USA 12/4/94 Tuesday AGAIN ! CalifornIA . The United States lost a few of it's stripes upon my arrival as far as I was concerned . No sign of Fammee and I had to work out how to use the phone again . A 1 has to be put in front of the area code now . That aside , Fammee had left her job last Friday and was not at home . I hung around LAX for an hour or two during which I found the Virgin Atlantic office and tried to get my ticket re~issued , but they were closed . The trials and tribulations those bloody Australian convicts have put me through . "Who steals my purse steals trash ; 'tis something , nothing . T'was mine , 'tis his , and has been slave to thousands , but he who filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him and makes me poor indeed ." Obviously the bard was not twelve thousand miles from home and did not lose credit cards and travel documents when he was robbed . Luckily , Linda , one of the American's I met in Fiji , gave me her number in LA , "just in case things don't work out" she had said . How prophetic , here I am stuck in LAX with the daunting prospect of going back to backpackers accommodation . I phone Linda . Saved by the (Pacific) bell . A half hour shuttle bus ride , on the Santa Monica freeway / 10 , re~opened this very day after earthquake damage , to Hollywood . James has arrived , Hollywood here I am . Cruise round town with Linda looking for something to eat , but LA closes quite early which I found odd . Picked up Linda's Staffordshire terrier , Nellie , and eventually crashed out when we had used up our "free time" at 2am . 13/4/94 Wednesday . Woke up at 12 noon ! I feel good , like I knew I would (in the words of James (Brown)) . Sunshine , 75øC . Phoned Gaz to find out news on Fammee , spoke to Alexis and awaiting a return call . Fijian coffee , bagels and smoked salmon for brunch . God bless America . Gaz phoned back , all sorted with news on Fammee . Went shopping with Linda , amazing supermarket and pet store . We took Nellie for a walk up the Hollywood hills , saw Castle del Largos , Madonna's house and took photo's . Linda's friends over for dinner . Bed late , but could not sleep anyway . 14/4/94 Thursday . Woke late . Went shopping for a new watch for me . Linda drove me everywhere , Belair all around Beverly Hills and Hollywood , just because I had set my heart on one particular Casio watch which it transpires is a "grey import" model into the United States . In evening went to Sony Pictures Studios to see an early screening of "Brainscan" , Linda was invited by the producer . I met the actors and was a real Hollywood socialite , great fun . Out for a Mexican meal opposite Paramount where all the stars go for lunch . Took photo's of earthquake damage . Still a bit jet lagged , I cannot seem to get my days in daylight and nights in darkness . 15/4/94 Friday . Woke up at 12.30pm , damn , see above . Martin phoned to sort out a rendezvous . phoned car hire companies . Went To Virgin Atlantic ticket office in the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood . Bad news , will I ever be rid of the after effects af those bloody Australian convicts , my ticket had not been blacklisted , I need to pay more because I changed the booking and it is now mid/high season , also need to pay a re~issue fee . All told I have to pay an additional $200 to fly home . Will insurance pay the difference , past experience says not . I write a fax to Francis Vanderputt , via Unc via Jimbo as directories were unable to give me F's fax number . I hope iot gets there and that he can sort it out and get the good news to me via Martin C . Lots of via's , but I am about to KILL SOMEBODY . (I don't wish to create a scene , but if I don't get some service around here I'm going to TEAR THIS PLACE APART , Dad) . Bought attachments for my machine , or should I say "bought some new computer hard and soft ware" . The dictionary / thesaurus / spell check works great .Finally met up with Fammee , who , like Martin , had received my letter from Fiji today . (No wonder she was not at the airport . She could not have put me up anyway due to earthquake damage of her parents house . Thank God for Linda . The two of us went out for dinner , ie no husband / Eric . Had good chat , she seems very happy and "together" as they say in LA . 