After my lazy day lying on Santa Monica beach, I returned to collect my bag and say a fond farewell to Zizi. All the windows and doors were wide open as she was in the midst of a fire alarm beeping nightmare. Nothing. seemed to shut it up so she picked up some wine and headed to a neighbours bbq, I liked her style.
I ubered myself to the Concourse hotel to meet up with my G adventures tour group. I was told at check in that my roomie had arrived and was in the room. With some nervousness I knocked on the door and Laura was inside, a fellow lone traveller on her first adventure. I couldn’t of asked for a better roommate, even if she did like saying the odd sentence in her sleep.
At 8 am the following morning in Gus the bus plus a trailer for our bags, 21 of us plus our two CEOs departed and headed for Hollywood boulevard. Seeing as it was my third visit I wasn’t especially interested by it but the rest of the group enjoyed it. From there we drove for about 2.5 h to mission beach. It was a good drop off for some team bonding as we had 4 h together there. The sun was shining as we played some volleyball, frolicked in the sea and the boys did some body boarding. After my LA chip diet I had a massive Greek salad for some healthiness, it was big I couldn’t finish it so left it by my towel whilst I went in the sea, big mistake. In a scene reminiscent of Birds some humongous seagulls pounced on it and pecked away at the polystyrene box. Luckily some rather attractive Americans with good posture saved the day by lobbing an American football at them and I quickly picked up the mess (they even pecked at my coke).
From the beach we headed to our first campsite, just outside San Diego. Luckily the tent was very easy to put together, it was a simple dome with only 3 poles. To ensure an tidy and efficient base we were split into teams. That night team 1 cooked a lovely stir fry for dinner, team 2 washed up, team 3 emptied the bus and team 4 relaxed. Post dinner we spent the evening playing drinking games. It was a warm evening so I just slept in my sleeping bag liner on top of my sleeping bag. It wasn’t the best nights sleep but I reckon I got a good 7 h.
Sunday was our longest road trip, our destination was Scottsdale. We only stopped off once at the imperial sand dunes which were used to film the Star Wars Tatooine scenes. We had much fun posing on the dunes and it was the first outing of the selfie stick for group shots. We then drove for a further 4 h in extreme heat across very dry lands. Much to everyone’s excitement the motel had a pool, so we all immediately jumped in and played some volleyball. Dinner that night was at Rehab burger which had bicycles hanging from the ceiling, so was very Harada. I ordered a ghost burger, the description said spicy, but I wasn’t expecting it too be so hot, turns out ghosts peppers are the second hottest chilli in the world. From there we headed to the Rusty Spur Saloon for some drinks. There was a man singing with his guitar, I requested ring of fire by Jonny Cash, which seemed apt after eating stuff hot food. Due to the small size, Scottsdale doesn’t have cabs as such, instead you can catch a lift from a man driving around in his 6 seater golf buggy for a couple of bucks.
The next morning we hit the road early again. Our first stop off was Montezuma castle, basically it was a hole in the side of the rock, there had been more when it was built in 1400 but it had since decayed. It had a prime location as it was right next to beaver creek for water and at night they pulled the access ladders up so no one could harm them. Why they left no one knows. This was the location of my first souvenir penny purchase. From there were drove through red rock which had some beautiful views to arrive a Sedano an equally attractive town. Our stop over was an h and there was excellent vantage points for views of the surrounding hills, lots of ice cream parlours and 2 very chirpy town Rangers. I think we made the day of one of them as she’d never had a selfie before. My selfie stick also got lots of praise from excitable Americans as I waving it around trying to get a picture of me with a horse statue.
After a very short drive we arrived at slick rock where the river had worn a natural slide in the rock. We jumped out of Gus and scrabbled to make our sandwiches after wolfing them down we headed to the river and broke the rule of not eating just before you swim. With some in-trepidation I sat down in the water, it was extremely cold and quite a strong current so it kind of whisked you down. It was great fun and the rock was smooth so no injuries occurred. Getting out on the first attempt was a struggle and very unladylike, but after going down several times we found a ledge to swim to. On our last go we all went down in a line, only about half of the group went in, the others say on the side and took photos and laughed at our expense as we careered into each and screamed. We then dragged our soggy merry bodies back to the bus, with a stop for a selfie, to start the short ride to the highlight of my holiday the Grand Canyon.
Photos can be found here