Santa Maria to Long Beach: 29 July 2001

From Santa Maria we drove to Solvang – really odd place, but fun. David described it as “all European houses and tourist tat” and he was quite amused to find a shop selling milk bottles from Darwen. Then we drove on to Santa Barbara, stopping at Cachuma Lake on the way. We checked into the Banana Bungalow.

Walked down to the sea front and along the Pier. Really gorgeous. We went to dinner in a lovely pizza/pasta place with wine and dessert! David didn’t want to go back to the hostel until late so we walked up and down State Street. The bars were all full – it’s a college town – but we had a drink in an “English” bar. No idea what was English about it, except it sold some imported beer (at inflated prices). We spent a couple of hours in Barnes & Noble and were tempted by the cinema, but there was nothing on we wanted to see. Back to the hostel at 11.30. It was still quite busy and noisy and the two girls we had to share a room with had put their undies to dry on the bunk bed ladders. We checked out and went for breakfast – both desperate for the loo cos we couldn’t get to use the bathroom at the hostel.

After breakfast, we drove to Ventura and looked in all the fantastic junk shops – beer signs, old comics, lamps, baseball cards. From there we stopped for strawberries from a roadside stand and then for a burger for lunch. We drove through Malibu, which was v exciting, then went on the wrong road and got horribly lost – to the point of fearing for our lives (we may have been a bit dramatic) – trying to find Long Beach (we did see a plane on that runway that crosses the road though). We ended up in the deserted docks more than once, getting into more and more of a panic. Not fun. It took about two hours to finally get here, so we checked into a more expensive motel for a treat.

In our photo album, David has captioned the above photo of me: “Moments later, the pterodactyl swooped for the Kangol hat and returned it to Liam.”

And the one of himself: “Behind the cool exterior lies a cool interior. Beyond that there’s a fat man trying to get out.”