Friday, September 17, 2010

USA - 2700km West Coast hire-car road-trip - David

Los Angeles
Despite being in LA for more than long enough to have witnessed a drive-by shooting, Paris & Kim driving the big white bus on a street corner, or random Hollywood celebs doing their thang, we were, surprisingly, out of luck.... While there, we stayed in a couple of slightly affordable motels that really looked like they might double for those low-rent crime-scenes you often see the team photographing bloody corpses and dusting for prints etc in the seedier parts of town on an episode of something macabre like CSI or Law&Order

Some people wear Superman pyjamas.
Superman wears Chuck Norris pyjamas.
Only in the US ! An iPod vending machine in an overpriced mall on Sunset Blvd...
Santa Monica, on the coast north of LA was just like out of an episode of Baywatch. Along the path right beside the sand were bazillions of cyclists on beach cruizers, rollerbladers, joggers, and strollers. And elsewhere gymnasts on the public monkey-bars, and folk practising capoiera, yoga, and stuff. Despite the superficial body-beautiful image, it was great to see people keeping fit and in shape.

San Francisco was really cold after the sweltering Florida & Georgia, prompting us to get some disposable warm clothes at a Thrift Store (op shop) just to stay comfy. The Galleries there were great fun, and we caught some of the July 4th festivities down by the harbour.

Something that has really shitted me for years is the way in which "sculptors" behave like architects and don't get their hands dirty, preferring that real professionals almost anonymously realise the work. Above is a life-sized porcelain rendition of ol' MJ and his monkey - actually made by an Italian studio I think...
On the coast road north of LA we met a German cyclotourist - he'd been gone only a couple of months and had already covered several thousand km's through quite a few countries, including Japan and NZ..
A German cyclotourist on his way round the world much
faster than us...
Dozens of elephantine seal-things sleeping on a freezing
windswept beach on the way to San Fran.
Golden Gate Bridge

Walking the path by the Golden Gate.

Clambering out of the hollow centre of a massive fallen tree.
Resting, up t the top of the Bridal Veil falls in Yosemite.
Hopefully Gaby will  put something meaningful here . . .

Death Valley

Death Valley was somewhere I've really wanted to viit ever since reading the 'blog of a bloke who cycled through there on a unicycle some years ago, with an "I NEED WATER" sign pinned to his back. He was on an old Schwinn 24" - WITH PANNIERS and armrests !! Apart from being rather desolate, Death Valley is 85 metres below sea-level, at its lowest point, and most notably had the most ridiculously hot public toilet I've ever experienced. The concrete bunker was well over 50 degrees C. It didn't smell all that great either.

Furnace-hot sub-sea-level toilet bunker.
Apparently the sub-sea-level and the surrounding mountainous terrain has some odd effect on air-flow and greatly keeps the heat in. The surrounding hills and salt flats, where borax was mined and refined ages ago by Chinese labour, come in a variety of colours – from pink through turquoise – and make for an odd sight indeed.

Knee-deep in the mega salt crystals of the Devil's Golfcourse.
Las Vegas, baby !
The smoggy 'Vegas skyline - we stayed in the hotel/casino
below the needle on the right.
The stratophallic $tratosphere Hotel/Ca$ino.
In Las Vegas we stayed in a cheapo motel right beside The Little White Wedding Chapel where Elvis, Britney and others  somewhat less famous got hitched. We successfully avoided the Casino-based stoopid-peeple-tax, but spent a decent wad on the Bellagio's watery Cirque du Soleil production "O" which was just abso'feckin'lutely amazing...

One of the 'Vegas Ca$inos has an indoor Venetian Canal, complete passenger-bearing electric gondolas with singing gondoliers - though at $60 a pop for less than 10 minutes, maybe not...

Above the Sector 7 Hoover Dam
Halfway between 'Vegas and the Canyon we crossed the Hoover Dam. They're rather security conscious there - no trucks, buses or bombs allowed - and it's just amazing how thoroughly Sector 7 managed to repair the dam and all that crazy damage that the Deceptacons wreaked while freeing Megatron kinda recently, as we saw in that stirring Hollywood documentary with Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox.

The Grand Canyon
Not surprisingly, it's a really big hole set into an even bigger chunk of rock. We managed only one day there, and really enjoyed the interesting 'Interpretation Centers', breathtaking vistas and funky sunset.
Just a few feet behind us was a good drop...
After the jaunt to the Canyon we flew back to Atlanta and the bikes from the airport in 'Vegas. At returning the hire car Gaby was more than a little skittish - the flight was not much later, and the tank had been flashing empty for the last 30km or so.

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