The Air New Zealand flight from Honolulu took about five hours. We passed through the airport quickly and took a shuttle bus as recommended by the hostel to Hollywood. We waited ages for the shuttle to arrive (and watched tons of others pass), but we eventually got going with a group of young backpackers. Five minutes into the journey a car shot out in front of us, causing the van to swerve violently and blow a tyre! The driver did well to avoid a crash, but we were stranded in a fairly dodgy area Inglewood for a while until another van appeared. The driver told us "not to stray from the main road" and on the radio he classed the situation as "urgent"! It didnt seem too bad on the main road, but a glimpse down the side streets was enough to let me know that I would be wise to take his advice. Another van turned up and we made it to the Student Inn, on Hollywood Boulevard without any more incidents.
The hostel is pretty good, and cost us US$30 for a double. The owner is a Greek guy and the hostel is run by a chirpy Mancunian lad and two Irish girls. The atmosphere was really good. There were lots of people in the hostel for a long-stay, most of them British or Irish.
7th June 1996
We spent most of the day walking. Funny thing was, most people had advised us that L.A. was no place for walking, but we enjoyed it. In fact the pavements were pretty empty! The smog was a bit bad, but not as bad as I expected. We walked along Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Avenue. Lots of cars, lots of weirdos hanging around.
At one part of the walk I crossed halfway across the road and waited in the middle for the other lane to clear. To my amazement the cars coming the other way slammed their brakes on, flashed their lights and shouted abuse at me! I couldnt understand how what I did could cause such a fracas. Only later was I told that what I did classed me as a nutter or maniac, and the drivers would have thought I was either mad, trying to kill myself, or trying to kill them! Strange how something "normal" in most countries is classed as "out of bounds" in others!
Later on we had a fairly big night out with some of our fellow hostel residents. Mostly English and all good fun. We visited a great pub called "The Cat and Fiddle" and ended up back at the hostel chatting and drinking. I didnt get to bed until 6:00 a.m. Everyone had to show I.D to get in the bar, such as a passport even those who were very obviously over 21.
8th June 1996
I felt a little fragile in the morning following last nights late boozy session. We decided to do a "tour of the stars homes" in a van. The tour was two hours long and it was good fun and excellent value. I wasnt sure if the driver/guide was telling the truth or not, but it was good to nose around the posh bits of Beverly Hills anyway! US$24 well spent. For all we knew he could have been saying, "Heres Barbara Streisand's Home", and it could have been someone elses!
We had a rest in the afternoon and then got stuck into a big game of "Risk" with some lads at the hostel. This went on until late. Some Canadians arrived and bought a load of beer which was nice. They were in L.A. for a Pilipino stick-fighting contest. I started to investigate car options looked around quite a bit and made some calls. Dibs did some touristy stuff with some other girls.
9th June 1996
Caught the bus down to Venice Beach and walked along to Santa Monica. It was very busy, being a Sunday. All kinds of people walking, roller-blading, etc. Just as I imagined it, quite trendy with a lot happening, but a bit bleak. The smog down on the beach was thick! We walked all the way along to Santa Monica, which was nice, and had lunch.
The buses in L.A. are more convenient than I had expected. Everyone I had met had tried to put us off L.A., but we were both enjoying it. Vibrant and plenty to do, and it felt a lot safer than I thought.
In the evening we made use of some complimentary tickets (from a hostel resident) and went to the "Laugh Factory", a comedy club along Sunset Boulevard. No one really famous was showing, but it was a good evening out with some funny people on the stage (and some not so funny ones). The girls got a cab back and I walked with another bloke from the hostel. The streets were dead, except for a couple of prostitutes, the odd drunk and a car full of "Latino" types who stopped and glared at us, whilst murmuring in Spanish. A bit odd. Apart from this I felt pretty safe, probably helped by the beers Id drunk. Another long day in L.A.
