Saturday, 28 September 2013

Holiday Post Part 6 - Leaving Los Angeles and A Town Called Chloride

We left Santa Monica Beach at about 3.30-4pm on Friday afternoon.  We should have known this wasn't a good time to travel across Los Angeles, but had no choice.  We soon found out how bad our timing was when after about 5 minutes driving we were confronted with this much traffic.

About 6 or 7 lanes of it to be more precise.  It made London seem free flowing.  We crawled along for what seemed like hours but was in fact about an hour and a half.  We amused ourselves by watching the odd crazy driver cutting in and out of the queues to try to get on faster,  they rarely succeeded though.  It was gridlock.
Note to self - don't drive out of Los Angeles on a Friday night again.  Most people did tell us that it was bad most of the time though.
Anyway,  eventually we snaked our way across the northern part of Los Angeles back towards the border with Nevada.  It was six hours driving before we stopped for the night.
We did have a slight reprieve by stopping off for a burger at one of the many US burger chains.  The one we ate in was called  Carl's Jr.  There were so many options it was quite overwhelming.
Here's the price list.
Only joking.  This was a vintage sign on the wall.  The burgers were nice, but it was scary when you checked out the amount of calories.  Never mind, you only live once.
This burger bar was on the old Route 66 which we followed for a while, but it was starting to get dark so we weren't able to actually see much.  All we knew is that we had to drive through some mountains and then think about where we were going to stop that night.  OH was all for parking up somewhere on a quiet street, but I wasn't particularly happy about this as I was concerned it might be against state laws and there was the security element to consider.  In the end we stumbled across this campsite at about 9.30 pm and I was so relieved.
It was right by the freeway, but it didn't matter.  We hooked up and got a good night's sleep.  The next morning we had chance to explore a bit more.  It had a great little shop where you could swap books, which I did, a laundry that was even cheaper than the last one I'd used, a swimming pool and games room with table tennis.  It even had a little children's play area with a wagon pulled by little horses and a little log cabin.  I had to take a photo or two.
You could camp here, park your van or even stay in a log cabin yourself, like this one.  We saw these in a couple of other places too.  It was a great little site.
Unfortunately, we didn't have time to go for a dip in the pool on this occasion, as we still had a long drive ahead of us to get close enough to the Grand Canyon to visit the next day, our last full day in the van, so we left and continued on our journey.
By 4pm that day we had reached Kingman, where we were spending the night at another site.  As it had a pool we headed straight there when we arrived.  After about half an hour in the pool a storm started with thunder and lightening.  Needless to say we didn't stay in the pool for long and headed back to the van where OH got the BBQ working for us to cook our dinner.
The following day and the weather seemed to have cleared, but because of an emergency the pool was opening later and we couldn't have another swim which was disappointing.  It was Sunday, our last full day in the van, we were back in the desert and we were going to visit the Grand Canyon, but not before stopping off in a little place called Chloride, a ghost town.  With a name like that you just had to take a look.
We got to Chloride at 10am and there wasn't a lot open to be honest.  Just a bar and a store.  It was a great little place.  Here's a picture of some of the stores in the town, namely the Post Office and an antiques store.  Apparently, about 200 people lived in the area surrounding the town (a much reduced population from when it had been a busy mining area many years before) and everyone had a post office box at the Post Office and came in to collect mail, so it was the hub of the area.
It was so quaint.  A bit of a tourist spot.  They even had gunfights for the tourists, we were in the Wild West of course, but we'd just missed out by a day.
Whilst I explored the Cactus garden/museum which told you about all the native cacti that could be found in the desert
OH and Little Bird headed into Digger Dave's bar for an ice cream and homemade lemonade.
I joined them a little while later.  The lemonade was lovely and the bar was just jam packed full of all kinds of American ephemera and memorabilia, plus it had a great Juke box with albums on it and I had fun sifting through and playing some personal favourites such as Journey and the Eagles.
  I particularly liked these Elvis sideburns hung on the wall.  Classic.
Dave himself was a character.  We chatted to him for a while and it turned out he was originally a New Yorker.  He'd come to the area to work, had bought the bar and been there for the last 3-4 years.  He liked the desert climate.  We did too.
After our interesting refreshment stop, the bill was only $8 for 3 lemonades plus two refills, two ice creams, and a numerous songs on the juke box .  Plus we took some silly photos using the saddle and stetsons in the bar.  An absolute bargain.
In my next post we finally reach the Grand Canyon and it gets a whole post to itself.


  1. I'm really enjoying reading your US adventure. Wonderful to come across such good places to spend the night and the calories... well, you were on holiday after all !

  2. Thanks Penny. The big famous places to visit are great, but it's the real, everyday and quirky things to see and do that we find so interesting when we go away.