Ok where to start. We packed up and left Mariposa. Our route was through Yosemite park from east to west across Tiago pass.This would normally be closed by now but the weather is holding. 60 miles of mountain driving up to 10,000 ft.
It was long winding roads climbing, climbing. The views were brilliant then at 10,000 ft ......snow. Brilliant sun shine but hard impacted snow. Fortunately not on the road.
60 miles took about 2 hours but every inch was fab. I'm so glad I am a class 1 driver because I can enjoy the bends. it's painful watching or being behind people who are terrifed of these roads.
At the bottom of the pass is Mono Lake. It's big and salty......ok stop laughing guys !!! It has salt pillars coming up out of it. We didnt get very close as our route went the less scenic way round it.
So we exited the pass and turned right on to Highway 395 southbound. Mary Lou on the satnav said ' Follow this road for 186 miles. I'm doing my hair, call me if you need me'
ha ha......let me tell you this was 186 miles of pretty much straight road. On one side the Sierra Nevada mountains, on the other side the White mountains. In the middle and endless strip of tarmac across the Sierra Nevada plains. Try to imagine a John Ford western. You know the sort of thing where the Sherrif and possee can see the bandits but they are a days ride behind. We could see cars ahead of us. We could tell we were closing but it took 15 minutes to reach them and they were in sight the whole time.
We thought the road would never end. After 300 miles we arrived at Ridgecrest where we planned to stop for the night.
On the map most of the area around this town is greyed out. It is surrounded by three military ranges. The biggest of which is China Lake. Now when I say range I dont mean Ash ranges. Each of these is the size of Hampshire !!!
After a nights sleep we set off on 392 towards Santa Barbara. The journey took us across the Majavoe desert. Endless tracks off desolate land. We drove for ages seeing nothing then there would be a small house on the roadside. I said to Jill, you wouldnt want to date a girl from the next town, she could age a year between dates !!!
The route to Santa Barbara took us to Ventura and along Ventura Highway. Guess what was playing on the radio as we drove along it?
Yeah right, this is real life not a Hollywood movie. It was actually Hit me with your best shot by Pat Benatar.
We followed the 101 to Santa Barbara and decided we would stop and have lunch. We parked up first at East Beach. Stereotype or what? Beautiful ocean, volleyball courts on the beach and sun shining. As we walked along we saw the Santa Monica County High school girls volley ball team arrive. Easy boys......I didnt look of course !!!
Next stop the main beach at Santa Barbara, a walk along the pier. Then we headed downtown grabbed a sarnie and sat on the beach to eat it.
After a little walk around the town we got in the car and drove to the Santa Barbara mission. Basically it's a church. Pretty, but still a church. However it does have a mission bell.
Now I reckon by the time we leave California we will have lived all of the lyrics of Hotel California. On a dark desert highway....sing it.
After a few hours in Santa Barbara we started looking for a bed for the night. After a bit of scouting around we found a motel in Ventura. Lovely room with a balcony and a bar/restaurant on site. We've had dinner and enjoyed a bit of the band at the Halloween party. Now snuggled in bed writing this with a glass of red.
Tomorrow we are headed south toward San Diego. The weather report for today said 'rain'. Now the song goes 'It never rains in Southern California' and guess what?....it doesnt.
ps there are signs on the long straight roads that say 'speed enforcement by aircraft'...today we were hovered by the CHP chopper.