A Travellerspoint blog

The End

3 countries, 13 U.S. States, 2 Canadian Provinces and much more.......

Where do we start?

Well the idea of our road trip came into our heads shortly after Cathy had a tumor removed last October, almost a year ago now. Thankfully everything was benign and recovery was quick, but it really made us both take a look at everything in life, appreciate what we do have and make the most of any opportunities that come our way. If we didn't do this trip now, and now seemed a perfect time for us in our lives - we probably never would do it! Simple as that!

We knew our destination was Canada, we decided on a time frame longer than just 3 or 4 weeks because at the end of the day we didn't want to get back from this trip and wish we had seen or done something and then regret it for ever. So the plan started, we worked around the date that had been set for Elsye's wedding and came up with the 3 month time frame, July, August and September. Even though this is usually a busy time for us and our business, again we decided just to do it! We both had some places in common we wanted to visit, and also others that were on our own must see lists! So the planning began!
We then had to organize and plan house and dog sitters. We didn't want to put the dogs in kennels for that length of time, we knew they would be happier in their own home and would adjust to people coming to stay here. We can't thank our house and dog sitters enough. Terry and Candy, Savannah and Freddy, Jae, Barbara and Eric and other family members or friends that also came to visit too. We were sent random photos of the dogs at various times while we were away, most of them sleeping or cuddling with new buddies! We really appreciate your patience with the 'special' diet all the dogs have and they all look so happy and well and skinny! Both Lucy and Mocha had lost 1.3kg each - and that's a good thing. Chocolate and Toffee also lost some weight and apart from Lucy who has a skin infection caused by fleas, after she caught a possum in the house, everyone is great!
We may have had puppy withdrawal from our own 4 puppies, but we certainly had our fix of dogs during the trip too! It's been fantastic :)

Our route was fairly flexible although everything turned out so well. Our very reliable chocolate coloured Toyota RAV4 had zero problems at all on the almost 17000km / 10500 miles journey it took us on. We had prepared for almost every scenario - checked and double checked our car insurance a million times, taken out personal travel insurance just in case something happened and our friend Kathy K bought us a dash cam - again just in case! We think we were prepared for any scenario thrown at us - and then thankfully nothing happened at all! Some days were more challenging than others, just because of the distances we knew we needed to cover but between us we trusted the GPS almost 100% - except when common sense prevailed! We managed to drive through many of the major cities in the U.S, kept to the speed limits - most of the time- and only had one police incident - he was waiting at the bottom of a hill in BC Canada, flashed his light once and beeped his siren just once as a warning, but thankfully never moved! Phew!

If we could have predicted sunshine for almost 3 months we wouldn't have believed the forecast! We probably only had about 5 or 6 wet days or part wet days on our entire trip! It's making up for it now though with 3 days of almost non stop rain ha ha ha - we did encounter that tornado in Calgary, smoke from fires in California, weird cloud formation in South Dakota, fog in Texas and have seen some beautiful sunrises, and sunsets too. Other than that we had mainly warm sunny days, some much warmer than others!!

Once we knew an approximate route we wanted to go, we started planning on how long we would drive each day and where we could physically drive to in the time given. During the almost 8 years we have been running Casa Chocolate we have met many many wonderful people and knew we wanted to try and catch up with many of them too on our travels. It turned out excellently throughout the whole of Mexico, USA and Canada and we can't thank each and every one of them enough for being a huge part of our big trip. The list of people who gave us a comfortable bed, their whole house, a roof over our heads, meals, their friendship and much more, is endless, but you all know who you are and we are so grateful and appreciative of everything that you did for us and that we were able to reconnect with you all. Absolutely fantastic! Thank you!

Posted by CC Road Trip 18:25 Comments (0)

California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and home to Mexico!

Palm Springs, Phoenix, Tucson, New Mexico, Van Horn, San Antonio, San Miguel and home to Casa Chocolate!