10th June 1996
Made an early start and we took the bus to Universal Studios. We had wanted to go to a "theme" park in the U.S. and decided that Universal seemed the best bet. It was US$35 each to enter, which was pretty good value considering the amount of stuff there. The "Back to the Future" ride was excellent! We went with a couple of English girls and a lad from New Zealand and spent most of the day there. On return to Hollywood we saw some "stars" arrive to the premier of the new Jim Carey film "Cable Guy". The whole street was packed, but I managed to get a front spot with no problems. Strangely, Jim Carey walked out of his limousine, pretty much straight up to me and said Hello! Of all the screaming fans Im not sure why he walked up to me. I just took a couple of photos and said something like "Alright mate"!
11th June 1996
As we were wandering the street yesterday a man approached us and gave us tickets to view a game show (i.e. be the live studio audience). He promised us free pizza, so we accepted! The show was called "Debt" basically a quiz show, and the winner had his/her debt cleared. People got up and told us why they were in debt! The host (called "Wink") was good and the audience co-ordinator was a laugh. He picked on us a little being British, but we gave as good as we got. He was a good comedian and juggler. He actually got Liz (and English girl from the hostel) to get on stage and do the YMCA! The rest of the audience consisted of U.S. Army lads, who were doing this as part of their duty, and they hated it as theyd been doing it for days!
We didnt get the free pizza as promised, but it was still a good laugh.
In the afternoon Dibs went to a premier for Eraser, the new Arnold Schwarzenegger file. She took loads of photos and saw lots of stars and got right into the Hollywood "thing".
In the evening we had a big party at the hostel. Lots of beer and chat and another very late night.
12th June 1996
I must get out of L.A. this place is killing me!
I spent the day investigating our car purchase options. Its all getting a bit clearer. The big problem in California is the high-level of testing that is involved for the vehicle and the huge insurance costs. We looked at some vehicles and made more calls, but at the end of they day I think we may be better off investigating things in Nevada, where I suspect things might be easier. I looked at a battered old car that two Italian youths were selling, but it was knackered.
Dibs went riding in the morning with Liz up in the Hollywood Hills. She came back saying that it was excellent, and the two girls had used their charms to get a very good deal. I drove up there with the Greek hostel owner and we chatted business for a while. Nice bloke.
In the evening we stayed in and I played more Risk. I was a long hard game, but I won.
I made some calls in the morning and managed to get a "driveaway" to Las Vegas (after much investigation and many phone cards). We checked out the hostel after we said our goodbyes and took a cab downtown to pick the car up. The taxi driver, a big black guy, spent five minutes asking me about "Eastenders". He watches it on some cable channel and loved it. Weird! He asked me "So Did Sharon sell the Queen Vic or did she leave it"?!!
We picked up a brand new pick-up van for delivery to Vegas. It was very easy to drive and although the traffic in L.A. was mental, and we got lost a little, we soon got on our way through the sprawling suburbs.
We drove through the Mojave Desert, which was awesome. Huge and very arid, in fact we drove pretty near to Death Valley (well a few 100 km!). We crossed the State line late in the afternoon and were soon driving down the "strip" of Las Vegas. Neon lights and huge hotels, right smack in the middle of the desert. Quite fantastic.
We phoned around for room deals and got booked into the Hilton (yes the Hilton) at US$49 per night. Its quite easy to get good deals in Las Vegas, especially mid-week, as the hotels just want to get you there and then hope you spend all your time in the casino.
The room was vast and very posh. The Hotel is massive with all the facilities you could imagine.
Las Vegas is just as I had imagined it, but bigger and busier. Gambling everywhere! After cruising along the strip a few times, we parked up and walked around some of the casinos. We probably walked half of the strip, which took ages. There are some massive hotel/casinos such as "Treasure Island", "Circus Circus" and of course "Ceasers Palace". We took advantage of the Circus-Circus "all you can eat" buffet for $4.99. We ate like pigs. Good food, but looking around I realised how dangerous it could be - lots of chubby people around.
We returned to our room for rest and TV. It was nice to be away from L.A. even though wed had a great time there. I can see why so many people end up staying there longer than expected.