16/4/94 Freya's Birthday / Saturday . Woken by Fammee's mum on the phone informing me that Fammee could not pick me up to go to her nephew's 1st Birthday party , a relative had had a motorbike accident and was in intensive care . (Saved you though ~Ed) . Linda took me round Hollywood's tourist spots , see photo's of Hollywood Boulevard , Mann's Chinese theatre etc . Met Steve Mc Queen and Madonna , see photo's , so it was well worth the effort . Got a new strap and battery for my watch . Post cards to ; Vince and Beverly (from Beverly Hills) , happy birthday to Matthew Wurr , bottoms to Garland , and a proper card to Camilla . Out for dinner to an excellent mexican in evening with some of Linda's friends . Did not feel tired so Linda took me to Universal City Walk in "The Valley" . Terrific . Typically American . So well done . You want a theme park , it's got to be a Yank job . Went on a hair raising ride down a mine shaft : actually an hydraulic platform with a large video screen in front . If you closed your eyes you knew you weren't going anywhere , but with open eyes , wow ! Bungy jumping would be a lot safer this way . Left there at 1.15 am on "another pleasant valley Sunday . Here in status symbol land" 17/4/94 Grand Prix day , both F1 and Indy . Set the video and set off for Long Beach to see if Nigel or Ilmor (Penske team's so called Chevrolet engine) could do some good . Rode the new LA subway / trolley bus network to Long Beach . Cheap and clean , but very slow as it's tracks are on the regular road network . A good race and good occassion . Not as good as F1 , but I am biased . It certainly is not such a big deal to the Californian's , having a Grand Prix in town that is . Al Unser Jr came in first in his Penske , our Nige a well driven second . I bought myself a "well done for not smoking since July present" = a $95 pair of Ray Ban Driver sunglasses . (40 weeks @ $12 a week = $480 , well done James !) . Back to 2047 High Tower Dr to drink beer and watch the F1's (some mother f'er yank had great delight in telling me that Senna fell off , with three others , on the first corner ! Son bitch !) . Watched 2 hours of baseball just to find see that Michael Schumacher won the Pacific Grand Prix , no pictures at all . Come back Murray , relatively , I love you .(I've heard screensport is excellent ~Ed) . Ae pizza , drank Miller draught . Linda deliberated over what she should do over the next few days : she has been invited to stay with a friend , Louise , who lives in the Carmel Highlands / Monterey area just North of Big Sur . Chatted to Tim , Linda's lodger , a nice chap who is currently writing a script . (Like every other NSU in Hollywood ~Ed) . 18/4/94 Monday (morning feeling , what Monday morning feeling it has been damn nearly a year since you earned one penny ~Ed) . Up at 8am . Fammee phoned from the office re her work address and my Fax to Francis Vanderputt . Pack and make ready to leave . Linda changes her mind and decides to go to Louise's . I hire a car (the cheapest @ $139 / week plus $12 / day insurance , but fortunately got upgraded) . Drive to Century City to Fammee's office to pick up letter from Mum (interesting news as ever , but Granny by all accounts is not so good , Doris has pneumonia , and Unc has "Griffiths problems") . To the Firehouse in Venice / Santa Monica , Leiko's bar , to drop off Nellie . Finally get on Highway 1 , the Pacific Highway at Noon . It's great to be rolling again , Paddy where are you ? The FM is great and the Transmission is automatic . Shame the Nissan is not our "Olds" from 1990 though . Food Gas and Lodging , running on empty , where are you on the radio ? However I did find some Led Zep . Through Malibu and North to Santa Barbara , then cross country off 101 passed near Michael Jackson's ranch (valley of called Santa Ynez) , 101 again and then Thruogh Fort Hunter Liggett to the Ferguson Nacienmento Road . See photo's of being above the clouds , the trees , valley etc . Breahtaking , infact it rivals New Zealand and that is saying something . Big Sur is also similar to the NZ south Island Tasman / West coast , but without the dreadful "portacabin housing" . The whole area is a reserve for sealions , whales etc , but especially sea otters (sorry Grant . I'll take a photo . Tom & Jono could learn how to float on their backs and crack open muscles properly here) . Arrived at Louises at 7pm . Fabulous house , great view . Keith shares the house with her and another Keith plus a woman called Judy are staying also . Both the Keiths are homosexuals , the former mentioned has AIDS to boot ! Both "nice guys" , no really , and interesting to talk to on matters of ; sex , drugs , politics , environment and war . Dinner at the Menterey Highlands Inn , expensive , but very good . Ate outside with views of the ocean . French onion soup followed by Snapper and fartichokes (wow did they work !) . 