On our departure from Palm Springs California we knew that the following 5 days were going to be long driving days!! Prior to our trip departure in July we had taken a booking for Casa Chocolate from repeat guests coming to Cuernavaca for a wedding so although we would have loved to continue exploring many more places, our epic journey was coming to an end.

We still had a total of 2162 miles or 3480 km to go and just 5 days to do it!

From Palm Springs we headed east towards Phoenix on the I10.

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Over recent weeks there had been reports of a person randomly shooting vehicles on the Interstate, however just the night before we were going to be driving on it, they had arrested someone! It made us feel just a little safer crossing this part of the country although there were still warnings as we approached Phoenix.

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We had left Palm Springs at 3pm as planned and hoped to arrive in Phoenix at 7pm. We hoped to go and see our friends Susan and Jack's home in Goodyear, just outside of Phoenix, but sadly we just ran out of time and daylight! However we did see the sign though! ;)

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We had arranged to meet our friend Talli at a restaurant close to where she lives in Tempe Arizona. Talli was one of our very first guests at Casa Chocolate back in 2008 and a friend of Our Cabana Girl Guide and Girl Scout centre. It was dark as we approached Phoenix but we could still see the city skyline in the distance.

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We met up with Talli and enjoyed a delicious meal and had a lovely catch up visit with her. Talli had very kindly arranged for us to stay at a Girl Scout friends home that evening. Yolanda had actually visited Our Cabana and Cuernavaca back in February this year although we had never met her then. She has a wonderful cosy home and was very welcoming to us, two complete strangers! Girl Guides / Girl Scouts is a wonderful organisation! The rest of the evening was spent chatting with Talli and Yolanda in her kitchen, seeing many of her Girl Scout patch collection. It was well gone 1am by the time we got to sleep but we had all enjoyed a wonderful evening.

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The next morning we wanted to be on the road by 8am, as we were heading to Tucson about an hour and a half away to meet up with friends Bruce and Patricia. They had been to Casa Chocolate back in 2013 and we had kept in contact via facebook. They had invited us for brunch at their home which was delicious. They have a lovely home in the mountains close to Tucson, overlooking the city and surrounded by Saguaro cactus. These cactus are huge and spectacular to look at. They have deer that come and visit on a regular basis and take water from a hollow stone, javelina, scorpions, giant desert centipedes, snakes and many other critters! Luckily we got to see the deer and lizards - quite glad nothing else showed up that morning!

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Just beofre we left Patricia gave us each a pair of gloves - Patricia works a couple of days a week as a Physicians assistant in a local clinic and in her spare time she has designed and patented Palm Free Gloves - ideal for driving, tennis, golf or any outdoor activities - Check out the website http://www.palmfreesunwear.com/
Christine wore hers driving and Cathy was knitting with hers on in the car!
Any profits from the sales of her gloves will go directly towards Sergio Castro http://www.yokchij.org/ a humanitarian in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. She visits his clinic twice a year and his work is amazing.

From Tucson our plan was to drive as far east as we could before we were too tired or ran out of daylight hours! We crossed into New Mexico and lost an hour and continued on into Texas and lost another one! Tough to lose 2 hours when you want to gain many more!

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Once in Texas we drove through El Paso and saw fields of cattle - not just a few, but hundreds and hundreds of them!

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The sunset was very spectacular that evening - more moments stored into our own personal memory bank! We had driven for hours and found a cheap hotel for the night in Van Horn Texas.
We had driven over 900km today, it was Sunday night and the Emmys were on, but sadly our hotel TV wasnt able to get the Emmys! Oh well - the internet was poor too, so we decided to go to sleep and head off again early in the morning!

We knew we had lost a couple of hours with time changes and even though all of our devices had changed automatically, our alarm didn't go off until 7.30am!! Oh well, we hadn't woken up either so obviously needed the sleep!
Breakfast was included, so we filled up on waffles, coffee and muffins before leaving Van Horn around 8.30am. Our next destination for today was San Antonio Texas about 700km and 6 hours or so away.

