Up early this morning to get going on our long drive back to the ocean & Los Angeles!!!Wayne had asked us all to contribute $5.00 for a surprise he had in store for us, but wouldn't give us any clues!!We all opted to go in on the surprise, and sat and waited!!The drive was pretty un-eventful, and more of the same scenery as on the drive into the canyon.We found ourselves back on Route 66, and the winding hilly mountains and valleys really started to make me car sick!!!We were coming around a corner into a really small one horse town (quite literally), and we have to slow down, cos the speed limit drops to 20 miles per hour.Next thing this little old woman carrying a rifle comes up to Wayne's window and informs us that she will have to escort us through the town as there are some bandits in town causing some trouble.Now, picture the scene, this little dirt road of a high street, with little tin stalls on either side with raised wooden sidewalks and horses trotting by, a great sunny day with all the stores open and selling their wares, it being a Saturday, and this huge white bus & trailer come pulling into town!! Quite a spectacle!!So, we get this escort down the dirt road with the tiny Sheriff walking in front of the bus with her rifle at the ready!!!As we come to the end of the road, we get held up by these bandits shooting off their guns and banging on the windows etc, and the one guy stands right in front of the bus and stops us!!!I was really taken in by all this, and totally freaking out by this stage!!Then I saw a grin on Wayne's face, and realized that this must have been the surprise!!!But, it didn't stop there!!!These bandits make us all get out of the bus and the Sheriff is losing her rag at them and waving her rifle around!!Guns are going off and they are all screaming at each other!!!Hectic man!!So, then the one bandit calls us all to order, and makes an announcement!!!He welcomes us all to the Historic town of Oatman, and a Route 66 Roadside attraction!!The put on a little skit for us, and the rest of the crowd that had gathered, and asked for our contribution to the Heart Foundation (I think that was it, or at least another worthwhile charity) ~ and that was where our $5.00 went to, and our surprise for the day!! Well I tell you, I was certainly suckered into it!!!Great fun though.So after the skit, we wondered around town a little to stretch our legs, and were back on the road within 20 minutes.
The rest of the journey went by without event!!We got into LA at around 5pm ish and the first to be dropped off were the boys!!They were meeting up with friends in a suburb about 30 minutes out of town, so we dropped them off at their house.Hugs and kisses all around as we said our farewells!!!Jo had sent a list around earlier to collect everyone's email addresses so we could all keep in touch and swap photos etc!!!
Back on the road again, and next stop was the Hacienda Hotel where those of us not flying out would be staying for the night.www.hacienda.com.What a really nice hotel, located about a 10 minute drive from LAX.The name itself gives you an idea of the theme at the hotel.It is decorated in a Spanish/Mexican style with a large fountain in the foyer - just really great - If anyone ever needs a reasonable hotel near LAX - look it up.
We said our farewells to Charlotte & Joanne who were the first to fly out that night from LAX.The rest of us loaded back into the bus (minus the trailer) and headed out for a quick overview drive around L.A.
Wayne drove us downtown into Beverley Hills, and along Rodeo Drive, Wiltshire Boulevard, past the Kodak theatre and Hollywood Boulevard.We had to dropClaudia off at the Banana Bungalow hostel in Hollywood where she was staying.
Los Angeles has more palm trees, poodles and Rolls Royces, than anywhere else in America. You'll also find one of every five swimming pools in America, in Southern California. Go figure. Wayne had done his job. We had seen and done it all. Those of us that were left had a group hug in the car park back at the Hacienda, and promised to keep in touch.I headed to my room, and was so tired after the long days driving I crashed!!The next day we had planned to hire a car or two between the 7 of us left and do some exploring.
I know I'll miss all my new Trek America friends, and I think it's safe to say that a good time was had by all, and that our trip will not soon be forgotten.