California dreaming !!!

Trip Start Sep 13, 2009
Trip End Apr 06, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, October 17, 2009

Picked up hire car and we set off for Yosemite national park , an hour later we were still going around San Fransisco trying to find the road out .... eventually we did and made our way to Groveland where we had arranged to stay overnight just outside the park,, found the Riverside Lodge okay even though it was a few cabins in a wooded valley ,, the location was okay but the owner was a bit miserable and didnt seem able to run a bath never mind a lodge , it was a shame as with a bit of effort it could have been very good , Next morning drove into the park , $20 fee , the road was fairly easy with areas every few yards where you wanted to take a photo , there were trees everywhere and cliffs and sheer rock faces that made the area very dramitic . We were advised to take the road up to tiaga pass as it is only accessable a few times a year ,so we did , the 60 mile round trip turned out to be worth it as the scenery was just amazing , the hills rose to 10000 feet and plenty of snow around , as usual we were dressed appropriately in our shorts !! , Having returne to the main road we continued to the valley centre which has a campsite and a few shops and hotel . Had picnic lunch and walked around the information centre and mock Indian village which sounds cheesy but was quite interesting . It was rounded off by seeing a large deer stood in the middle of the village eating a bush , totally oblivious of all the cars and tourists stood around . Further along the road we came across another female deer with two young stood right next to the road ,, they just didnt bother about all the people taking photos and let them get to within a few feet . We were supposed to be seeing the giant redwoods which grow in the park ,, well we might have done but to me one tree looks pretty much like another so I,m not sure !!. As we left the park we had arranged to stay at the Shilo motel in oakhurst , it was only a motel but value for money was one of the best we have stayed in .
Monterey was our next port of call so we had to drive the 200 miles back to the coast , Visited the Aquarium , as it turned out , on its 25th birthday , so free cake ( result). Monterey is very easy place to like , it had a good feel about it and was very enjoyable , As did our next stop further down the coast at Pismo Beach , in between we drove down the coast through Carmel, ( where Clint was Mayor ) and the area known as Big Sur , scenery again to die for , which comes pretty close on the very steep and windy coast road! . More seals at San Simeon !!!! Pismo was a quiet, small surfers town and we stumbled on a good place to stay so did two days , the 2nd day we just slobbed at the pool at the hotel which we were both ready for .
Friday afternoon we made it to Westlake village just north of LA where we were staing with Grahams uncle, Gary and his wife Suszanne , they and the kids made us so welcome had a great relaxed weekend lazing around and visiting Venice beach which is a very strange seaside area full of extremely strange people , All the states wierdos seemed to congregate , but each to their own ! . Stayed Monday in downtown LA which sounds very grand but isnt really , LA is very spread out in different areas and lacks a centre with any atmosphere or soul , but has to be visited if you're this close finding that 2 days is enough though ,, roll on Fiji 
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