Monday, April 20, 2015

Day 9-California LOVE

I woke up at 7:00am, called the mule tour reservation and learned they do two tours one at 8am and one in the afternoon. The morning had one cancellation but there was two of us, and even still we wouldn't have made it to the park for the 8am. The afternoon had no availability, guess I will be taking a trip back to the Grand Canyon after all someday! I laid in my tent for awhile and then decided to get up and pack my tent. Rosie had my key from the night before in her tent, so by the time I was done packing and used the restroom she was up with the car unlocked. We packed everything up, drove to the shower house and had a well appreciated shower. After, we got ready to head to California. You will see my map illustration below to my Mom explaining how we are going to Vegas after we visit Justin in LA and not before since it is right on our route to Utah. Rosie drove most of the way so I could eat my oatmeal breakfast, nap after waking up at 7am, and upload photos. Driving from Arizona to California is very, very boring. Just desert terrain and not much of anything to see making a short nap very plausible. Though one thing that was good, the 50-60 degree days we've been having were turned into 92 degrees in the desert. Before entering into California, there was no big welcome sign or anything. It was as though we were entering Mexico, there was a customs checkpoint where they asked if we were bringing any fruits, vegetables, or animals in. Thankfully we ate the last of the clementines so no, no, and no. We were waved through. The plan was to stay at a KOA tonight since Justin wasn't expecting us until Monday night. The KOA was about 45 minutes from Justin, which wasn't bad. Our number one priority was finding lunch, and not just anything to eat, In N Out Burger of course. I have heard of this legendary burger joint over the years from many friends, the secret menu that they withhold and its nostalgia to California. Figures when you are looking for something it is no where to be found. We searched and searched and when we passed one we didn't see off of the highway, we debated getting off the next exit and turning around. We decided there most defiantly will be more along the way. It was around 2:30 before we finally stopped to get lunch. I have heard getting the burger animal style so that is what I ordered. Two parties, extra cheese, pickles, special sauce, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and an order of fries. The anticipation was killing me, their menu literally consists of only a handful of things. I wish I knew the whole hidden menu other than "animal style." Needless to say, the burger was bangin', the sauce was similar to Big Mac sauce and I ate every last fry. I have to be honest though, I like Five Guys better. But it was a great experience, I'd eat there again, and very good. Palm trees were in sight, blue skies, and 80 degrees welcomed us to California; oh, and the horrible drivers that reminded me of being back in fast paced Connecticut. We got off of the highway, drove around some side streets until we reached a very picturesque KOA park. It reminded me of being in Florida where my grandparents live. We went into the office, were told that a basic site without water and electricity would be the price we've been paying for water and electric and that we couldn't park our car right at the campsite. This drew up a few red flags from what we've been used to at prior KOA's along the way. I checked a few other places, but when I hit a dead end I called Justin. I explained what was going on, and if there would be any way we could come tonight. I first answered asking if he was at work, at 4:30 on a Sunday, shows how much I know what day it is. He said he doesn't see it being a problem that Kevin and Garvey already know we will be coming to stay. I thanked him immensely and told him I'd buy each of them a 6 pack of beer for our gratitude. We drove 55 minutes give or take with moderate traffic to Justin's apartment. When we arrived, we parked on the side street and Justin met us outside. Felt so good to be on the other side of the country! Justin, Kevin, and Garvey have a really nice three bedroom, three bath apartment with a little balcony off Justin's room. They just moved in a few weeks ago, so they don't have their living room set up yet, but that is probably better for us for sleeping arrangements. Justin and his girlfriend Echelle, were in his room looking for flights and hotels for Echelle who would be visiting Minnesota for a pastry position at a bakery next week. Justin blew up an air mattress for us in the livings room and then we hung out for awhile just talking in the living room. After awhile, we decided to go to Wurstkuche a German beer and sausage place. We had about a 15 minute drive in Justin's car and inside you ordered, and then sat down and waited for your food. I got kielbasa with sweet peppers and cartelized onions and a beer. The atmosphere was very cozy inside, and the service was fast, not to mention how amazing my kielbasa was! I wasn't even hungry after our late lunch, but had no problem eating this delicious meal. Great first meal in Los Angeles, approved for sure. After dinner we headed back to the apartment, sat, and realized we didn't have any drinks. Here in LA, they sell alcohol all of the time even in grocery stores. We took a walk a few blocks away to the store and got 4 six packs for $30.00, cheaper than one night at the campground! Back at the apartment, we put our camp chairs out on the balcony and talked about our lives, future plans, and reminisced with the past. It was a chill night, and greatly appreciated. Justin had to work in the morning so we called it a night around 11:30. It was nice to not worry about camping or being cold, for once we were indoors, on an air mattress in downtown LA. Life is good, big thanks again to Justin, and boys for taking us in early!

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