Quite an uneventful journey, one time we drove through a giant patch of fog, looked like something out of the movies, but the fog continued rolling over us and we drove through and came out the other side! Quite odd. Time is an odd thing too when you have a final destination and you just want to get there - the roads were quiet and probably the most exciting thing we saw was a police car that had stopped a speeding car, who had overtaken us at probably 110mph when the speed limit was 80mph!
We arrived safe and sound in San Antonio and first went to a supermarket as we had some last minute items we wanted to buy before we headed back across the border. Then we tried to find a Chipotle restaurant as our friend Susan had told us we needed to eat at one! Our GPS said there were two, we sadly couldn't find either of them, so ended up eating at a different Mexican restaurant which was delicious and filling.
We then headed to Tanya and Ryan's home where we had stayed back in early July on our trip up through the US. Tanya was running around with errands, we chatted with Irma, Tanya's mum and their boys, Vincent and Charlie before Ryan came home from work. We were quite tired and after chatting with Ryan, we then said our goodbyes as we were going to be on the road at 5am the next morning.

4.30am, the alarm went off, we were packed and in the car before 5am and back on the highway south towards Laredo. It's about 2 1/2 hours to the border crossing and it was pitch black until just before Laredo. Not too much traffic which was a good thing!
Our previous border crossing experiences had been interesting so we were ready and prepared for anything! The sun was starting to rise and as we approached the border crossing the first signs mentioned a toll bridge fee of US$ 3.50 - cash only! - we only had US$ 4.50 cash to our name - talk about lucky!!! Christine had been told by the previous border crossings that her US Visa had to be handed in on the US side. As it wasn't really clear exactly where this would be, she passed the piece of paper to the toll bridge lady who in turn took it and waved us on! We drove across the bridge and then next there were lines 'nothing to declare' - which we headed for!! We were waved through, there was some kind of traffic light system, which seemed to be on green all the time, a couple of people were texting and chatting, so we slowly but confidently just drove through.
Was that it? - did we need to get out of the car at all? We didn't even show our passports or permanent resident cards!! Surely there would be another stop further down the road.

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So we were looking for signs to Monterrey, the sun had risen by now and we were both kind of in shock that there wasn't anything more official about entering into Mexico!! We joined the highway south and about half an hour into the journey there was an immigration area to drive through. We were just waved through and just continued on our way! Now talk about being lucky!

Our journey south was going to be long. We travelled towards Monterrey, Saltillo and then south towards San Luis Potosi. The highways were quite busy, scenery very beautiful and we were excited about being back in Mexico. Our final destination for the day was San Miguel de Allende.

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We drove a total of 1119km and arrived 13 hours later at our friends home! It had certainly been a long driving day! Cate and Jeff have been to Casa Chocolate a few times and have now lived in San Miguel for a couple of years.

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We enjoyed a rooftop terrace meal with them that evening before settling down for an early night! Final destination tomorrow HOME!

The next morning we were both awake early and were very eager to continue on and make it home. We went to a local bakery with Cate and Jeff and bought a couple of goodies for the road.

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We saw some of the beautiful murals on the walls in Colonia Guadalupe's art district in San Miguel and then headed on our way towards Queretaro. We needed to find a Pharmacy where we could replenish our toll booth tag and also a bank to get cash in case we couldn't replenish the tag!
It was so frustrating that wherever we went we couldn't find anywhere to replenish the tag so decided to just continue driving and pay cash. This would possibly just slow us down as we crossed Mexico City, but our other options were limted! As we drove up to one of the toll booths - and there seem to be many when you don't want them - there was someone selling the toll booth tags - Yeah a solution! We could buy a new tag, this would allow us to make the top level and make it faster to the southern part of Mexico City! We have done this journey a few times and knew the way. The top level takes you right to the southern part of Mexico City high above the city and really does cut down on time.
It wasn't too long before we were on the highway back to Cuernavaca. Just an hour to go! It was very exciting and we knew the dogs would be besides themselves when they saw us.
Just after 1pm we arrived home, 5 hours after leaving San Miguel de Allende and almost 3 months from when we had left! There were squeals of delight, lots of barks and plenty of licks but thankfully not that shrill sound they usually make when we have just gone to the grocery store and returned! We think they were in shock actually - in disbelief that yes it was their mummies and yes we were home for good now!