19/4/94 Tuesday . Off on my own today to see what I can see . Report to follow . See ~ ya . To the Point Lobos (Spanish / Mexican for wolf) reserve . What a good job the Americans do with this kind of nature gratification . I expected to see Yogi and Booboo at any second . I walked in , parked my car on highway 1 , to save the $6 entry fee . Almost touched a deer , see photo , I felt like Uncle Remus . Walked on the Cypress Trail and the next one and saw ; two Sea Otters , Sealions , seals , and two tame Squirrels . The Otters were terrific , just like the Jacque Cousteau programmes . They just float about in the Kelp having a relaxing time . This whole Big Sur (South) area is an Ocean reserve , but specifically for Sea Otters . I then drove into Monterey and walked round the Harbour where there were two of them floating about near the yachts , they are like caricatures of themselves . Faces like Koala come Panda , they put their front paws over their eyes (to protect them from flash photography ~Ed) and float about some more . Much bigger than you would have thought , about the size of Floyd (refer back to siting in Malaysia) , with massive feet , about the size of Damon Hill's . A splendid eat as much as you want seafood late lunch with Anchor Staem Beer (Dad's favourite) , whilst watching the Seals muck about off Fisherman's Wharf . Then to the Monterey Aquarium a small $50 million project started by Miss Packard of Hewlett Packard (see top left hand corner of this screen ~Ed) with Daddy's finance because she had been to "school" to learn all about sealife and could not find a suitable job ! (bit like Dad buying Grant & I Fuller Smith and Turner!) . The Slough was a particularly fine exhibit explaining all about estuarine life (not estuarine accents though , which I have been accused of) . The children stroke the Rays at feeding time and touch starfish etc. Birdlife too . Now pin back your lug holes Dad and David : I saw an exhibit on Clams , especially as I had enjoyed a fine Clam Chowder at lunch , which told me about ; their lifestyle , habitat , feeding methods , and the many different species , the largest of which is the GOE DUCK (spelt correctly) . The Goe Duck sticks its long neck out of the sand leaving its body burried under the sand . If they are not clever they can be caught out by the receding tyde . So there , at long last , we have it . The end of the riddle of the Goe Duck . A great engineering feat and well worth the $12 . It is also the HQ for the Sea Otter protection programme with four early orphans in one of the aquariums as exhibits , they did not know how to re~introduce them to the wild at that time . Judging by the coastline they have been successful now . Most are tagged and have radio transmitters . Did you know that the Pacific coast Rainbow Trout migrates to sea for 3 years and becomes a steel head . They then return to their river of origin to spawn . Back to Louise's house , just in time for a dinner . Two more Queens arrive ! America what is happening to you ? You are going to end up like the Romans , that's if Queer's Cancer doesn't get there first . A good dinner . Lots of wine , and I had the pleasure of seeing two guys hitting on eachother . They got their drugs out . I found a dozen bottles of Bass , imported from Stoke on Trent , lovely Bass call . Sat on the deck , watched the sky and listened to the waves . Linda decided she could not sleep in Louise's room with all the dogs so she decides to share mine . She snores like a Goe Duck so I slept on the sofa (keeping my asshole firmly pressed against the back cushions) . 20/4/94 Wednesday . I am packed and ready to leave . Had enough of listening to the arty types talking superficially on the phone all day about nothing , confirming nothing and closing with "speak to you later , love you , bye" . Linda decides that I will take her to San Jose to catch a plane to LA . That is fine , but at 9pm . Thank you . Salvage the day by going shopping for Dad's binoculars , no waterproof ones so no go . I bought a garment / suit bag . Late lunch at a restaurant which was formerley a house bought by Orson Wells as a wedding present for one of his wives . She did not like it so they sold it . Called something Greek like Prothenus . Expensive burger , but an excellent view . Finally left Louise's at about 7pm . The journey was a real case of "do you know the way to San Jose" , it was certainly further than I / we had thought . A rushed good~bye to Linda , but I may see her again and I still have a key to her house . She really did save the week as far as accom. was concerned . A very generous person . Drove South again back to Santa Cruz , a real pilgrimage to Tony Alva and skateboarding . The opposite side of the equation to LSD (London Skates Dominate) . Memories from the Elastaplast days . More Led Zep , Pink Floyd , Steely Dan , The Who , Yes , and Rolling Stones on the radio . Makes a welcome change to hear some good stuff . Found Atpos , phoned Cassandra for directions to her house . She lives in the rented pool house of an expensive development on a ranch up in the hills . A crazy place to find . The road is a cross between Burnham Beeches and the Dart valley . Arrived at 10pm . Kerry and Cassandra on good form following their Fuji holiday . Buck staying also . Just like Beverly Camping all over again . More "isn't that the funniest thing / you've ever seen / ever" . At least 10 miles out of Aptos , on the hillside overlooking Monterey and Santa Cruz . Louise's house was between Monterey and Carmel , the latter being where Clint Eastwood was once Mayor and still lives . 21/4/94 "San Francisco , here we go" . Cassandra volunteers to give me a tour . Drive up Highway 1 . Pass the place where the bad guys crash into the gas station in Bullet , I think it is anyway . What a good looking city . The sun was shining and everywhere reminds me of "what's up Doc." . I drive around like a cross between ; Callaghan , Bullet , Brevan (police squad) and a lost British tourist having a good time . See photo's . Go to Haight and Ashbury Streets , where the Hippie movement is supposed to have started and where Hendrix and Joplin etc. used to "hang out" . Take photo's from Twin Peaks of the whole city . Alcatraz in the distance . San Francisco is one of those places , like Manhattan , Washington , and LA , that is so heavily filmed that you feel you have been there before . Saw the police bashing some youths in Buena Vista Park , which I think is where Harry hands over the loot to Scorpio (and stabs him in the leg ~Ed) . Over Bay Bridge to Oakhland to try and meet up with Kerry and Buck , but no go so Cassandra & I return to Santa Cruz . Get food and beer . Return to the pool house . K&B finally arrive . I relax in the "Sky Chair" , see photo . Must get one of these for home (Dad would like one too) . Listen to more great radio . 22/4/94 Friday . Buck & I drive the 75 miles to San Francisco . Over the Golden Gate Bridge (we're going to see where ice cream is made , children) . Get a good view of Alcatraz and the city , see photo's . Lunch over the bridge in a very tidy town with a harbour and expensive houses called . Drive through Golden Gate Park , along Lombard Street to the wiggly end bit . Photo . Great fun Frank Bulleting my way up and down the angles and flats of the roads . I needed a Mustang to do it properly , and I did not have the guts to go fast enough to get airborne and ground out the bottom of the car . The Morgan would be frightening here : all those hill starts (you have to stop at nearly every crossroads in California , nobody has priority) , and the ground clearance would be a major problem . Having said that I am busting to get back in the Mog for a blat . To Cior Tower for the view and to take a photo of Oliver Cromwell from an interesting angle , told to me by a Policeman . Then cruised up some of the major streets , dodging the cable cars . Across Grant street , along California and Powell . Into China Town ("there , tan suitcase" "get out of the road Hammerhead" etc) . Downtown and then to Fisherman's Wharf : very touristy , but the seafood must be good here . Another very in the movies a lot place . Down Van Ness to Market and then up Page to Barbarah's house (went there yesterday with Cassandra) . Met up with Nancy and Joel , bacause the four of us , includes Buck , are going to the Pink Floyd concert in Oakland . Took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) which is good . Very clean , but typically the American's did not seem to use it regularly , they do love their cars (even if no one else does ~Ed) . Carpet on the floor and soft seats , bad idea , why don't they draw from the experience of the London Tube , Metro , MRT , and MTR . Vandalism , graffiti and sick all represent big problems . Ice and cheap though , but not as cheap as Hong Kong's MRT . Terrific buildings , so clean with lots of security . Literally look like they are built to withstand an earthquake . No gunge in the corners or blocking drains and no litter , Blighty is dragging its heals in these respects . $1000 fine if you are caught littering . The concert was in the Oakland Coliseum which is the home of the Oakland A's (Athletics) baseball team . Baseball stadiums make great concert venues , better than football (I mean Soccer) stadiums because as the game is basically rounders the stadium is rounder . More like an ampitheatre . The show was great . The biggest stage spectacular I have ever seen . Explosions , fireworks , pigs , lasers , mirror spheres , video , the works . Which is just as well bacause according to James' critical path around the planet , the band needs all the help it can get to distract your attention away from their new material . Roger come back . Gilmour's singing cannot stand up on its own , the lyrics are cheap and the extended guitar solo's are just that , Floyd is turning into a Chris Rea song band . Mason is asleep (and has another drummer / percussionist on stage with him to help out , what , with all those computers he needs to give the game away by having another bod on stage) . I was not even sure which drum kit our Nick was hiding behind . The old stuff was good . They need someone who can play Bass and has a little vision . Floyd's lyrics are about the War , going mad , satire on society , in sympathy with Regie Perrin about the corrupt world of commerce . Not love and relationships failing , that's the work of that Phil Collins (another drummer who can't and is still alive to prove the theory!) "The Division Bell" I think it should be the final bell (they already have the Final Cut) , either that or change your name to Gilmour & Mason , but that sounds like a catering company . Maybe this is why all the good drummers are dead . 140 million albums sold to date , rest on you laurels and don't spoil your immaculate "record" . Take note from Alain Prost . Glad I went though . Massive queue to get out and onto BART . Back to Barbarah's at 1.15am . I drove the 75 miles back to Cassandra's , arriving at 3.15 , yawn . 23/4/94 It never rains in Southern California , well maybe , but this is Northern California and it's pissing down and quite cold . I cannot see the sea or Santa Cruz this morning . So here we are , living on the fault line , as The Doobie Brothers would say , because the San Andreas fault runs 2 miles from here . The last big quake , the Loma Prieta , was in 1989 . Deliberating on the day ahead . Full (well not quite full) report to follow . If you had not realized why everything is San and Los , it's because of the Spanish / Mexican settlers pioneering their way all the way up the West coast and the South . The East coast is all British ie New England / Jersey / York . The Bee Gees founded Massivechewsets (sic) , but are they British or Australian ? The Ausies claimed them when I was there like they claimed anything else that had done some good and had a micron of Australian in it . Americans are much more relaxed , as are the British (that's rich coming from you ~Ed) , when discussing nationalistic issues , because neither has anything to prove . The Australians will be able to relax after they have kicked out the Windsors and hosted the Olympics . Interesting to note that Fiji wants to re~join the commonwealth (not the British Commonwealth any longer as one Oz emphatically pointed out) but is not able to because it's constitution is not up to standard on human rights issues . I told the Ausies to leave , and not to come back ! Do they have a "special relationship" with the United States ? I think not . Note , this blurb applies to the 33% of the Australian population who are in the c__t class . The rest are as good as the New Zealanders . We left Santa Cruz at 5.30pm in sunshine . After an hour we were into serious rain . What a big place , the roads go straight and disappear over the horizon . I had forgotten the scale of this nation since I drove East to West with Paddy in 1990 . After 250miles I flash Kerry twice and pull in for gas . What , another non mirror user , they bloody disappeared into the spray ! I waited for the best part of an hour for them to return , but no show . So , having left my heart in San Francisco (is that the best you can do ~Ed) I am on my tod again . Fulled with gas and supplies (I wish I had not given up smoking at times like these) I press on down B class roads , peering through the rain , across vast plains of farm land and thinking I should not have carried on . Things became a bit spooky and my imagination started doing overtime . I lock the doors . As I approach Yosemity park SNOW is falling quite heavily , so I chicken out and head back to Oakhurst . Check into the cheapest hotel I can find , $50 , at 11pm . Two beers crappy TV and sleep . 