Photography

USA road trip, day 14, nearly there

USA road trip, day 14, nearly there

Early to bed was definitely a good plan last night. Awoke to a beautiful sunrise feeling as fresh as a daisy. Greg must have been feeling good as well as he went for a run. Whilst on that run he saw a coyote. Apparently they’re quite common at Furnace Creek because they hunt the birds that are attracted to the golf course there. Yes, a golf course in the middle of the desert. After breakfast it was time to check out and at reception we saw a roadrunner trotting around. Made me think of the cartoons we used to watch as a kid, Wily E. Coyote, Road Runner, Speedy Gonzales. Marvellous. First stop was Golden Canyon this morning, going back on ourselves a little as we didn’t have time to see it yesterday because of the closed road. This was another location used in Star Wars, where R2-D2 is on his own in a canyon, afraid, and is captured by the Jawas. Thankfully we didn’t bump into any Tuskan Raiders 😉 Time then to head back through Furnace Creek and on to the famous ghost town of Rhyolite. Place was dead so we then headed for lunch at the Badwater Saloon in tiny Stovepipe Wells. We arrived at the saloon after stopping briefly at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, a vast area at the north end of Death Valley. The time of day wasn’t ideal for taking photos but we couldn’t hang around for golden hour as we had places to be, people to see. Then began the long drive out of Death Valley. No wonder it felt like forever getting out of there, it’s the biggest National Park outside of Alaska covering 3.3 million acres, that’s almost as big as Northern Ireland! On our way out of the desert, on Highway 178, we came across a section of unpaved road. It was basically two miles of dusty dirt that kicked up a hell of a sand storm as you plough through it at 40, not advisable to go any faster unless you had rally car experience. As we were coming into the town of Mojave we were treated to the most spectacular sunset, to me it looked like the sky was on fire. The cover photo was taken from the car capturing one of the huge freight trains that are found in that area. We ploughed on, past the Edwards Air Force Base (the shuttle used to land there on occasion), through Lancaster as it turned dark, on to the northern outskirts of Los Angeles. The amount of traffic on the 6-lane freeways was phenomenal. Bumper to bumper, the headlights snaked back for miles. I thought the traffic at that time of night would have been worse coming out of the city but it was almost as chocker going in. You think the M25 is bad, it’s like a country lane in comparison. We finally made it to our accomodation, a bungalow I found on AirBnB in Pacific Palisades, a suburb of L.A. just around the corner from our old friend from Tunbridge Wells, Matt, who moved to the States about 12 years ago. It wasn’t until the next morning we realised what a great location we were in, nice neighbourhood with a view of the Pacific Ocean 🙂 After reassuring the hosts that we weren’t going to wreck their lovely home they left us to it and departed for a weekend away. Matt came round to take us out for the evening and turns up in his new BMW M4, loves his toys and still a boy racer. Before you could say Malibu, we arrived at Nobu. Matt wouldn’t let the valet park his car but still gave him a $10 tip 🙂 Don’t really like sushi, not my cup of tea so I stuck with the beers. They weren’t cheap but it wasn’t as bad as the bill the others had to divvy up. Do love a good bicker, took me back 20 years. Can always sort it out tomorrow, at the gun range!

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