickly faded away.

We’re in LA for the next few days and are very much looking forward to staying put and a couple of car-free days.

A&C

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Coastal Highway 1: On the road again

To be honest, the last couple of days have been fairly uneventful.  We had a lovely night in Morro Bay, and both really enjoyed the little township.  Having settled into our awesome and super affordable motel (high fives all round), we went for a wander and discovered that the heart of Morro Bay is its beautiful harbour chocked full of fishing and day-trip boats, otters and seals and surrounded by top notch seafood restaurants.  Morro Rock sits front and centre and only adds to the atmosphere.

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We were back in the car bright and early on Tuesday and headed for San Luis Obispo, another cute little town with a few tourist attractions we thought would be worth seeing. We didn’t exactly get off to a flier and got told off by a very unfriendly local approximately a minute after pulling into town.  Turns out that in America they don’t use yellow lines to let you know that you can’t park in a spot – you need to look at whether the curb has been painted red instead.   We reparked (while the unfriendly local tut-tutted and shook his head at us) and went in search of the town’s famous bubblegum wall.  I had hoped/expected that the wall would be something magical, Willy Wonka-esque.  In reality, it was fricken gross. Most of the bubblegum is really old and has gone brown or black in the sun.  There are videos on Youtube of people running their tongue along this wall.  I expect those people will be single for life.

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We didn’t hang around for long after that.  We were back in the car headed for Santa Barbara.  I don’t actually know much about Santa Barbara other than that it is supposedly very swanky, and I used to enjoy watching the soap opera of the same name with my elderly neighbour Dawn after a hard day at kindy.  Santa Barbara was nice, but there was something about it that left us feeling a tad underwhelmed – we couldn’t quite shake the feeling that perhaps we hadn’t got to the “good” bit yet.  There is a very strong chance that we did miss the boat, given it was such a flying visit.

Today was another big day on the road.  Campbell is handling it like a champ, but conditions have become slightly more trying.  There seems to be a direct correlation between the numbers of lanes on the highway and how short our fuses are.  We were up to 7 lanes each way today and shit got real.  The majority of conversations have gone something like – “take a left, oh wait, shit go straight, oh no left again, hang on -can you pull over, are we going north?  I think Google is broken . . . etc” Notwithstanding that, we managed to navigate our way to Malibu and then onwards to Venice Beach where we stopped for lunch.

I had wanted to visit Venice Beach and, in particular, the outdoor body building gym for which it is famous.  Sadly there was no young Arnie working out there today, but a few middle age menu doing more preening than pumping – pretty funny though.  The beach boardwalk is effectively a collection of pizza places, tourist shops and oddballs trying to earn a buck one way or another – on offer was hair braiding, henna tattoo, life advice from a satanist and a variety of arts and crafts of differing quality.  It was definitely worth a visit and I got my fill of staring at people for the day.

Tonight we find ourselves in Anaheim.  It will be a quiet evening to prepare ourselves for Disneyland tomorrow.  There are whole websites dedicated to helping you maximise a day at Disneyland and outwit the other visitors.  We will take a brief look at those but, failing that, we’ll be taking the NRL approach of drop the shoulder and go straight up the guts. Those little kids will be back to visit another day, but we’re already bordering on the creepy side of the average visitor age spectrum.

We’ll leave you tonight with a few more observations from our time in America:

  • The coffee here is bad.  Really bad.  New Zealanders do not realise how good we have it.
  • With a few exceptions, the people here are ridiculously perky, polite and courteous.  People didn’t even toot at us when we swerved and cut them off that time when Google broke and gave us the wrong directions.  We have been made to feel incredibly welcome everywhere we have gone.
  • The majority of TV commercials are for insurance, or prescription medicines.  The medical ads are absolutely hilarious.  The first ten seconds sets out the amazing benefits and the likelihood of curing your eczema, depression or DVT.  The remaining 40 seconds lists all of the potential side effects and effectively tells you that, while your eczema may be gone, you will be blind and have involuntary muscle spasms and the squirts for the rest of your life. Classic viewing.

A&C

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