29th March - Lodi
The road to LA didn't start well. In fact it was one of the worst days ever. It was traffic from beginning to end with not much achieved.
We started out in Garberville with a few stops away to admire the views. Lunch in Santa Rosa where we decided to try for Muir Woods just 30 k's north of San Francisco. We have been there before and enjoyed the walk so went for it again. Sadly they have changed the rules and you need to have a reservation now. So now, having got that close to San Francisco we decided to head east and spend the night at Lodi which is on interstate 5 just below Sacramento. That took us away from San Francisco and its traffic but into different traffic. We crawled much of the 150 k's to Lodi.
In Lodi, we went to an Applebees hanging out for food and a drink. The service was poor and it just finished off a poor day.
30th March - Bakersfield
400 k's down to Bakersfield. Just 200 k's out of LA.
Pottered around Lodi, drove, pottered around Bakersfield. A couple of crashes on Highway 99 heading the other way saw traffic bank for miles. In one crash an ambulance was leaving as we went past in the opposite direction. A car was upside down in the middle of the road.
The rental car keeps warning that the air pressure on one of the tyres is down. It was the front right in Cedar City. The problem is the air compressors at the servo only put air in the tyres, they don't have a gauge to tell you what the air pressure is. I am not inclined to buy a gauge I would get little use from. Steve helped me out in CC and all tyres were 35. Then a few days ago the warning came back on and it was the right rear tyre this time - back to 21. Yesterday I stopped for fuel and put air in the tyre. Just have to guess how much as no gauge. You have to drive a few k's before the warning resets. So now I have the right rear at 27. I pulled up at a server here in Bakersfield and to use the air compressor is $1.50 and no gauge. With all the USA has to offer, paying for air and with no gauge. Crazy.
I have to say I have seen a different USA on this trip. Seen a fair amount of poor behaviour, hooning, tailgating and more. One dude on a motor cycle going between heavy traffic thumped my right side mirror. Dickhead. Things are a lot more expensive, its almost like Australia now! Still love the place and overall the trip has been great. Just seen a few things that have surprised me.
The traffic light system in the USA was a lot better when I first started coming here. No waiting at red arrows when there is no traffic coming like you do back home. Now, its much the same here as it is back home. Pain.
31st March - Moreno Valley
Today we headed another 300+ k's to Moreno Valley, about 80 k's inland from LA.
Those of you who know me know I love the sixties, it was the time I grew up and I would go back there in a heartbeat.... as long as I can take my mobile phone with me!
I had 3 bucket list items from the sixties that I finally finished ticking off today. Number 1 was seeing Scott McKenzie sing San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair). Did that in 1994 and had a wonderful friendship with Scott until his death in 2012.
Number 2 was to meet Jerry Mathers, the Beaver from Leave it to Beaver. As a youngster in the early 1960's I watched Leave It To Beaver each week. It was always a dream to meet the Beav and that that happened in March 2014.
Number 3 was to meet Dawn Wells, Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. Today she had a meet and greet at the Soboba Casino in San Jacinto. We booked a hotel nearby and at 6pm went off to the Casino. Horrible smokey place but after some formalities Rayls and I got to meet the lovely lady. Believe it or not, she will be 80 in October. Only time for a short chat but it was great to meet her. We had photographs taken which will be online tomorrow. Got a T Shirt and an autographed photo. All for free.
We tried to use out $15 credit gambling voucher but couldn't figure out the complexities of the one armed bandit which took $2 off us in the process. We got a $2 credit slip but then couldn't find the cashier. Gave up and went back to the hotel.
1st April - Los Angeles
Easter Sunday and most of the shops are closed. Good Friday and Easter Monday are normal working days here in the US.
We had a relatively clear run into LA from Moreno Valley, took about an hour.Just outside LAX’s runway 24-Right sits an In-N-Out Burger Restaurant with a small park which has a sensational view for plane spotters. Being a plane spotter I have spent short periods of time at this location in the past but this time I got over an hour. Rayls was going to sew but took a nap in the car instead. The restaurant was closed for Easter Sunday which caused quite a lot of entertainment in itself - at one stage I counted 8 cars lined up n the drive through and there was a constant line of people going to the door and peering inside when the door wouldn't open.
In the time I spent at the park I saw 3 A380's land, an A340 and 5 Boeing 777's. Plus many more smaller aircraft. It was a pretty murky day but still fun to watch the planes approach and then pass just metres over your head around 10 seconds before they touch down. By using the Flight Radar App on my phone I knew what was approaching well before I even saw them. Good fun.
We then drove to the vicinity of our friend Scott McKenzie's house. Scott passed away in 2012, in his last few months we got the opportunity to take a walk with him. Tough going as the house is in the Silver Lake part of the Hollywood Hills. Now when we go to LA we always take that walk in memory of our good friend.
In the early evening we made our way to Maria and Charlie's house where we will be staying till Thursday.