One more final blog to follow maƱana :)

Posted by CC Road Trip 19:15 Comments (0)

West Hollywood to Palm Springs

Coachella Valley Preserve - a real oasis, night tour of Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park and BIg Morongo Canyon Preserve

As we left West Hollywood, we drove towards the downtown LA, saw the world famous 'Hollywood' sign on the hillside and then headed just a short 2 1/2 hours east along Highway 10 towards Palm Springs.

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It was another hot day and we had arranged to meet our friends Richard and Carl at their home in Palm Springs. They both came to stay with us at Casa Chocolate back in January 2013 and we have been connected through facebook ever since.

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Richard and Carl are both school teachers and Carl was still working that afternoon, but as our stay in Palm Springs was sadly only going to be 24 hours, Richard very kindly offered to show us around some of the sights on our first afternoon.
Did we tell you it was warm!!! In Palm Springs it must have been in the high 30's F, low 40's F.

We had looked into possibly going on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway - the number one tourist attraction in the city, but unfortunately it was closed for maintenance! Richard had a list of other things he suggested we could do and one of them sounded really cool - excuse the pun, because as we mentioned it was a hot day!!! He wanted to take us to the Coachella Valley Preserve where we would be able to see a real oasis in the middle of Palm Springs desert.
It was a stunningly beautiful place to visit and see how nature has taken care of itself over the years or has been left to itself for years. This particular site is unknown to many, even those who live in Palm Springs. Yes it was hot, especially walking through the dessert from the shade of the palm trees to the oasis on the other side. Just like in the movies, it appears to be closer than it really is and Richard told us it would take about 30 minutes. Unfortunately many people die each year in Palm Springs as they travel unprepared for the extreme temperatures. We had bottled water with us and were determined to see this real oasis. It was beautiful as hopefully the pictures show!

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We then headed back to their home and met up with Carl, we had a small snack to eat before they gave us a night tour of Palm Springs. It had cooled off a little in the evening as we drove around the streets to see some of the properties that are owned or have previously been owned by famous people!!
Elvis Presleys honeymoon home, Liberache, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Lily Tomlin, Bob Hope, Barbara Streisland's gate!, Frederick Loewe just to name a few!

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We had a lovely Thai food meal, walked around some of the main streets in downtown Palm Springs and then headed back home for the night.

The next morning Carl and Richard arrived early from their home in the mountains with freshly baked muffins from a local mormon family for breakfast. They were absolutely delicious!
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This morning we were going to visit the Joshua Tree National Park. It was another hot day, but a little cooler at the park as it's higher up in the mountains. The Joshua trees are beautiful and the rock formations are really interesting to see.
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From the Joshua Park we headed to the Big Morongo Canyon Reserve. Another really cool place to visit with a bird sanctuary and oasis. Beautiful :)

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From the reserve we took a quick detour into the mountains to see Richard and Carl's other home. It is a beautiful sweeping home, secluded in the mountains with breathtaking views.

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All too soon our short stay in Palm Springs was coming to an end. We went back into the downtown area, walked down the main street where there are many stars of fame and enjoyed a pizza slice and a frozen yoghurt! Yum!

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It was still a warm day.......42C!!!

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We had given ourselves a 3pm departure time from Palm Springs as our next destination was in Tempe, Phoenix Arizona - a short 430km or 4 hours away!

A huge thanks to Richard and Carl for their kind hospitality. We wish we had more time, but next time!!!

