"Road Trip...Road Trip!"

Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  ,
Wednesday, October 27, 2004

For the first time since we arrived in the US, we actually woke up without the need of our alarms, due to our excitement in driving that day! We packed up our things that had been thrown across the floor, resembling a gorls's bedroom (i'm sure the cleaners won't be sorry to see us go) and said goodbye to our luxury beds, not knowing when the next time we would be staying in such comfort again!

We had to pick up the car from Las Vegas airport, so jumped into the transfer taxi and made our way to the rental building. We did actually try, but failed to persuade the manager to let us drive one of his Californian registered cars back to California for free. It didn't work but it was worth a try! We signed our lives away and eagerly made our way onto the forecourt to choose our passion wagon!

The manager actually told us we could pick any car on the forecourt, so we were quite disappointed to discover he only meant the economy section. The Chrysler we had our eyes on was sadly in the luxury section! To be fair though the economy cars were a lot nicer than the cars we were used to driving at home so they would do just fine.

We settled for a brand new Dodge, quite similar to the new Ford Mondeo. Being an automatic though, Dan wasn't to pleased to be the first to drive so the duty fell to me. Although very happy, it was a bit weird driving a car that 1. didn't have a gear stick, 2. the steering wheel was on the left and 3. they all drove on the wrong side of the road! How hard could it be?... Actually not that hard! After hitting a few street cones, that in my eyes were in a stupid place anyway, we were off!

It wasn't actually until we stopped and checked (30 minutes into the trip), that we found out we were driving in the complete wrong direction - actually heading more Chicago way. We discovered with the help of the Mcdonald's manager, that Dan had actually be looking at the wrong airport on the map, hence the reason why the street names were completely different! At 12pm we finally made it back to Vegas and on the correct freeway - Our road trip had finally started! Surely we would make it to San Fran by 8pm, it was only 4-500 miles anyway?

We planned to drive to Death Valley first, before driving through Yosemite National Park and onto San Fran. We didn't actually realise how long and straight the roads to these places would be! But because of this we did make good use out of the on board cruise control. Yep, they were actually stupid enough to hire us a car with cruise control!

We played around with it having great fun, taking our feet off the pedals whilst the other steered and vicer versa, taking in all the scenery that went past. After a couple of hours we made it to the valley. Death Valley was completely different to what we expected. In our minds and yours to no doubt, DV looked a lot like the Gran canyon with hundreds of cacti around. It couldn't actually be more different. All death valley is a valley between 2 mountains that happens to be a couple of hundred feet below sea level. Hence the heat. We were there at the start of their winter so it wasn't to bad, but the temperature gauge still read 30 degrees! There were signs every where warning us of the heat and reminding us to make sure we had enough water. Temperatures had been known to reach 50 degrees in the height of Summer!

There isn't to much to do at DV as you would expect, so we jumped back in the car and made our way to Yosemite National Park (YNP). We couldn't actually believe how much the landscape could change in a short matter of time! In the space of 30 minutes we had driven up 8000feet into the surrounding mountains. It was here that Dan noticed a sign for a 'place' called radiator water. It wasn't until we noticed a lay by with a large tank of water for your car radiators that he realised what it actually meant!

After 2 hours driving up and down the sleepiest mountains we had driven on we reached the boundary of the Death Valley National Park (where the sign is). It was here we realised that our estimate of 8pm arrival time might be a bit eager. We now knew that we were in for a long drive so we changed drivers and i fell asleep in case we had to drive over night. It was literally only an hour before Dan woke me up to tell me that we had nearly been snowed in and the road through the YNP was closed. This was a problem as this was the only direct road to San Fran!

We stopped at a closed motel by the side of the road to phone Toby. I had never been so cold in my life, we had been really unprepared for the weather, only wearing Shorts and T-shirt. I'm sure Toby didn't really understand what i was trying to say, but i got the message across eventually. It was just to leave a key outside as we might be late! I then proceeded to fall arse over tit on the icy road and whack my elbow on the ground, just managing to save my mobile, and now our life line!

We drove out of the YNP and back onto the road that brought us up from DV. We stopped at an open petrol station quickly and spoke to the assistant. He couldn't believe that anyone would be mad enough to drive on these roads, especially as we didn't had wheel chains. After telling him we just had to go due to the car having to be back the next morning, he sold us all the things we needed for survival in case we got stranded, and pointed out the only way we could get round YNP. Only a 250 mile detour North, up to Reno (A mini Vegas with casino's but in the snow) to connect with Highway 5. After he said some prayers for us, we said our goodbyes and started the long drive back to San Fran.

From there on in there weren't to many drama's, only once when we nearly ran out of petrol in the middle of no where! After 15 hours of continuos driving and 820 miles, we drove into San Fran, and remarkably we knew where we were going for the first time. We parked up, lugged our bags onto our back and stumbled into Toby's flat. That bed had never been so inviting... well at least not since the last night we were in Vegas!

As its Christmas!

Jokes of the day

What did Adam say on the day before Christmas ?
It's Christmas, Eve !

How do you make an idiot laugh on boxing day ?
Tell him a joke on Christmas Eve !

What do you have in December that you don't have in any other month ?
The letter "D" !

What does Father Christmas suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney ?
Santa Claustrophobia !

What do you call a letter sent up the chimney on Christmas Eve ?
Black mail !

Who delievers cat's Christmas presents ?
Santa Paws !

Why does Father Christmas go down the chimney ?
Because it soots him !
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