Day tripping and road tripping


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Published: March 6th 2011
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The Sign The Sign The Sign

We didn't get any closer but what more is there to see?
1st March 2011

Our last day in L.A. before hitting the road for the last time started at a reasonable hour. Showered and wearing clean clothes after my bag finally showed up last night, we made our plan.

We headed to reception to book our shuttle to the airport for tomorrow (we have to get to the airport to pick up the car as we could only hire it from there if we want to drop it off in San Francisco) With that sorted out, we made our plan for the day, with the help of Kat. She recommended a few stops on the Metro for us to check out and so we headed out into the big city.

We walked to the stop and bought our ticket from the machine. We got a paper ticket from the machine, and then walked up to the barrier where we were really confused as there was no place to put our ticket to open the barrier. In fact we stood for a minute or two and then walked through the barrier as they were open anyway. (in fact the rest of the day we didn’t show our ticket anywhere or see anybody checking tickets once - why did we bother?)

Our first stop was Union Station where we headed for Olvera Street, the place where LA was founded. Our arrival coincided with lunchtime so we headed into the first eatery we saw. This was a Mexican place where the menu was in Spanish and not being that au fait with the cuisine we both ordered the same thing which was the only one that we could decipher from the menu. We both ended up with a plate containing green chicken, salsa, refried beans, a couple of small tortillas, and some rice.

It was very good, although different to what we are used to as Mexican, this is clearly more authentic but I will stick with the stuff we get. After this we trawled the street looking at the stalls and shops, all selling a variety of carnival type items, such as piñatas, some ponchos and a few Mexican wrestler outfits. We also looked around a preserved house on the street, checking out how they used to live - surprisingly well given the time was my view!

With the small area thoroughly checked out we headed back to the metro and another line in the direction of Pasedena. After about twenty minutes on the train, we got off at our stop and started to explore this city. Clearly the US have a different view of a city than us as this was almost a suburb of LA but it did have its own feel and a significantly smaller number of people begging/talking to themselves than Hollywood.

We had a wander around the shops and had a really good gelato stop (ice cream/sorbet to most) but we weren’t in the market for buying much so after a while we headed back towards the train station to get the return journey underway.

Arriving back in Hollywood we got off a stop further along the line than we had boarded reversing our walk (the hostel was equidistant between the two stops) so did a little more perusing of the souvenir shops before returning to start sorting ourselves for the morning.

In a dorm when you want to leave early you really need to pack the night before - so we set about the task, having done a bit of washing to (hopefully) see us through to the end of our travels. I also tried to call home to say happy birthday to my mum but the skype functionality of both our laptop and the hostel ones wasn’t up to the task. Another early night as we were pretty tired (I think our bodies are not used to working to stay warm so we get tired faster here) and our last night in a dorm.

2nd March 2011

The alarm rang only once before I silenced it - pretty good for me - as it is rather antisocial in a dorm. So we both got up, showered and headed out the room to return the bedding etc and await the arrival of our shuttle to the airport.

This turned up and took us through LA including a small piece of the outskirts of Beverly Hills (I’ve been there now on my list!) before dropping us at the airport. From here we got another shuttle free of charge to the car rental place, where we selected our economy compact car. Somebody needs to define these words for the Americans, as we had the choice of a variety of medium to large family saloons.
Authentic MexicanAuthentic MexicanAuthentic Mexican

(a strong resemblance to school dinner, with the disposable segregated plate)
(admittedly they were the smallest thing in the car park, but when they have HUGE 6l v8 trucks its no real surprise.

We had opted to get a satnav as neither of us fancied trying to navigate out of LA or into San Francisco for that matter. Having never used one before a couple of wrong turns were made early on as I didn’t really expect it to be as accurate and therefore turned off to early in anticipation of what it was saying but once we got the hang of it it was really useful here. Totally pointless at home with a fully functioning iPhone and the ability to check a map prior to leaving but perfect here.

Our first stop/destination was Malibu, this was to get out of LA in the right direction without getting onto Highway 101, but to stay on Highway 1 the coast road. After about an hour and a half of driving steadily on the huge multi-laned freeways the road finally narrowed a bit to a two lane affair and in not much longer we arrived. By now we were both starving as we hadn’t had any breakfast, nor in fact anything to eat at all yet and it was nearly midday, so we succumbed and went into a drive through McDonalds. I know, I know we berate it so much and then we go and buy some, but we had all the stuff in the car and on view and it was just easier. A mile or so up the road we stopped to eat and it just so happened that we stopped right opposite Malibu pier. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to cross the road and check out the pier and those in the water (in a lot of neoprene, it must be cold) The surf was nothing special but it still looked fun - oh well another time maybe.

From here we carried on with the satnav directing us towards Santa Barbara. We strayed a little in the next town/city as we thought we were being taken away from the coast road, when in fact we weren’t - should really trust the satnav I guess but its hard when you both disagree with it!

Anyway we got back on track and kept on in the direction of Santa Barbara which we passed through heading onwards. We kept on driving along the 101 (by now this was the correct road - we wouldn’t get back on route 1 until tomorrow) and finally found our way to our destination - San Luis Obispe.

A small city which is almost exactly half way between LA and SF, which is why we had decided to stop there. Driving an automatic car (which I’m not used to doing) on the wrong side of the road, neing talked at by satnav (again not used to it) was actually really tiring, so it was a real relief to arrive even though it was only about 3pm.

We headed towards the hostel that we had checked out online, and found it (satnav doing a good job) but as it shuts during the day and wasn’t open again until 4pm we decided to move on and actually went back across town to a Travelodge we had passed on the way in.

We checked in using a voucher in one of the maps that had been left in the hire car, and got into our room. It was straight out of the movies, with a place directly outside to park the car and a bed with a TV in front of it and a small bathroom. Really quite nice after sharing a dorm for a few days. Exhausted we collapsed on the bed for a bit of TV before finally stirring enough to go across town to the supermarket to buy something for dinner and some food for the journey tomorrow.

With this accomplished in the slight drizzle we headed back for a relaxing evening in front of the box. We both felt a little guilty as it was a really nice looking city from what we saw, and if we’d had longer we would have explored a bit more but the drizzle and therefore the cold, coupled with being tired made the decision not to go out that little bit easier. We also had plans to get up early to get on the road so an early night was definitely the order of the day.



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