24/4/94 Sunday . Phone Fammee , and leave a message for Martin . Drive into the Yosemite park . Snow on the ground , see photo . A ranger tells me that the drive through tree I wanted to see fell down in 1968 . I wonder if Mr Eglin knows or is he still teaching out of date "geogo" ? The ranger guessed that I was British , he said all the British think the tree is still standing and were taught it in school . Stroke of luck , I call into the Wawona Hotel and ask the receptionist if she knows Kerry Cassandra and Buck . She only used to room with Kerry didn't she ! She gave me banana bread and coffee and she is now trying to track them down for me . Success . I drive to Yosimite Valley / Village to meet up . A spectacular piece of country . Similar to New Zealand , but more accessible by motorcar as is the American way . I could not get a decent photo of the bluff valley and cathedral rocks : unable to get far enough away to get them in frame , even on wide angle . Intermittent snow and rain showers . Visit friends of Kerry and Cassandra's , who live in quaint log cabin type housing , which comes with their jobs . Very Yogi and Booboo . In fact bears do feed from the hotels trash cans . Very well layed out park with ; roads , car parks , sewage and waste disposal all sorted . Typically American , they are the experts at this theme park / leisure time thing , dude . Dinner at Von and Lilly Stevens' , who's living room looks out over the Merced River . Grant , this is your xanadu . See photo of Kerry and I . Back to Oakhurst to a live music bar (The Good Old Boys again Paddy) . I narrowly missed being involved in a bar room brawl with some guys with hats on . Back through the snow in a Subaru at 2.30am . 25/4/94 Monday (morning feeling) . Fax Martin who sends me a Fax from Mum re plane tickets . (my fax got to Mum , not Unc , on April 23rd ! . Not too good for a fax sent on the 16th and again on the 18th . Les Gables Deux is going to have a fax machine of its own soon) . Francis is doing his stuff , and has remembered that my insurance runs out on 27th . I had thought of this and hoped Francis would notice , as "things" do tend to be difficult to arrange from this end . Garland phoned M&D asking for a current phone number , it's nice to be thought of and I hope it is exciting news . Snow this morning , which has now mostly cleared . Hang out for a while then Kerry takes me back to the valley in his Landcruiser , lucky for him because my Nissan could not have coped with much more snow , see photo's . I see a Cayote , a sand coloured fox , but no meep meep road runner . Kerry and Cassandra , what cool dudes thanks very much for all your hospitality and energy . Buck too , a bit of a Robin Williams it turns out . I was glad to drop the 3000 or so feet to warmer , if wetter , climbs . Unable to go the logical route to Death Valley because of all the snow . As it was I was breaking the park law of not having snow chains . I make good time through Fresno , Bakersfield , and to the Ranch Motel in the Indian town of Tehachapi . Very Bates motel / Hotel California . The railroad passes nearby . Santa Fe trains , I've never seen such monsters . Even their whistle feels threatening . All alone now . My thirtieth Birthday is in one hours time and I am planning my journey to Death Valley tomorrow , but I'm fine man , I'm fine . No really , the thirties , lets go for IT Jimi ! The end of an era , the beginning of a new one . 26/4/94 Thirty today , great . Not the best nights sleep , I kept dreaming I was in a railway yard (Labeesh where is my train ?) . The Railroad crossing bell rings for a few minutes , then you get the trains whistle followed by miles of carriages . Up at 6.30am ! Rain for the first hour . Through California City , a non event . The roads and the desert seem endless . Dirt roads lead off the tarmac ones , they disappear over the horizon too ! God only knows where to . Odd to be in the desert , in the rain , then snow and later in shorts and no shirt , all in the space of four hours / 250 miles Death Valley , awesome . He who walks in the valley of death ......... for I am the meanest son of a bitch... . A long days driving , but not too taxing with straights of 50 miles , cruise control and the radio ever on . Bad Company and more solid half hours of Led Zeppelin .(Going to California was particularly enjoyable because of my location . I took a photo of the road during the song) . Got the Nissan over 100mph , a birthday treat , pretending to be in Vanishing Point . Took the 3 mile one way Artists Trail : a demon piece of road which I turned into a special stage of the Acropolis Rally . You should have seen the dust . The 127 is an epic road through the California desert to Baker . 15 and then the 164 , the Joshua Highway , into Nevada . 