14th June 1996
We dropped the car off at the delivery address, with no problems. The office was close to the hotel, and the bloke there was very friendly. After that we had a nightmare getting to the "Auto Driveaway" office for our refunded deposit. Mistake number one was the bloke at the delivery office (who like I said was really friendly) offered us a lift, but we declined. We soon realised we should have took his offer. The office where we got our money back was in North Las Vegas, miles away. Public transport was very bad, so we had to flag a cab. The one-way fare was US$27! We eventually found the office and they gave us a cheque for our US$300. We cashed it at a nearby bank, which took a while; I even had to give a full set of fingerprints to get the cash! Security mad or what!? We tried to get a bus back but waited at the stop for more than an hour. The road was busy and in our desperation we even tried to thumb a lift but no one stopped. I wondered if people actually hitched lifts in America, then I remembered the film "The Hitcher", and we stopped hitching!
Eventually a bus turned up, which took us downtown and we changed onto another bus to the strip.
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in our beautiful air-conditioned room. It got really hot in the day well over 100 degrees. We ate at "Circus Circus" again so much food! And then "hit" the casinos wot play the slots. We picked up plenty of free drinks (when your playing the booze is free!), and other freebies in various places. We played the slots in the "Riviera". We changed $10 into 25c coins and did OK. We were up to $150 at one stage but eventually bailed out with $63! Not bad although Dibs is getting hooked!
15th June 1996
Dibs phoned some car dealers and we arranged see someone in the evening who had some "good cheap automobiles". We spent last nights winnings on the slots (our luck ran out) and had a brief gambling lesson in the casino.
In the evening the local car dealer came and saw us and showed us a suitable car. An 1876 Chevrolet Mote Carlo. More like a boat than a car! Huge, but it seemed OK and although it had a few problems, the dealer (Doug) assured us he would sort them out. He seemed really nice and genuine, unlike most second hand car dealers Id dealt with before! We had a drive around and chatted and he arranged to pick us up in the morning to go to his yard and talk business. He told us a while ago that he sold a car to two young Aussies doing a similar trip.
16th June 1996
Doug picked us up and we went to his yard. Unfortunately the Chevy Monte Carlo had a gearbox problems and he didnt want to sell us it! What a nice bloke. Instead he showed us a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Not as sporty but probably a bit more practical, and it was in reasonably good nick (with air-con!). He wanted $1000 for it and said hed get it in good condition for or trip. Cant argue with that. Doug even loaned us a car to use while he was fixing the Oldsmobile, so getting around Las Vegas was easy and convenient.
I enquired about insurance and eventually found someone who would insure me. However, they wanted me to get a Nevada driving licence within 30 days.
17th June 1996
The car was coming along nicely and I got my head around the "paperwork" side of things. I needed a smog certificate (which Doug would supply), insurance and registration, plus I needed to take a driving test and get my licence! It was going to be a busy day or two.
In the afternoon we checked out of the Hilton and moved to the Hacienda. Right at the end of the strip was quite nice and was only $25 per night. The lunch buffet for $3.99 was excellent. We also developed some films and did a few more casinos! I put $1 in a machine and it paid out $80 first go! What a winner but I reckoned we were pretty even.
18th June 1996.
What a day !!! I went to the DMV to apply for a Nevada driving licence. The application was easy and started off OK. I passed the eye test with no problems but failed the written test by one point! I suppose the fact that I tried it without even reading the Highway Code didnt help! I got a copy of it and they told me to go back the next day to re-take the written test. It was worth a crack while I was there!
The rest of the day was spent driving all over the place sorting stuff out (Las Vegas is pretty big). I got Insurance from an agent for around $100 per month the best I could get. When I said I was British she though I was British Colombian, The daft cow didnt know what British meant! It was fun showing here my paper "picture-less" UK driving licence. Many phonecalls later and a long wait I managed to get the insurance agreed. I also got some licence plates (mine to keep) and registration for the car. ($61). I checked in with Doug at the yard and the car was almost sorted. He assured me it would all be done by midday tomorrow, so if I pass the written test (which I will) I can try to do the driving test and get on with things!
What a game, but at least it will all be sorted out pretty soon, and its all a good experience. I know the main roads of Las Vegas like the back of my hand!
In the evening we visited a few casinos (and enjoyed some complimentary drinks) and then ate in the "Cactus Diner". We had a really nice prime-rib dinner for $5 each. Such good value here. A good place to sort all this stuff out with it being so comfortable and cheap.
We spent a bit more time on the slots and had a good tour of the casinos and took some nice night-time long-exposure pictures.