Posted by CC Road Trip 13:31 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Templeton to West Hollywood / Los Angeles, California

Pismo beach, Santa Barbara, Malibu, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and much more!

We enjoyed another delicious breakfast at Marina's before setting off for our next destination - West Hollywood!

Our previous attempt to drive down the upper part of HIghway 1 had been hampered by bad weather and so we were hoping for a nicer sunny journey this morning. We lucked out as the sun was out and the scenery was so breathtaking. We had several photo opportunities on the way, some inland of the migrant workers in the strawberry and vegetable fields, and lots too of the Pacific ocean. It was very spectacular.

We wanted to drive down past Santa Barbara and Malibu as we have both seen these areas on TV and wanted to see it for real! It was beautiful and some of the homes both on the water and on the hills overlooking the ocean are absolutely huge!
We did try to stop and actually walk down Malibu beach front, but just to park the car was US$ 8.00 - that was just to get into a car park! So we decided just to keep going and put the beaches into our own private memory bank!

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Next we drove through Santa Monica and from here we had driving instructions on how to find our friend's apartment. Everyone had told us that traffic in LA can be horrendous - especially when the Vice President was going to be in town!! We didn't know this ahead of time, but obviously lucked out as we only hit a small amount of slow traffic including a Rolls Royce driver who was texting! and we made it close to our final destination about 2 hours ahead of time!! We say close because our GPS had taken us to the top of the street with bollards in the middle that emergency vehicles only could lower!!!
We sent Kevin, the brother of our good friend Kathy in Cuernavaca, a message to say we had arrived - texted Kathy who knew exactly where we were and where we should be! and gave us instructions on how to get around the block easily and arrive outside the apartment block! Hilarious really as apparently one of the side streets had been closed for months and hey presto it opened just for us that day!
So yes, we were early, but Kevin arrived soon after and greeted us with a smile and a sarcastic - "Are you still on Cuernavaca time?!!"

Kevin has lived in West Hollywood for a number of years now and seems to know everyone who was passing by either on the street or at the apartment complex - and as it turns out, in the city! His good friends Wendy and Kenny had very kindly offered us to stay at one of their apartment buildings in the adjacent complex. It is a very cute and comfortable apartment and after unloading a few things from our car we chilled out in the apartment for a little while.

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Around 5pm Kevin called round and we had been invited to his friends upstairs apartment for cocktails which has absolutely stunning views of both downtown LA and Beverly Hills etc. We chatted for a while, nibbled on cheese, meats, crackers and chicken pieces before heading up to the rooftop for even more stunning 365 degree views of the whole city. Amazing! What a fabulous start to our stay in West Hollywood!

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The next morning Kevin had suggested that we wake up early, head to the rooftop and see the sunrise. 6am was the alarm call - Christine headed to the roof and Cathy hit the snooze button! It was well worth waiting the next 30 minutes or so until the sun came up completely and lit up the already bustling city!!

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It was the Emmys weekend too in LA and so we weren't sure if we would see any celebrities or just see lots of darkened chauffer driven vehicles with 'important' people inside. Not sure actually if we would recognize too many celebrities if they were standing right next to us, but we could be on the look out anyway ;)

Around 7.30am we headed out to i-hop for breakfast and then took a short walk down the Santa Monica Boulevard - isn't there a song about that! ha ha ha.
It wasn't long before our journey came to a halt as we saw some adorable puppies in a window and we realized it was a puppy day care. We have only ever seen something like this in the movies!! It was also a shop so our excuse was to look inside - so we got to shop and see the puppies! We were there about half an hour talking to one of the ladies there who explained how they were set up and each Sunday they had an adopt a puppy day at the day care centre. It's probably a good thing it was a Friday and we knew these dogs already had owners coming back for their dogs later that day!!!
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We continued on for a short while, took a loop up and around the streets and then made it back to the apartment to wait for Kevin who would meet us around 11am.
We actually had no idea what was in store for us today but we somehow felt extremely comfortable being in the capable hands of Kevin, knowing that he would look after us.
First stop - 7 Eleven - Most people who drink coffee, can't function correctly without it, so first stop for Kevin!