95 and 163 tio Laughlin . Laughlin is like a mini Vegas and is described as Vegas of thirty years ago (an apt time span ~Ed) . You can even ask the croupiers how to shoot crap (the game dummy , not like you with a shot gun ~Ed) . Tried to check into the Edgewater , but it was full , so the Ramada Express was it . $16 for a room with two Kingsize beds (did you use either of them ? ~Ed) en suite and view , see photo's . Fabulous , and so American : a mini steam train services the car park and hotel rooms to the Casino . Like Vegas , a must . Grant would be really funny here . I used up the free drinks token book and then went walkabout , dressed in my sharpest gear . That is what lets the American way down , their total disregard for any dress code . Playing poker in shorts , baseball cap and chewing gum loses some of the decadence . James Bond would be in a tux , even if it may be white . Large Carp in the Colorado river . To the Colorado Belle , a hotel Casino built to look like a paddle steamer , for lobster and steak (I don't surf and turf ! ~Ed) , two glasses of Californian wine for $12 , whilst the gambling goes on all around you , 24 hours per day 365 days per year . Ended up at the Tarzan bar in The Golden Nugget . Live band , beers $2 . You can live very cheaply here , if you don't gamble . Chat to lots of Yanks . They are amusing : if one didn't know better you could be forgiven for thinking they are all thick in the head . It's the way they ask questions back at you on something you have just told them , bloody irritating if you get a bad one . Talked to two nannies from Ohio and a pack of girls who all worked for a retail chain which I did not have the guts to admit that I did not know (not wanting to do a Digby to Terence) . What training and professionalism . I said the Americans are so good at service banter that you even believe they mean it . They had great delight in informing me that sometimes they don't . Joined some Harley bikers for a beer , told them I had a Honda and they said "so long as you ride" . Played Blackjack with Deverre from Ohio , just to lose $20 , which was another Birthday treat . From there on in the evening (11.30pm by now) got even better . I remember being asked to get out of the Harrahs Casino Hotel outdoor hot tub at about 4am and something to do with a Mexican and bubble bath ! If this is a taste of life in my thirties I have no complaints . What a beginning . I surprised myself by enjoying my Birthday , against all odds . Quotes ; good luck with your work when you get home , it sucks .(Cat 27/4/94) James is in the sky chair , he's toast Look! a Hummer (Cassandra pointing out a Humming Bird in Fiji) Get your daggie butt out the way you daggie bitch .(Linda) Cut your job and get a hair (car sticker in San Francisco) Hey Edge , if you were playing roulette I hope you wore a raincoat . (Fammee 27/4/94) Come back and see us soon (shop assistant , Bel Air) 27/4/94 Richard Nixon burried today .11.30am and four messages for me on the phone service . Returned calls from Martin and Fammee . Reliable people both . I returned Garlands call , but only got his ansaphone . I check out late , 1pm at no extra charge (just as well , the phone bill was twice the room charge) . On the road by 1.30 feeling decidedly rough . Drive into Arizona's Lake Mead park , to Needles and then joined the Old National Trail Highway or Route 66 as is its more famous name . Big trouble finding gas . Buy some off a tyre depot at twice $ . This place is like a ghost town . Apparantly route 66 , from Chicago to LA , was the first tarmac road (1920's) since then the railroad and Interstate 10 have by~passed the road and it's settlements . Post boxes at the side of the road with the majority of wooden shacks 50metres off the road with chain link fencing around them . What they are keeping in or out I don't want to know . Getting my Kicks on Route 66 I got ripped for gas twice and a banana cost me $1 ! Not the road to break diown on . I expected Phil Silvers to come along and say "what's with the kiddie bike , you some kind of nut ? Arrived at Twentynine Palms at 4.30 . No sign of Robert Plant , but everyone knows who he is and a Joshua Tree warden gave me the low down on the lyric . 29 Palms is an oasis which is an old fave with the hippie community . Robert used to meat (sic) his girlfriend at the 29 Palms Inn . She is / was a songwriter / singer living in LA . I checked into the Harmony Motel where U2 stayed five years ago when they were doing shooting for The Joshua Tree album . Man they cann't of had much money in those days . It's ; clean , run down , and $19 per night . I have a night in , computing and writing PC's to Camilla and birthday Twentynine Palms card to Tom (I bet the tight git didn't send you one ~Ed).Ending this file now as it is so damn big . God only knows what I have put , but I do not want to break the rule and read over it because I would only change bits . Let the mood prevail . The next chapter will be filed under FINAL . So here goes END.
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