Driving on a 12 lane highway at night

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Basically we spent the whole day driving with a few detours for wee stops and foods and to get out the car. We went to Pismo Beach and it was foggy for a change, however, I finally found a parking spot designated specifically for motorbikes! We decided to stay on the coastal road for as long as possible and went to Guadalupe to see the sand dunes where Pirates of the Carribbean - At World's End was filmed. The entire movie set of the 1923 version of the Ten Commandments is also buried here. You can't walk through the sand dunes because they are so dangerous (the west coast of the US seems altogether a dangerous place to live!) and much of the beach around the car park was roped off as plovers were nesting. They seemed to be nesting on the car park as well obviously absorbing the heat from the tarmac.
The area around Guadalupe was full of vegies and strawberries etc with lots of activity going on out in the fields but they seemed to be mainly hispanics doing the hard labour. There was one portable loo for what seemed to be about 50 workers. I was worried about the sign saying waste treatment plant next to a field of what could be lettuce.
We read in my travel book about this town called Solvang which was a Danish immigrant village and looks like it was transplanted from Denmark. Naturally it sounded like a good place to have lunch and we sat outside in the sun eating traditional Danish sausage and cabbage. By that time it was getting late so we got on the faster road which meant we bypassed Santa Barbara except for stopping for petrol. It was the most expensive place so far - $3.30 per gallon and cost us $28 to fill up the tank. I was horrified! We also wanted to check the tyres and had to pay for the privilege even though we had bought petrol. The gauge had the old fashioned pressure valve and not the easy to read dial or preset gadgets that I am used to. We had to ask the guy to do it for us. They must have thought we were idiots but for a country that has automatic flushing toilets and auto paper dispenser some of the things seem way behind.
After Santa Barbara we got to drive along the Ventura Highway which was not as long as I expected. Trying to get back on the main road meant going through a town called Oxnard which I have seen too much of now! The road signs were pretty poor so we had to do it by feel and ended up driving in what I thought was a bit of a dodgy area. We managed to get through the outskirts of LA (some of the houses along the beach front are enormous) but took a wrong turn into San Pedro (no we hadn't heard of it before either) so have seen more of that than we wanted to as well
By the time we had eaten dinner we thought better of taking the coastal road so decided to brave the huge interstate that goes between LA and San Diego. It is a 12 lane highway - 6 south and 6 north - and was really busy even between 10 and 11:30pm which is when we were on it. Not the most pleasant experience I have ever had whilst driving but it was an experience. A couple of drivers had been stopped by the highway patrol but we would like to know how fast people have to be going to be chased by the cops. I was going 5-10mph over the speed limit as it was safer with many cars screaming past me but the cops seemed to ignore them. The little old prius is doing a good job with keeping up with the huge cars most people drive here. 
We stopped at a rest place which was packed with cars and trucks, real trucks and a couple of police cars. I thought I was back in Japan with the bank of vending machines outside the toilets.

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Michael on

Glad you went to solvang....I used to go there when my sister lived near there. I told Irene about it beofre you went. Glad you went!!! I always liked it.

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