West Coast USA – Day 2 – Flagstaff

Have waffles for breakfast from waffle machine in reception.

Buy map – too large a scale – and head to the Hollywood sign. Use GPS to get there, which takes us to the middle of an intersection, and the view of the sign is average. Park up in a near by store and take a wander down to take some pictures. Have to dodge traffic and stand in the road to get half decent shots of us with the sign. Walk back to the store and buy a gift for Yana and ask the guy at the counter for directions for the best place to see the sign.

Drive to a “Dog Park” not too far from the store which has excellent views of the Hollywood sign. Get the tripod out and take some snaps.

The Hollywood sign

After the photo shoot we head for Walmart using the GPS to stock up with supplies. In the end we stop at a 7-11 as Walmart seems to be miles away. Stock up with snacks and a crate of bottled water, which turns out to be very handy.

Set off to Flagstaff around 12.30pm, it’s a long 6 hour drive and we stop at In & Out Burger on the way for late lunch around 3pm. Stop in Needles – a one horse town – for gas on the way. Turns out to the most expensive gas in the country, over $4.5 a gallon, no wonder the clerk didn’t know how to operate the till! Arrive at Yana and Slilas’ house at 8pm as expected to a warm welcome. Ate eggplant and cheese bake while catching up. Diana and Yana met in Kindergarten and haven’t seen each other for 17 years!

Have an early night as we’re all exhausted.

West Coast USA – Day 1 – LA

Arrive at Heathrow to find that BMI doesn’t fly to the US. They use United, would have been nice of them to tell us in advance. Get two seats together in their own row next to the window to Chicago.

Have a 6 hour layover in Chicago where we walk up and down the passenger drop off as there is no other place to walk and we don’t have time to go into the city.

Finally arrive at LAX 20 or so hours after we began.

Very pushy salesman at the Hertz counter, manage to avoid buying any extras, but end up paying for the sat nav we’d reserved. Booking confirmation form was very misleading. Pick up SUV and have to exchange because it won’t start since the battery is flat. Finally get a Silver Ford Explorer and make it out of the parking lot.

Drive to motel on the Sunset Strip. Room is nice and has a walk in closet! Get to bed at the ‘normal’ time only to be woken by drunken guests and car alarms – nice area.