Stacey Campbell
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

We continued south through the Mojave. It was now starting to get quite dark. After fifty miles we noticed what looked like a large town, with many lights, off to our right. Cindy checked the map and discovered we were driving next to a huge military base. As we were driving along we noticed a pickup truck with its emergency lights on by the other side of the road. I slowed down, and when we got close several young men emerged from the darkness waving their arms, almost stepping in front of the car. I slammed on the brakes and swerved to avoid them. The young men ran up to the car. They said they were Marines from the Twenty Nine Palms Marine base, and that their truck was stuck in the sand. They were wondering if they could get a ride back to their base.

I told them to jump in, but could only take three, so two Marines had to stay out in the desert with the bogged truck. We drove them about five miles along the road to the base entrance gate. On the way I told them that it was best to keep two wheels on the road if they wanted to pull over for a pee.

When we got to the base gate the guard wouldn't let Cindy or I drive any further without a visitor pass. I wanted to get going to Desert Hot Springs and it was already getting late, so we left the Marines at the gate to find their way back to their barracks where they had a truck with a winch. It later occurred to us that it probably wasn't going to be easy for two foreign nationals, one without any identification, to get a visitor pass into a US military base anyway.

We arrived fairly late in Desert Hot Springs. We checked into the big spa hotel and soaked in one of the large hot spring spas for an hour, while chatting to other hotel guests. The next day after breakfast and another dip in the hot springs we drove down out of the mountains and into Los Angeles.

Traffic was pretty heavy on the freeways and several times we were held up due to crashed cars blocking lanes. We didn't have any firm plans on what we wanted to see in Los Angeles, so I drove down to Hollywood and parked the car on Hollywood Boulevard. We got out and walked along the sidewalk with stars embedded in it and we read the famous names on the stars. When we got to Mann's Chinese Theater we took some photos where actors had imprinted their hands and feet in wet concrete. While we were there I got two guest audience passes to a TV show called `The Newly Wed Game' that was being video taped at a nearby studio on the Paramount lot.

We drove to the studio and watched the show for a few hours. We noticed that even though it was a game show it looked like the contestants were paid actors who were sticking to a script. Many members of the audience were on a bus tour from Mississippi, and the MC for the audience was a stand up comedian from Los Angeles. Everyone had a good time but we didn't understand a lot of the MC's jokes. It looked like almost everyone in the audience was a tourist either from the US or overseas.

We decided we didn't want to spend the night in Los Angeles so we drove up Highway 101 to Newbury Park where there was a factory that shipped teddy bear making supplies around the world. Cindy bought some supplies at a pretty good price while I chatted with the office staff. We then drove up Highway 101 to the Highway 1 turnoff in San Luis Obispo eventually stopping in Morro Bay, next to the Pacific Ocean, for the night.

The next morning we looked in a quilting and craft store in Morro Bay then drove a few miles up Highway 1 to Hearst Castle at San Simeon. We took a tour of the castle that went through the upper floors as well as the huge kitchen and by the two big swimming pools. The guide told us many stories about William Randolf Hearst and his newspaper empire.

Continuing north up Highway 1, we took in views of the Pacific Ocean from the small highway hugging the steep hillsides. The storm from the previous week had washed parts of the road away in several places and we had to wait while Caltrans crews flagged traffic through one lane at a time. One of the Caltrans flagmen said that he had seen some whales migrating south earlier on, so Cindy kept her eyes peeled for whales while I kept my eyes on the narrow road.

We stopped at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Beach and walked down a small path to where we could see the creek running off the top of the cliff into the ocean. We took some photos then got back into the car and finished our trip around California by driving north up Highway 1 and back into Santa Cruz.

Bridalveil Creek 1 Coyote Upper Yosemite Falls Trail into Bodie Bodie Church Bodie Ranger Station View from Highway 270 Mount Whitney 1 Mount Whitney 2 Sand Dunes Zabriskie Point   Badwater  Near Kelso Depot Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Bridalveil Creek 2