I felt a bit nervous in the evening about the prospect of taking a driving test!
19th June 1996
Sorted !! I made an early visit to the DMV and re-did the written test. I got 98%! The examiner said, "Gee you almost aced it"!) I collected the car from Doug and went back to the DMV to find out about the next stage the driving test. They initially said something like "Come back in four weeks for your appointment", but after a bit of smooth talking I sat and waited for a free slot, and got to do the test pretty quickly. I probably only waited twenty minutes.
The woman examiner was a real miserable old biddy who showed no emotion. The test was a piece of cake, I couldnt believe how easy it was, but then we are in America. No roundabouts or winding roads. I literally drove around the block, parallel parked and that was it! The woman didnt say anything to me, just walked back into the DMV, but when I got back I found out I passed! I was so happy. I waited a while for them to finish all the documentation, pay the fee, get a photo and then left with my driving licence valid until 25/3/2000. A nice little keepsake!
We spent the afternoon buying a few bits and bobs including a crook-lock for the car, then returned to the garage to see Doug (Nellis Motors highly recommended as a good car supplier and a great guy) and his friendly crew. We bought them all doughnuts which seemed like the obvious thing to do! We chatted for a while and left, feeling quite emotional. They had been so helpful. We returned to the Hacienda feeling great.
In the evening we had a final fling in Vegas, gambling at Ceasars Palace (all be it on a small scale) and got the photos we wanted. We walked the entire strip and then I decided to take on the "Great Ham Steak meal" at the Hacienda which beat me! More free casino drinks then off to bed feeling on top of the world!
20th June 1996 Williams, Arizona.
Didnt sleep too well due too much Ham Steak and a little bit of "anticipation" (or nerves) about hitting the road. We eventually got away just after 10:00 a.m. after breakfast at the hotel, and headed to Hoover Dam.
The Dam is very impressive. Huge is the best word to describe it. The temperatures were also huge, and it was topping 110 by midday. The car air-conditioning was a blessing and I had visions of our last super-hot travels in Australia. We walked around the canyon and inside the dam, crossed the bridge for a free drink (on the Arizona/Nevada border) and then moved on. We diverted off the main highway onto Route 66 for quite a while. It was an interesting drive, quite quiet, and we passed through some interesting little towns lots of motels and neon signs along the roadside. It was easy to imagine these little places as being full to the brim in the past when route 66 was the main route in the region.
We stopped for the day at Williams, near to the Grand Canyon. Its a nice little village, and due to our late start, long drive and hot day, we decided we needed to check into a motel. We heard that the Canyon Village next to the canyon was very expensive, so it was probably a good idea. Anyway, we checked into a motel, blowing our daily budget! I think we were a bit lazy and had been used to luxury over the last few weeks. We knew that wed have to ease ourselves back into camping, or else wed be heading home early.
The car went really well on our first day and we got about 18 miles to the gallon not bad for a 5.7 litre V8 engine! The air-con worked really well thankfully.
It was hard to imagine that Williams was actually at an altitude of 6000 feet, just a small town with hills around it, but I suppose we had been climbing up slightly all day. The motel room was nice, and the best value we could get in town. Retired early feeling quite spent.
We were up and out at 7:00 a.m., stocked up on supplies and headed to the Grand Canyon. We paid $10 entry to the National Park. What an awesome site. Just as we were driving through forest thinking, "where is it" it appeared literally a vast crack in the ground! It took our breath away and is difficult to describe just how amazing it is. Photographs dont so it justice, and as the Americans would say "Its Awesome".
We walked around the rim (on the south side), took some photographs and soaked up the views, before setting up camp at the "Desert View" campsite, one of the many official sites in the park. The heat wasnt too bad, although it was windy and dusty.
In the evening after a camp feed, we returned to a viewpoint to take sunset photos and take in some more views. Got back to camp and slept very well.
Away early again at around 7:30 a.m. and we drove up to Monument Valley, through Navajo country. Very impressive, it looked like a background in one of those old cowboy films. I half expected to see cowboys and Indians staging a battle somewhere. Monument Valley was a great place to spend a few hours, so we walked around and took some photos. We drove on through more canyons and desert high-country until we reached the small town of Moab at around 4:30 pm. We pitched up at a nice campsite with good facilities, but it was plagued by a busload of Germans on some sort of tour. Oh No! Hopefully they wouldnt be too noisy for too long!
