Stanley feels the heat

Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, October 16, 2011

And so did we. But to start at the beginning ...

Got up early so we could make an early starrt to avoid the heat. Poor Shelagh and Karl, they get up early every weekday and we spoil their weekends, too. After breakfast and goodbyes, we left at about 8.15. Set off down the road, stopping to fill up with petrol. Whereupon we got a call on our (new) mobile phone to say that Karl was chasing afetr us with the map book we had left behind!
The usual trouble filling up with petrol - using the debit card, but the cashier logged it as a credit card, worked fine but no pin number needed, no signature. But he only allowed for $50 which wasnt enough. So do it all again, this time as a debit card, which it was. Wont accept the pin. So he logged it as a credit card, and no proof that we were genuine. No wonder theres a banking crisis! Anyway, $100 later and with the map book safely in our hands, we set off.

The first part of the journey was back along the vfreeway towards LA, where we had come from. The roads arent a patch on the UK roads, the concrete was corrugated and gouged and in places the slabs of concrete had sunk a bit so as you go over the edge of one piece its like hitting a pothole. But at least they werent as deep as those we were used to ! How does concrete become corrugated?

Anyway we soon turned off the freeway at Ventura and took the 126 across over the top of LA. This entailed doing quite a bit of climbing, up to a max of 3400 ft, whereas we started at about sea level. On top of which, the temperature rose to about 36C, so poor Stanley had to work hard in the heat.

Because I wasnt watching the sat nav we missed a turning, so in sorting out where we were going we went into the outskirts of Victorville, where we stopped off on a golf course for lunch. Quite pleasant sittin in the shade of a tree to the side of the fairway. Saw a few golfers going by, and its a mixture of "now I know why I dont play the stupid game" and "If they can play that badly, I would be relativeely good!"

But through an inhospitable terrain we continued until we arrived  at our destination, 236 miles from the start. Pleasant motel, with a swimming pool, although the water temperature was about -5. Not just because the air temperature was high, the water was really cold. Surprising in view of the afct that youy'd expect the air to warm the water up. Still, a few quick lengths, and now we can get ready for dinner. I guess it'll be an even earlier start tomorrow and will be unntil the weather eases.

Martin's Mexican moments:
The water temperature in the car got up to about 95F when we were climbing up to 4000 feet and in the heat of the day. We knew by looking at the forecast yesterday that the peak temperatures would be between 1 and 4 pm hence the decision to get going "early". 8.15 isn't exactly the crack of dawn and a 6 o'clock start would have allowed us to escape the back end of the day as we arrived in Barstow at about 3pm.But thankfully the car stood up fine to the extreme of temperature and we were less harassed than on similar days in the first part of the trip.We stopped for a drink and bought some filled rolls for lunch and later stopped to eat these on the edge of a inner town golf course.So a more leisurely approach to getting where we need to go.
I'm not sure we have actually entered fully fledged desert yet but its hot and arid enough and not for the first time I'm amazed how people are determined to eak out an existence in such inhospitable conditions.In the middle of nowhere you come across a little homestead or shack,sometimes a few gathered together.
The Mexican thing? We've landed in a Quality Inn motel - pure chance as its one of a dozen in a line in the town - and the dining room is Mexican.I honestly feel as someone who cannot cook other than to save his life that mexican cuisine might just be the one I could master. Molten morass with bungled beans and firepeppers.
Oh and the great,great thing about America - nothing is strange  and nobody is eccentric.You can get away looking like anything and behaving however you like provided nobody gets hurt.Its difficult not to like the place and as ever the people are just as helpful as you could want..
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Peter W on

Hi Roger,
I just got in 6.50 pm Sunday received your phone message, I see you are at Barstow aka arse end of California - only thing petrol is cheap there as is accommodation.
Sorry I missed your call, best time to reach me is between 7.00am to 8.00 am, although I will be in this evening (Sunday) until 10.00pm so feel free to call.
Yeahj it would be good to touch base and chat ( rates are cheap in pm. Also sorry I missed you, hopefully you will be looking at your e-mail


Jemma on

Hello Boys,

Good to hear you are back up and running.
Hope you are wearing really inappropriate baseball caps to block out the sun.

You know what they say about Mad dogs and Englishmen.

Seems the blog may be my only communication link as the time difference is magnificent.

look after yourselves and look forward to the adventures.

Alison on

Will look forward to a delicious home cooked mexican on your return Martinl

sara on

count me in for mexican night!!

sara again on

sorry about chaos on our end of phone tonight-was very lovely to hear your cheerful voice. hope stanley stays cooler tomorrow

Mary R on

Ah, but will you be able to replicate the subtle beauty of the ham fajita created by me and Tim Cliss??!!

Mary and Josh on

In our limited experience, petrol (pronounced GAYAS) stations and most businesses in America don't appreciate debit cards - they don't believe you have the money in your account. They'd rather you bought it all on credit, which is obviously limitless in this wonderful economy. On the plus side, there's normally a bountiful array of beer, ice cream and beef jerky available to buy with your credit card. What have you been indulging in apart from the daily Subway?? Why are all RVs brown, Josh asks? Keep up the good work.

Alison on

Any more takers for the mexican delight? We could all dress up!

Emily on

Count me in! I'll bring the stick-on moustaches...
Let's get a date in the diary. I can't wait to see dad in the kitchen.
Ham fajitas- surprisingly popular!

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