US road trip


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North America » United States » California
July 12th 2011
Published: July 16th 2011
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Day 1
After an uneventful 17 hours flight from Bangkok to LAX, in which surprisingly, I managed to sleep for nearly 13 hours I finally arrived to LAX. The queue at immigration was massive but was handled very efficiently and what was initially looking like a 2 hours queue ended up in a 35 minutes wait for the homeland security guy to let me into the US soil without any hassle.
My cousin and her boyfriend Ozi were waiting for me and we made our way to the motel in Thousand Oaks in the outskirts of LAX, so we could avoid the rush hour traffic the next morning.
On Tuesday morning I woke up pretty early but still managed to have a good night sleep so I was hoping to bypass the jetlag. Went for a 5.2k run around very nice residential areas and was greeted nicely by some by passers walking their dogs.
Then we set off towards our next stop that day which was Santa Barbara. After an hour and 20 minutes’ drive we arrived at Santa Barbara and drove to the beach where we parked and went straight to the tourist information office to ask for some ideas on what to do. A nice lady, explain where we were and gave us some useful info although we were quite surprised to hear that the shopping mall was recommended as one of the top tourist attractions in Santa Barbara!
We went to the beach front where we saw a very cool camper van decorated with all sorts of stuff, from beach pebbles to figurines, keyboards, signboards etc. We spoke to the owner, a really nice Californian who wanted a tip for taking pictures and was a good laugh. She showed us an article written by a German magazine in which he was labelled as the “first and only professional hippie”.
Then we went to the Santa Barbara’s wharf to have a look around, took some pictures and I had my first meal in the US, fish and prawns tacos. Very nice and reasonably priced at $9.95.
From the pier we got back in the car and drove to downtown. Parked and went to visit the County house and the courthouse, where we got up to the observation tower which provides excellent 360 degrees over the city. We strolled around downtown and were very surprised to see how nice and clean Santa Barbara’s downtown was. You can tell it’s quite a wealthy town just by looking at the coffee shops, art galleries and the nice people walking around.
Next stop, the Queen of the Missions about a 5 minutes’ drive from downtown. We paid $8 to get in and we enjoyed a very well preserved mission founded by the Franciscan father Junipero Serra. Haven’t had time to check it out yet but I’m wondering whether he was a Catalan since we saw a tile with an inscription in Catalan. After a nice relaxing time strolling through the mission we got back in the car and started driving towards our next stop, Morro Bay.
We weren’t initially going to stop in Morro Bay but were a bit fed of driving and fancied a drink. I’m glad we stopped as it was a very nice small village. We had a drink by the pier and some nachos which came in a massive portion and then went to see the Morro Bay rock which is quite impressive. The locals at the bar told us that we could see the whales and so we went to the rock to try our luck. We managed to see a whale but from very very far away. In fact we just saw the water coming up the sea when the whale was breathing but it was very cool anyway. Then we went to the beach to see some surfers although it was pretty empty at that time.
After Morro Bay we got in the car again and drove to Cambria where we spend the night. We stayed at the Bluebird Inn. We payed $140 + tax for a 2 queen bedroom with fireplace. It was quite expensive but a very nice bedroom and since we were very tired we decided to stay there. After unpacking a bit and relaxing for a few minutes we went for a stroll and something to eat. We were still really full from the Nachos that we had in Morro Bay so we decided against having dinner and settle for a hot chocolate and a muffin in one of the bakeries that were still open. It was very quiet and dark but there were some interesting places and some very promising restaurants.
It was around 10:30 when we got back to the bedroom and went to sleep shattered.



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