We cooked up tuna and pasta for later and then drove to the nearby Arches National Park. We parked up and walked around for most of the evening. Its quite a big park with some impressive features including the famous sandstone arches. We walked about one hour to the most famous "delicate arch" before returning to our car in the dark. Quite a few other people were in the park.
We returned to camp to eat and hit the sack feeling tired.
Yet another early start and we drove onto Salt Lake City by lunchtime. The drive was through more high desert "western movie" type country. Dibs even managed to tune our car radio into some native American music, and it felt like maybe some Apaches would head us off at the pass! (The heat must have been getting to me!). The terrain eventually changed and became a bit lusher and we saw some snow capped mountains.
Salt Lake City looked fairly nice, but we decided to just have a stop for food and drive on. We visited "Taco Bell". The boy who served us was totally intrigued by our accent. "Totally cool" in his very own words. Quite.
Anyway, we ploughed on across northern Nevada, which is quite a barren and lowly populated region, and made it as far as the town of Elko. Its a small town with lots of motels but no campsites or none that we could find anyway. After nearly 500 miles of driving the last thing we wanted to do was mess about, so we booked into the cheapest motel we could find. $32 (plus tax of course), and very nice.
We stocked up on groceries and walked around the town before bed.
Another day of driving across Nevada. Not much other than mountains, scrubland and the odd small town, until we reached Reno a small version of Las Vegas. We drove on to South Lake Tahoe and arrived there around teatime. The last leg of the journey was high, over 7000 feet, and we could see snow falling on the mountains above us. Its a nice area, smack in the Rocky Mountains. A sort of mix between gambling, log cabins and ski resorts. It was a nice drive, and we felt the temperature drop quite a lot. Quite a contrast from the day before where it was 100, today is was down to near freezing by the time we arrived. We went to the basic campsite in town to find out it was $16.50 per night. What a rip off! We drove around a few cheap motels (loads of them around) and we eventually got a nice room for $20 per night. Much better value than the cold campsite. It started to rain in the evening and the electricity went off for a long time. We heard reports about forest fires out in the hills, so people were glad to see the rain. We bought a little BBQ for $7.50 and ate out.
Woke up and looked out to find everything covered by a few inches of snow, and it was still snowing quite heavily. It was a good job we stayed indoors, although Im sure we would have managed. When was the last time we saw it snowing?
We had originally decided to head to Yosemite, but the snow was very bad up there (even in June) and the road was closed, so we decided to cut our losses and head down towards the coast.
We drove over the Sierra Nevada range through heavy snow and then dropped down towards Sacramento. It soon warmed up in fact we ended up with the air-con on! We drove around the "hidden valley" area, which was quite pleasant and found a nice picnic spot where we parked up and fired up the BBQ. We ate steak, which was nice, and the BBQ worked well.
We drove past Sacramento and over the bay bridge into San Francisco, arriving at about 5:30 pm. We checked into the Hotel Aida, on Market Street, and at $43 per night it was cheap. The bathrooms were shared, but were very clean, and the rooms werent too bad.
All of the more popular hostels were booked out. I parked the car at a nearby car-lot, which costs $7 per day, which apparently is cheap for San Francisco.
My first thoughts about the city were that there were lots of tramps around. More than Ive ever seen before.
In the evening we walked up Market Street into Chinatown, and we found that San Francisco, although full of character, was a little disappointing so far. We ate in Chinatown, and the food was excellent, and then walked back to the hotel. Although we were told the area was safe at night, it was really quiet and lots of dubious characters were wandering around the streets. As we approached the hotel, the last 2-3 minutes, it was quite scary. We were suddenly all alone except for some more dodgy looking characters and low-lifes. One black guy paid us some attention, kept asking things and following us, and other people spotted us and wandered towards us. It was pretty nasty. We just ignored them and kept the pace up. Back in the safety of the hotel, the owner told us wed be OK if we stuck to the main street, but the bordering "Tenderloin" district was extremely unsafe!
