Category Archives: Location update

I would Drive 500 Miles, and I would Drive 500 more…

Just to be the Car that drove 1000 miles to show up at your dooooor!!!

Driving Red Sports Car up the Californian Coast: ★★★★☆ 

Today Bex and I journeyed from San Diego to Ragged Point, both on the west coast. North of Los Angeles the countryside is actually breathtaking and I cannot even begin to understand why anyone would live in L.A when there’s such a wonderful place just around the corner. Its not for the coffee, that’s for sure.

San Diego was OK. The Hostel we stayed at stunk because of the pipes, and it was noisy (because well, downtown San Diego is just noisy) but I liked it enough. There were plenty of food places and things to see and do. We could have easily spent more time there in the hustle and bustle of the city, but I’m honestly glad to get away for a while.

Downtown San Diego: ★★½☆☆ 

We fuelled up the Camaro (which in itself was a chore, working out how they do refuelling here) and headed as north west as possible. Traffic was really kind to us except for a bad pile up on the Interstate 5 North (2 cars, an RV and a Trash truck) and we made pretty good time. It still baffles me that the posted speed limits will be blatantly ignored by most drivers, who will choose to do a solid 15-20 miles _FASTER_ than is legal. Admittedly I did not mind, and we spent as much of our time as possible doing about 120Kph. Broadly speaking california drivers have so far been very polite and have moved over for faster cars and we’ve never found ourselves blocked by unwitting or unwilling drivers.

We stopped for lunch at a place called In and Out burgers. They come highly recommended at the price point. It was better than Mickey Ds and fed us both for 13.01.

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We only actually did 400 miles today, but it sounds good enough – we’ve got about 240 miles until San Fran Cisco, but we’ve got a few stopovers on the way. Tomorrow morning we’re visiting Hearst Castle just to take a look, and when we get to SFC we’ll be either going to see the giant redwoods or the decommissioned prison (Alcatraz?)

The place we’ve stayed at tonight was fortunate and just spectacular. The view is incredible – our room is listed as “not having an ocean view”, because comparatively it does not – but it’s still one hell of a view, other rooms be damned. Bex and I went down the hill a ways to see the sunset and take a million photos. We saw a hummingbird and managed to take some snaps of him too.

Chalet Room: ★★★★☆ 

We had dinner here in the fancy restaurant – I had a 3/4lb filet steak with blue potatoes and vegetables, and Bex ordered a pork cutlet with sweet potato mash and vegetables. The meals were amazing. I also tried the local brew – Firestone pale ale. It wasn’t amazing, but a good beer. For dessert we had a chocolate pudding of some kind which was hot and saucy in the centre, with a side of ice-cream and strawberry syrup. At the moment we’re feeling rather well fed.

Ragged Point Inn Meals: ★★★★½ 

Firestone Pale Ale: ★★☆☆☆ 

Fancy Food Regret: ★★★★☆ 

That’s about it for this update. More from SFC, and hopefully I can put in some more photos too!

Universal Studios – The VIP Experience

Universal studios is an amazing place. Even after landing in L.A. and seeing cars (like LAPD) that only exist in the movies cruise around, it’s still really hard to get your head around what you’re really seeing. Nothing really drove the magic home any more than getting to Universal Studios and standing in-front of the big globe water fountain and being smack bang in the middle of Hollywood.

Bex and I got to park our car in the valet section, and walk through the big gates. First person we saw asked “You guys know where you’re going today?” and we shook our heads, showed him our ticket confirmation. He saw the VIP heading, straightened up, and said “come with me!” and marched us off, past the line to get in, to a special little side door marked “VIP Experience”. Things just got better from there.

Upstairs we got complimentary breakfast with good coffee and free wifi. We waited 15 minutes in very fine luxury for our guide, Will S. Will was very trendy, with a sharp looking haircut and aviator sunglasses. He rounded up the group of VIPs, and walked us down the back to our special bus. Between Will, Greg, and Barry (The bus driver) we got a tour of the sound stages and sets where hundreds and hundreds of movies have been filmed. We got to walk through the set for “About a Boy” and the guides talked to us about how a lot of the Hollywood Magic takes place.

Hollywood Bus Tour: ★★★★☆ 

There were a lot of rides – all come highly recommended – and our VIP passes got us to the front of the line. It felt great walking past people who had waited 40-60 minutes to go on a ride, getting straight on, then afterwards moving on to the next thing. In this way we got to see all of the rides and shows that Universal Studios had to offer in the one day. With no waiting we were not as exhausted as we had been for the long days lining up at Disney.

For lunch, instead of the normal fare you get at theme parks, the VIP experience comes with a lunch at “Moulin Rouge”, a VIP only buffet with gourmet foods. Bex and I loved it there, and ate as much as we could eat – it was the best food I’ve had in a very long time, and Bex said that the mashed potato was worth killing for. I agree.

VIP Lunch at Moulin Rouge: ★★★★½ 

Mashed Potatoes: ★★★★★ 

My favourite show was “Waterworld” a live action performance with stunts and special effects based on the movie. It was very awesome! There were some technical difficulties, but the way the cast handled it was very cool, and after a few minutes the show resumed and they finished strong.

After finishing up the last show for the day, we went back through the Universal Citywalk, and went shopping for gifts for our friends and folks back home.

Citywalk Shopping Experience: ★★★★☆ 

Only downside for the whole day was that between carrying all the bags and things, I dropped Bex’s ring that she had given to me somewhere in one of the stores and we didn’t realise until we’d gotten home. We called them from the hotel, and they said they’d look for it and call us back. After a stressful night of no call, we called them back in the morning when they opened at 11am, and they’d found it – just couldn’t call us back because of the foreign number! So we got the ring back and everything was aces and eights.

I will update these updates with some photos soon, to make this more interesting. Until next time!

 

Getting to Universal Studios

On Saturday the 3rd Bex and I got up early and hopped in our shiny red sports car and zipped over to Hollywood. Traffic was really good and we made great time.

US 101 Traffic: ★★★½☆ 

L.A. is apparently grid-locked so often that to get moving traffic is a good deal, but it’s frustrating how Americans have a complete disregard for their own speed limits. I guess Australian speed campaigns by police are very effective at getting drivers to obey the limit or be just under it – on the International 5, a big 4-6 lane highway, the speed limit is 55 miles per hour during road works, and normally 65 miles per hour.

Every man and his dog wanted to be doing a cruisy 70 miles per hour, and let me tell you, these roads are in anything but good condition.

We navigated our way there with relative ease – didn’t get to see the classic HOLLYWOOD sign on the californian mountains, but that wasn’t the end of the world. We pulled in to the “Jurassic” carpark, and gave our car to a valet attendant and walked through Universal CityWalk. Theres all kinds of shops there and they all have neon flashing lights and have so many people going in and out of them. There’s a Hard Rock Cafe, a cinema and a spread of ¬†fast food outlets and merchandise shops. Right at the end there’s a massive set of gates which take you though to the upper lot.

Universal CityWalk: ★★★★☆