America day two

Day Two; Driving to Las Vegas

Waking bright as a button, I decide to go north to La Jolla (“The Jewel”) to see a bit more of the Pacific Coast before I head east into the deserts and mountains. It’s a bit of a random effort driving again and I miss several freeway entrances (another hour’s driving tour of Dan Diego!) before I find my way out to the north. There’s an exciting interlude in Pacific Beach, sirens screaming behind me, and thankfully I swerve right instead of left as a car screeches past with two black and white patrol car’s in hot pursuit! Once there, I just kept following residential streets along the coast (expensive residential streets I’d say too), and stopped when I found a small park on the cliffs edge.. with benches! Out with the trusty therms for a cup of tea and a ciggy and this……..

The coast of California curving north from La Jolla.

Add to this the splashy draggy sound of gentle surf sucking on pebbles and kelp at the bottom of the cliff. Beautiful warm morning, lot’s of young and trendy Mum’s pushing strollers in exercise gear, a SUP paddling offshore, and a swarm of Segway riders making their way down the street. So California!

The cliffs were lined with houses, mostly extremely modern. Adobe seemed to be the building material of choice, I loved it.

Carrying on north and hugging the coastline I came across a small sort of a breakwater jutting out, people walking on it, and a car park right there for me.. so out I hopped and how lucky I actually was – it’s called the Childrens Pool, and has a resident group of Pacific Harbor Seals, and they were there, sunning themselves on a rock platform, right below the breakwater. Fabulous!

The little golden one in the middle reminded me of Chubby, it even did Very Cute Things with its feet. They are obviously well accustomed to a human presence, and look up at you with dog like brown eyes. Very special.

Healthy Californian style salad for lunch in La Jolla, scoot off to get on the Interstate and away from the Coast. The terrain is dry and yellow and lumpy, hillocks really, with a twelve lane highway snaking between them. You read it right, twelve, and I’m in one of them in a Yaris sedan! Interesting thing is that wherever possible, someone has built a house on top of each hillock. I can see mountains looming in the distance though, and away I go, not stopping until I am near Barstow… my first American McDonalds, only a coffee to go though, and away again. I have come up through those first mountains, big ones, and the air is noticeably cooler up here.

Much flatter land stretching away as far as the eye can see till it comes up against another range of distant mountain’s. I’m much more comfortable driving now and can relax and enjoy the landscape I am passing through, the colours changing as the sun drops to the horizon behind me. I pull into a rest stop because this is going on behind me….

Raised a water bottle to this one. Huge skies, such clean air. I was told that visibility can be up to 110 miles in Arizona, and I can believe it.

I’d been advised to time my arrival in Vegas for after dark, and a couple of smaller gambling places on the way in, Primms was one, semi prepare you for it, as does the glow in the night sky, but the sight of Las Vegas all lit up in her party gear spread out on the flat desert floor for miles is breath-taking as you crest the last rise before dropping down into the madness. Thankfully I have GPS as driving up the Boulevard is dazzling – at the very end is the Stratosphere Tower where I am booked. Not sure this is going to be my cup of tea.

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