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This was the beginning of an amazing driving tour of West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Belair, Holmby Hills, Sunset Boulevard and much more. Our second stop was at Greystone Mansions, a beautiful Tudor revival mansion on the hillside overlooking LA. It is often used for ceremonies, weddings and art / design exhibits.

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We stopped at a few more places, many of the properties owned by the rich and very famous we could just see the entrances - some multi billion dollar properties had been bought, completely knocked down and new modern properties were being built. The landscaping alone on some of the properties was spectacular. We saw the entrances of many well known stars, past and present, saw the gates of the home Michael Jackson was renting when he died, we heard many fascinating stories of celebrities and saw some amazing homes.

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Mid morning we stopped at one of Kevin's favourite bakeries - Susie Cakes - Look at their parking sign! - Kevin loves baking cookies and we all know that Cathy does too! So the homework for the mid morning stop was to work out why the chocolate chip cookies in Susie Cakes were hard and crispy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside, but all round delicious! Kevin had made some too a day earlier which were equally as delicious, just not so gooey! Butter was the unanimous answer - or the deciding factor on the choc chip cookies discussion!

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Next stop was a funeral home - we didn't like to ask why.....but all became more than obvious when we stopped and walked around. Many famous people are buried in this beautiful garden - including Farrah Fawcett, Jack Lemon, Peter Fauk and Marilyn Monroe. Billions of people have obviously visited and touched her grave since the day she was buried as her stone is a completely different colour than the others next to her.

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We took a drive down Rodeo drive - didn't stop! - continued on past many well known places and then Kevin took us to the Abbey for a quick drink - a famous bar / restaurant where many famous people are known to have hung out. Elizabeth Taylor was a frequent visitor in her wheelchair during her final years.
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We met more people who Kevin knew, walked past the restaurant and bar 'Pump' owned and remodelled by the reality star of Hollywood wives - Lisa Vanderpump.

When people ask us what the highlight of our trip has been so far, we can't pinpoint one particular place or event - there have been so many!
When Kevin asked us on our first night, Christine said 'maybe it hasn't happened yet!' -
When we returned from our exclusive personal tour of Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Belair etc. he dropped us off at his friend's apartment and said 'wait here!' - less than 3 minutes later he pulled out in a Bentley and shouts 'are you looking for a ride?' OMG - talk about gobsmacked! Our tour had not quite finished and he took us for a spin around the block! - This Bentley was bequeathed to him from Suzanne Pleshette and it was such a privelege to be in this wonderful car with so much history and many stories that came with it! We can't thank you enough Kevin for a fabulous once in a lifetime West Hollywood experience!

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Later that evening we went out for a delicious dinner before heading back to the apartment. What a day! :)

The next morning we were headed out of West Hollywood, but not before we enjoyed a filling breakfast in Mel's diner - a funky place to start the day!

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Thank you again to Wendy and Kenny for letting us stay in their apartment and a huge Thank you to Kevin for being the best tour guide ever in West Hollywood - we had a truly fantastic time with you :)

Posted by CC Road Trip 17:40 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Russian River via San Francisco to Templeton California

Driving Highway 1, San Francisco, a planned rendevous at Pier 33 and much more!

We left Russian River early the next day and started our journey further south in California. Our first stop was in San Francisco, about 2 hours south of Russian River. There was quite heavy traffic and drizzle and as we got closer to the big city the signs said - Toll Roads - no cash! We continued on, drove right over the bridge, passed through an automatic toll booth- (we had experienced this before in Texas) and so are now waiting to see if we will ever receive the automatic toll bill in the post!
The highway took us over the Golden Gate Bridge - a marvellous structure and so magnificent - even in the mist and rain!

