Road Trip USA. Wobbly start.


Wednesday 26th September

Picked up the Ford Focus and Madlen drove us to Palo Alto to meet Martha's cousin Dave who is starting an MBA at Stanford. He gave us a tour of the immaculate campus which has its own golf course and is where Tiger Woods studied. Another famous alumni was Reece Witherspoon so I made the joke 'Did you hear on the news she was stabbed yesterday. Yeah Reece, Reece, Reece?'
'Witherspoon'
'No with a knife'.
We had the car now, I'd paid my third of the cost, they were stuck with having to put up with this and my newly acquired knowledge of bugs for another six days.

Found a motel in Monterey that worked out very cheap for the three of us.

Thursday 27th September

Glyn's first go at driving a left hand drive car on the right of the road. It was a success and the road down the California coast past Big Sur was fun to drive with twisty bends all the way. Too foggy to fully appreciate the views though. Bought a portable speaker that lasted for four hours at which point we realised I'd thrown the charger in the bin. Waste.

Driver swap at Hearst Castle, historic by American standards. It was built in the 1930s.

Lunch on a beach, feeding squirrels and passing an elephant seal colony on to some town near Los Angeles. At the motel we hit a snag. At some stage Martha had lost her purse containing her cards, money and driving licence. We turned the car and luggage inside out but it was definitely gone so she had to cancel her cards and where a lesser person might have panicked I was impressed to see she held it together. Comiserated by ordering pizzas and drinking beer in the room.

Friday 28th September

Down the California Coast to Los Angeles with a stop off on Malibu beach for a play in the sea with a couple of dolphins and for me to get sunburnt. As we drove off I caused a car behind to swerve because I'd left the cold pizza box on the roof of the car. Checked in to a hostel in Hollywood, walked along the walk of fame, popped in to a dull part of downtown and finished the night in a cinema watching Finding Nemo 3-D.

There was a definite atmosphere hanging over the group, I couldn't work out if I'd done something wrong or if it was a girly fall out. Guys never can tell these things but perhaps I was making too many decisions. For example it was my decision to check out downtown which was rubbish, we went to the wrong part.
Glyn: So what do you fancy doing?
Girls: Don't mind
Glyn: Shall we take a stroll around downtown?
Girls: Don't mind
Glyn: Well okay let's go. Left or right?
Girls: Don't mind.
Glyn: Okay let's go left.
And so on. This meant I was making a lot of the decisions on details but I've come to the position that if someone says 'don't mind' they will have to accept any poor decisions made on their behalf.

Saturday 29th September

Drove to Venice beach and walked along without conversation as three separate people. There was eye-rolling and sighing from the girls. Once again I'd made the plans for the day but it was that or sit around saying 'I don't mind' and 'maybe'.

After the beach Martha and I went to the Warner Bros studios tour and Madlen went to do her own thing as she wasn't willing to pay the hefty $50. At that price I needed to be impressed and to be fair I was. We sat on the preserved set of Central Perk off of Friends, saw the sound stage for the Big Bang Theory and a lot more props, memorobilia and T.V sets. It was all jolly good fun.

Thinking Madlen would be in a distant mood still I was pleased to see she'd perked up after some time to herself and we drove almost tension free to the Hollywood sign for the obligatory pointless photos.

We drove on to Lake Isabella and I suggested we have a few beers and play some cards. The girls went to bed. To me this meant one of several things 1. The girls don't like me. 2. The girls don't like cards. 3. The girls are boring. 4. The girls were tired after a busy day.*

I have to be honest it was a little frustrating that the trip wasn't turning out as full of laughter and joy as I'd hoped. To my mind I'd been trying really hard to help us enjoy ourselves but I was running low on interesting bug facts and unfortunately that is the limit of my mood-improving skills. What was really bothering me was that I still hadn't been properly insulted by Madlen or Martha. Most of my friends take a pop at me within thirty seconds of saying hello. It's four days in and there's still none of the rudeness that signifies a comfortable relationship.

*It was either 1 or 2, the girls stayed up talking and laughing in their room while I drank wine and read in the kitchen.