After our fab cooked breakfast we headed off to Joshua Tree National Park. We were actually staying in a place called Desert Hot Springs. We were now back in California. The campground was supposed to be for RVs and wasn't really set up for camping so there was no fire ring or pit so we couldn't make a fire and it got really cold. The place did have a great pool complex with natural hot spring water. The pool was great but I got bored of swimming and ran into the hot tub. Another hot tub! We really were spoiled! We stayed in there a lot longer that the suggested 20 mins. More like an hour and 20 mins! We had a good dinner that night but it really was cold! We sat at the table for a while but as people went to bed it just got colder and colder. I went to bed quite early that night I think! The next day we were supposed to get up and drive to the National Park. We left at about 9am and it was a good 45 min drive to take us to the Visitor Centre and the entrance to the Park. We watched the video and then Paul drove us up to the start of the trail. By now I had a stinking cold and I'd woken up feeling really rough. I was so cold and achy. I had not intention of doing a 7.5mi hike which I know would involve hills! I don't do hills. So about 6 of us stayed in the van and Paul was going to take us round to the other end of the trail and we could walk as much or as little as we wanted and he would job out to meet the others about 2/3 of the way through. But on the way he asked the others if they actually wanted to see the Park as noone looked very enthusiastic and he suggested that he drop them in town and pick them up about 3pm. I decided to stay with the van as although I was sick I did want to see some of the park. Everyone else got out! I got out with Paul at the trail end and walked with him. The idea was that I'd walk for a little while and then turn around and come back to the van. Paul gave me the keys. But the beginning was really easy walking along the bottom of a canyon on sand and we were having a really good chat. It got to the point that I couldn't really turn back as I'd talked too far. So I ended up staying with Paul and walking to the 2/3 point to try and meet the others. We didn't find them. We got worried that they'd got lost or something had happened. We kept walking a little way and Paul kept shouting but there was no response. He though maybe they'd turned back because he said that he had had groups before that just turned back even though it was a one way trail and he was picking them up at the other end. So we walked back to the van and picked up speed as it was now nearly 4pm and getting dark. As we walked I'd forgotten how far we'd come. It was miles and I was really tired, hot and thirsty. A we got nearer to the van Paul started marching almost and he said that he was going to call the Rangers to let them know we had people missing. But as we neared the van we heard the horn go they were inside! Waiting for us! They'd got back to the van about 3.15pm and had grabbed the spare keys off the top of the wheel and had been waiting for about an hour! The were worried about us! It turned out that they;d lost the trail and had come round a different way scaling down rock faces! So we'd missed each other because they came back down through the canyon. So I'd ended up walking as far as them! We then had to go and collect the girls from town about two hours late. They seemed really angry with us for being so late but then Paul explained what had happened and said that w should all be pleased that everyones ok. The girls in town were the least of his worries! We got back to camp and went back in the hot tub! We then showered by the pool and got in to dry clean-ish clothes. That night the wind picked up and it was even colder. Our dinner was gross because it had too much fat it in and as it got cold, which it did really quickly, the fat solidified. Urgh! We thought about going to bed really early but then saw that the trailer doors were open and Paul was sat in there! So some of us joined him with a couple of drinks. Paul played his guitar a bit which was cool. We tried singing some songs but we either didn't know the words, the tune or a bit of both! We went to bed around 10.30pm I think.
The next day it was time to drive to San Diego. We got there about 2.30pm having been to the supermarket and argues about what we were going to cook. I ended up having nothing to do with it and being surplus to requirements since they decided to cook Korean food. We set up camp in a really small area and me and Sabina were like can we not set up our tent somewhere else? How about over that wall over there?! We were getting really annoyed with some of the people in our group. Some of them hadn't lifted a finger in three weeks. We were all helping to unload the trailer and then as soon as they'd got their stuff and their tents they all started putting their tents up while me, Sabina and a few others were still unloading the trailer! I shouted it's ok you put your tents up and we'll finish unloading the van! Don't worry about us! They just ignored me! We couldn't believe it.
Then we went for our city orientation in the van and three of the didn't come because they wanted to prepare dinner - not see San Diego!?!
We only had a short tour but we were shown where things were in the city and given an idea about what we could do on our free day. We ate dinner which was quite good and then we went out with some people from some other groups who were also staying at the campground. We went to Garnet Street which is full of bars and students! We went to a bar first called the Longboarder or something and there was a band playing. Me and Sabina had a few drinks before we came out and then we carried on drinking. We then decided to go to another bar which we had to queue to get in to but only for like 5 mins. We went in there and it was packed and there was a great 80s cover band playing and the drinks were only $2 each. So I got quite drunk and was having fun dancing and singing along to the music. We then left about 12.30am as we were getting a lift back with Paul. When we got back to the campground we stayed in the can for a bit and carried on drinking as it was cold outside. We went to bed about 2am I spose. I'm not really sure I was a bit worse for wear!
The next morning Paul was cooking us breakfast Burritos Mexican style. I didn't have anything apart from a cup of tea. Burritos are not breakfast food! That day we got dropped of downtown and then we walked through the Gaslamp District and down towards the marina area where we went in to Kansas City Barbeque which is a bar that featured in Top Gun. It was crappy but full of cool memorabilia. Then we went to the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum where I spent the rest of the day. It was really interesting. We did an audio tour and also went in a flight simulator machine that actually spun us 360 degrees! It was funny especially when I got us stuck upside down! That night we has spaghetti for dinner and then we headed back to Garnet St but this time the purpose was to get Sabina a tattoo! We found a place and then had to wait for about an hour before we went in. I'm not sure who was more scared me or her! And I was just there for moral support. I'm not really sure if I helped. She seemed so calm all the time. I was the one hiding my face in my scarf! She said it didn't hurt but somehow I don't believe her! We then walked back to the campground and went to bed around midnight.
In the morning we had to break camp for the last time and head over to Disneyland. I really didn't want to leave the group as I was a bit scared about going off by myself. We had a great time in Disneyland. I hung around with Sabina and Martin most of the day. The best ride was Splash Mountain and I didn't get wet because we volunteered Martin for the front seat and then I hid behind him the whole way! The day had to end eventually and Paul took us back to the hotel in LAX. When we arrived he told me how to get to Hollywood and then asked the people staying at the hotel who wanted to come out for dinner, only Sabina and Martin said they did so I decided to come too! I put my bags up in Sabina's room and then called the hostel to let them know I'd be late. We ended up going to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles in Hollywood so Paul told me to get my stuff and after dinner he dropped me off at the hostel where I said goodbye and the blogs start back in Hollywood.
So only three weeks and we got so much done! I had a great time and it's a trip I'll never forget. I'm hoping to keep in touch with a few people off the trip and maybe I'll get to visit them one day!