This morning we checked out of the Hyatt at Orange County and picked up our rental car. Brett was driving, the left hand drive didn't worry him as his Mustang is a left hand drive but we all had to be alert and remind him which side of the road he was meant to be on! We were in a Dodge people mover which was very comfy and we upgraded to a navigation system which was a must.
The roads in LA and surrounds were really well organised, signs easy to follow and most trips we were on 5 lane each way highways.
We set off first for Venice Beach, this was a must see for Molly. It took us about an hour to get there. The first thing we saw was a squirrel running across the road, very cute. We parked close to the main strip and walked along the beach path. Again there was a smoke/smog across the sky which made it hard to see a long distance. There were markets, lots of graffiti and every second person was hassling you for money or to buy their cd as they were the next big rapper yet to be discovered. It became very annoying as you couldn't walk 2 stalls without being stopped, we got good at spreading and avoiding. I had my first corn on the cob which was a must for me! Yes, it does seem to be all about food!
We then began the 400 mile drive to Las Vegas. We were very thankful for the navigation system, wouldn't have made it there without it. We stopped at 'in n out burgers' for lunch before we got to the desert. This chain of restaurants originated in California and only sold 3 types of burgers, cheese burger, plain burger and a double double, came with fries and never ending soda. We couldn't get a seat inside and had to sit in the outdoor area, it was bloody hot.
Several times on our drive we passed on or along the famous Route 66. The landscape changed from mountains with brown trees on one side and green on the other to rocky mountains that were giant rocks to what looked like mountains of shale. The mountains were enormous and there were many colours in the landscape. Not many trees once we left LA area.
We could feel the temperature rising and many cars were broken down on the highways as they had overheated. There were signs saying "turn off your air conditioning or you will overheat". We stopped for fuel and had a lot of trouble filling the car, had to ask a nice man to help us work the bowser, turns out you have to pay first!
We saw thousands of Joshua trees. The name Joshua tree was given by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree's unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer.
All in all the trip was pretty smooth, we didn't turn our air conditioning down, so we were lucky to make it!
We arrived at the Luxor in Las Vegas at 7pm. Our room wasn't ready....we were not impressed. They asked us to give them an hour an a half. All we wanted was to have a shower and dinner and check out the strip. We wandered aimlessly for 90 minutes then went back, room still wasn't ready. They wanted another 90 minutes. I just about lost the plot and complained. They offered us a smaller room that we could have then and there or wait for the bigger room. We told them we were not downgrading as we had 2 big kids with us and we needed a living area, they were already sharing a bed. They gave us a room to shower in and get ready for dinner and called us when ours was ready so it was about 10pm when we got our room. Very unimpressed.
We went to dinner at a restaurant in the Luxor called Rice. It was lovely, sushi, Mongolian beef, sweet and sour pork. We had a wander around and headed off to bed. The air conditioning was not working well so I didn't sleep well, most of you know I like to live in igloo style surroundings. I was coming down with a head cold or allergy or something also, added to the shocking late check in day 1 of Vegas was not so good.