Hot Rods & Margaritas

Trip Start Apr 16, 2010
Trip End Nov 02, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hollywood Hills

Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, June 13, 2010

It was time to leave the mountains, so we headed down, down, down - sometimes you only realise how high you've been, when you are coming down. The south exit from the Sierras is a dizzying switchback affair, with every car smelling of burnt brake linings & signs everywhere 'Save your brakes, use first gear.' Most corners had a speed limit of 10 mph!
All the while the view is spectacular & the forest beautiful.
Once on the flat we were quickly, & depressingly, back to 'civilization' - a very dull freeway took us most of the way to LA.
We stopped for the night at a 'Ramada Inn' & found out what another $10 a night would buy us in the commercial accommodation market - some kind of reasonable decor, more space & better TV channels. Not proper crockery for breakfast though!
 We returned to LA to once again stay with Tom and Elizabeth in the Hollywood Hills. Their first comment was: "Let's go home and drink Margaritas!" This sounded like an an excellent idea, so we did. Mind you we are starting to ask ourselves why we seem to be encouraging otherwise fairly restrained people to party. We had a great time catching up with these lovely folk who were bravely coping with the grief of the recent unexpected death of Tom's sister. Perhaps the odd bod Aussie travellers provided a welcome distraction. I hope so.
  It was here that Tom took us to a hot rod show in a local park which was splendiferous with chrome, shining, powerful engines, incredible paint jobs and plenty of tail fins.
  Some of these collectors pieces are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, not that their proud owners would willingly sell them! The exuberance for automobiles is another especially American fascination; mind you Tom, who is a British car enthusiast, did bemoan the absence of Jags...
The train journey back to San Francisco from LA  was another nightmare for me, crippled with arthritis and a really sore knee, courtesy of rafting down the Grand Canyon.Still the coastal route through Hollinger Ranch and Vandenburg Airforce Base revealed more and more great surfing locations, most of which are inaccessible by car. Then the line wound inland and around the back of Big Sur with its majestic rolling hills. Finally, many hours later, we rolled into Oakland on the outskirts of San Francisco, perhaps the most politically left wing of all US cities. (The San Franciscans launched massive protests when America invaded Iraq.) We found reasonably priced accommodation at the Edwardian Hotel. 

As usual I enjoyed the train much more than Peter. I guess my legs are shorter (though there is heaps of legroom- much more than on a plane), I don't smoke & I don't have arthritis. For some of the Coastal Starlight trip, the rails run right along the coast & as Peter mentioned, the train goes through sections that the general public cannot otherwise see.
At dinner we shared a table with a young doctor from San Luis Obispo & a builder from Oregon - 7 had a very interesting discussion on American politics. The sunset was wonderful too!
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dave benson on

Nice to hear from the great world travellers.We continue to drive slowly and will drink to your good health with Margaret's red wine

Nat on

Hideeho neighbours! Loved the pics from the train. You're not missin much here...other than your offspring, who have been coming and going this week. Didn't actually get to see Lara & Ben but spoke on the phone to arrange kitty duty. It has been bucketing down here with gale force winds so we all stayed inside most of the week! Seriously hideous weather! Luc & Gabe called in for a cuppa, which was lovely, and we heard all about the wedding plans &it all seems to be falling into place nicely.Not sure when Dan gets back but the cats are lovin pats from me and the tucker, of course! Telstra came to topiary your gum trees out front, but don't panic...they were rather conservative in their chopping and it looks good! They didn't leave a mess either!Amazing!Let us know what you think of New Orleans too! Will be interested to hear. Safe travels...NAT, PHIL & MUTTY xxx

luc on

You guys are Margarita fiends!! I take some credit for this, having provided your first margaritas at the Mexican Fiesta haha :)

neville on

You poor old crock Peter. SF sounds a bit like OL Prevelly...left of centre and protesting about everything and everything. A little rain over the next few days and the promise of some great weather. Julia sends her regards..with Bob and Paul arguing about recent history...take care.

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