We spent Friday night at a wonderful town in Central California called San Luis Obispo which was declared by Oprah to be the happiest city in the USA. We stayed with a wonderful host in a beautiful house looking out over the mountains and town. We bought a back tyre for the bike and ate some authentic Thai food. Everyone we met was exceptionally friendly. I guess that is what being happy does for you.
I speak to you from the future. Turns out the fuel level sender unit had failed so I’m not such a twat, after all. Well, not for this reason, anyway.
We left quite late on Saturday for the Santa Barbara mountains and…ran out of petrol. This has not happened to us since about 1996. We drained what was left in the camp stove but the bike still wouldn’t start so we waved our arms at passing bikers, all of whom waved back but didn’t stop. We then proceed to push the bike (well I pushed and Dave sat on the bike and paddled) up a hill. Still noone stopped to help. Fortunately, at the top of the hill was a grocery store with a cafe from where we called a taxi (at great expense) and Dave went to fetch petrol.
Dave dances like a twat after running out of petrol like a twat
The whole thing left us $60 lighter. We should have used the roadside assistance that we have but we thought it would take ages for them to come out. It would have been a lot cheaper.
The Santa Barbara mountains surpassed expectations.
Pumpkin fields are everywhere at the moment.
The mountains are really beautiful and only 15 miles from the centre of Santa Barbara. This would be a good place to live. There is a lot of space, good weather, good roads and stunning scenery. The campsites were also empty on a Saturday night which is quite unique in our experience.
It rained a lot in the night. So much that a fellow biker with a tiny tent, camped near us, left and went home before daylight. We took refuge in a Starbucks before returning to the campsite to pack up.
We got wet, for only the second time in 3 months, on the way to LA . Not what you expect in Southern California. By the time we arrived at our Airbnb in the Hollywood Hills, it had dried up.
We spent the next day along Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards. We watched The Martian at the Arc Lights Dome, a dome shaped cinema built in 1963, which opened with the premier of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (is that too many mads?). It was a brilliant film and a great location. Something really memorable.
We also visited Graumann’s Chinese Theatre and found the hand and foot prints of some of our old Hollywood heroes, including the cast of The Apartment.
And Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
The cast of Giant is interesting, as James Dean had died before the film was premiered and so his prints do not appear alongside the rest of the cast.
As you will know if you have been reading the blog regularly, we love Art Deco architecture so we spent an hour or so wandering around Hollywood Boulevard, spotting original buildings from the 1920s, when the area was at its most glamorous (it is pretty seedy today).
We also saw a few fantastic wig and costume shops.
The next morning, our wonderful host Sabine, who rides a BMW 650 took us up to the Hollywood sign, about 10 minutes from the house. This street is open to only locals so we were really lucky.
There were great views over the city. For those who have lived in Bangkok, the pollution really did not seem bad at all.
Dave really loves this sign, partly because of the System of a Down album sleeve (you will need to look that up if you haven’t seen it). The house on the right used to be lived in by Keanu Reeves.
It was great fun going up there and one of the biggest highlights of the trip so far.
We loved Hollywood. We decided to stay in one area of LA as our time was short. The decision to stay in the hills was one of the best decisions we have made on the trip. Although the area around the Boulevards is really very ordinary these days, if you read up about the buildings and the history from the early 20th century it goes beyond a tacky tourist experience. It is one we will remember really fondly. Yes I am growing my hair a bit.