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We wanted to explore the city a little bit and decided to park close to Pier 33 and then find our way around and take a tour or something! We walked along the piers and found the Cable Car station - such an icon in San Francisco. as you can imagine it was packed, people hanging off the sides as the cable car jolted up and down those steep Californian roads! What a fun way to see some of the bustling city. We had bought return tickets, but as time was precious and the line up to go back was around the block, we tried to get a refund, to no avail and then took one of the trolley cars back through the city - which was faster (and cheaper!) Later we gave our tickets to someone just parking their car as we were leaving - they didn't go to waste!

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We had arranged to meet two friends from England who were travelling around the USA, outside Pier 33 as they had tickets for an afternoon tour to Alcatraz. Sarah was at Our Cabana in 2006/2007 and we kept in contact via facebook. She and her boyfriend Keith love travelling when they are not working hard, and so when we discovered we would actually be in the same place for a short window of time we tried to meet up! It worked. They were waiting outside Pier 33 where the boats depart for Alcatraz - we were just a couple of minutes late as we had to buy another US$40.00 ticket for the car park!

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We had coffee and a brief catch up. They had just been driving some of Highway 1 that we would be going down so we heard about their travels as well as exhange some of ours. We are so glad it worked out, even though it was short and sweet. They headed off to Alcatraz and then we headed back to Boudin sourdough bakery and cafe! We had passed this earlier and wanted to come back and see if they sold any starter - no such luck as it is a well kept secret - but we bought a loaf of soudough to take for that evening when we met up with our friend.
If only we had more time, there is the Ghirardelli Chocolate factory, Josey Baker's ' The Mill and so much to see and do!! We definitely need to return to San Francisco.

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Anyway after a busy but enjoyable 3 hours in San Francisco we headed back to the car - and hit traffic. The San Francisco 49ers were playing that evening and we think everyone was arriving early! It took us a while to navigate away towards the coast and Highway 1. Unfortunately the mist was still rolling in and so our views were limited, but we drove past Pescadero, Ano Nuevo, Santa Cruz, towards Salinas and then continued down Highway 101. The visibility was not so clear, it was getting late and dark and we must have hit rush hour traffic as we didn't move very far in a long time!

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We finally arrived at our friend's home in Templeton. Marina was the realtor who we bought Casa Chocolate with back in 2007, we are practically neighbours in Cuernavaca and she has a wonderful home in Templeton. Her cousin Leny was visiting from the Philippines and they had prepared a delicious meal for us on our arrival - albeit a little later than originally planned!

The next morning we had breakfast, relaxed and then headed out to visit some of the local sights. We drove to Morro Bay State Park and wandered around some of the shops. We also saw some otters and sea lions in the bay - they kept bobbing their heads up and down! There had been a whale sighting the previous day and just one brave surfer was in the water! After a fish and chip lunch we then headed up the coast, went past the Hearst San Simeon State Park and continued on to the Piedras Blancas State Marine reserve and were amazed seeing all the elephant seals. By now the weather had cleared up and the sky was blue, and the seals were basking in the sunshine, playing in the water, sleeping or ungracefully trying to get to the best vantage point on the beach! It was wonderful to see them. On the way back there were some people kite surfing in the ocean - we stopped briefly to watch them and then saw sharks in the water at the same time! The kite surfers seemed to be ignoring them, not seeing them or just continuing on with the whales showing their heads every now and then! Later as we drove again we also saw dolphins swimming down the ocean. How lucky were we to see them all in one day!

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We stopped at Cambria and wandered the shops and streets, stopped for an ice cream and then drove past Harmony - a town with 18 residents - according to the sign! -

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Once we arrived back at Marina's home, Cathy made some delicious scones - Marina had missed them! There was an attempt to open a coconut too! - and then we ate a wonderful dinner.

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Marina has recently completed major renovations in her home which are fabulous. We had really enjoyed our stay with Marina and Leny and headed off further south the next morning :)

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Posted by CC Road Trip 17:29 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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