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Day 29 - 21st May - Lebec, CA

That's me at the end of the Santa Monica pier, Australia out there somewhere
End of the Santa Monica pier

So here we are! Rayls tells me it is Lebec in California, I am not that sure but I guess it is right. How did we end up at least 100 miles from where we thought we would be............ well, it's a long story.

The Westin Mission Hills Villa in Palm Springs gave us a good night’s sleep - nice place. Palm Springs is big in golf - 15 courses at least within 10 miles of the hotel.

We had a reasonably early start today - just a bit after 8am. We stopped at iHop for brekkie. Here we saw 5 or 6 narcotic cops when they came in to have breakfast. A couple of them had long hair and beards which suggested an undercover assignment. Their cover was blown however as they all had T-shirts which said Narcotics Police on the back. The guns on their hip may also have been a giveaway.

Then it was onto I10 on our way towards Los Angeles. It was our intention to follow the I10 all the way to the end at Santa Monica Pier.

As you leave Palm Springs you go through San Gorgonio Pass, one of the windiest areas in the world and I know that for sure because it was tough going keeping the car on the road. The Pass is home to 3,500 electricity-producing wind turbines. The electricity generated by the wind turbines is enough to meet the needs of 100,000 typical homes or about 250,000 people. Quite a site all those windmills.

We had 3 quilt shops for Rayls to visit today, all not too far from I10. We visited Busy Bee Quilt Shop in Calimesa. This one had a book shop next door and I was actually in the book shop longer than Rayls was in the quilt shop - we both made purchases - three books for me, one for free. Then it was on to Gingers Quilt Shop in Upland and from there just a few miles to The Fabric Patch in Montclair. Purchases made at both, at the second I went up the road to a Best Buy, my first for the trip.

We were back on the I10 a bit after 1pm and drove the 60 miles into LA where we arrived at the Santa Monica Pier around 2:30pm. We walked down the pier, very windy. Checked out a few stores including the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Around 4pm we headed north. Our intention was to drive Highway 1 along the coast from LA to San Francisco with numerous stops along the way. My good friend Jim (not my other good friend from Jim and Bette fame but an old family friend (now passed) from home) told me once you have to do the drive from San Francisco to LA along Highway 1. This drive is along the coast and very scenic. You must do it from Frisco to LA because you have the ocean on the correct side of the road. Yeah yeah! We knew better.

It was soon obvious as we headed through Malibu that this was going to be a tough drive. It does make an enormous different being on the wrong side from the ocean. All the ocean view car parks are on the opposite side of the road and if you do stop you have to cross a very busy road to get to the ocean side of the road.

There was also the problem of where to stay for the night. I texted my life line Scott and asked him to Priceline a hotel in Santa Barbara a couple of house up the coast - no go. There was nothing going at a decent price. After much texting to and fro we decided to abandon the coastal drive and head for I5 and some accommodation for the night.

We will do the coastal drive on some future trip and do some pre planning and also do it from north to south.

Scott got us a decent Ramada hotel in Lebec which is about 80 miles north of LA on I5.  There really is nothing here other than the hotel, 3 servos and 3 food outlets including a Denny’s.  Denny’s for dinner!

Tomorrow we aim to get across to the 101 and head up to San Jose, around 300 miles. We will leave the coastal towns for the planned future north to south drive.

One item I forgot to mention yesterday - when checking in to the Westin Mission Hills Villa in Palm Springs I had an Aussie moment! The lady said our villa was on the first floor. You would think after 6 visits to the USA I would know what this means but alas no. I spent a number of moments trying to figure out how to access our upstairs villa before I remembered that first floor means ground floor in the USA - sigh!

I have some photos to add to both yesterday and today’s story. Too tired, maybe tomorrow.