26th June 1996
Slept till late and after brunch had a full day of sightseeing. We walked up and down the steep streets of downtown San Francisco and found some interesting things to look at, although its a pretty dirty town. We went to Fishermans' Wharf, which is a big tourist trap, packed full of people. We booked onto a boat trip to Alcatraz for tomorrow - $12 each. We also saw the "crookedest" street, took in some good views, and had a long walk back, arriving before nightfall. It seemed to me that Americans have lots of attitude and its easy to stop and watch bust-ups and arguments in the street all the time. Quite entertaining. We saw a big fight in the afternoon all over a parking space!
Dibs decided to buy some new glasses as Id sat on her old ones and broke them, and they were good value. She paid $38 for an extremely thorough eye test and spent most of the afternoon walking around with dilated pupils! We got some films developed and had an early dinner. I half heartedly tried to find a pub which was showing England v Germany in the Euro 96 semi-finals, but I gave up. Good job we lost to them on penalties, again.
27th June 1996
It was a beautiful sunny day. Dibs got her glasses sorted out, so she could see properly again. Not bad for $90. We bought some music tapes - $11 each and then went on the Alcatraz trip. Although a lot of the prison was closed to visitors, it was still quite open, and the audio tour (where you pick up a personal tape player and make your way around via the commentary) was excellent. It was very interesting and worthwhile. Lots of info for previous inmates and stories about escapes, and attempted escapes. The views from the island were also brilliant, it must have made being a prisoner there even harder being able to see, hear and smell freedom while being locked up in a dingy cell. On return we lunched on Sourdough bread and clam chowder - yum yum - and watched a Hindi film being filmed on the wharf! The actor had to walk amongst the crowd and mime to a song how embarrassing! He did Ok, but I could tell he was getting a bit pissed off.
San Francisco was growing on me a bit, but I felt glad to be leaving. I suppose its a place for people with money. The area we were staying in was definitely dodgy, and all the blacks had a really bad attitude. Now I realise why there are so many racial problems in the U.S. cities too much attitude!
We got up reasonably early and drove around to Fishermans Wharf. We had coffee and changed a tape wed bought the other day. All done by 10:15 a.m. We then drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, which was spectacular and stopped at the vista point to take photographs. A wonderful clear, sunny day.
Rather than drive straight up highway 101, we took the coastal road, which turned out to be a very twisting route, but well worth the detour. Lots of beautiful little villages and towns and some impressive scenery. It was hard driving, and after a few hours we cut back onto the highway. The scenery changed to big forests with huge Redwood trees. We got to the campsite at around 4:30 pm. and paid a rip-off $16 + extra for showers. It seems that $16 is the going rate for N.P. campsites, which I feel is a little unfair for us (with one tent) compared to RVs and big caravans/family tents + hundreds of kids. The site was swarming with mosquitoes.
The car, although going OK, was showing its first few problems. The brakes were vibrating a little, and the power steering was making some noise.
In the evening we ate sausage, potatoes and peas whilst the mozzies drove us bonkers!
I managed to suss the car out in the morning power steering had no fluid, so I topped it up and it was OK. There must have been a leak. I decided the brakes could wait. I also luckily noticed a fuel line leak, which I repaired.
We drove through Redwoods forests full of huge trees. We visited the "drive-thru" tree but didnt risk driving through as it was a little bit narrow for our car, so we watched other do it! We also stopped and had some good walks in the woods, admiring the monster trees. I remembered reading about these huge trees when I was a youngster and had always wanted to pay them a visit. The forests were thick and the trails quiet, except for the odd Woodpecker making the telltale "knock knock knock" sounds.
Klamath is a nice little town and the campground, called "Camper Corral" was good. Only $12 which included a free pancake breakfast excellent! We set-up camp and Dibs did some laundry whilst I had a spot of fishing on the river. Its famous for salmon, but was very quiet at the time of year, although I did catch a small fish. The campsite was very quiet.
In the evening it was very clear but chilly, but it was nice and snug in our sleeping bags. Before bed we played pool in the campsite rec-room.
Our free pancake breakfast (only on Sundays!) was excellent all we could eat!
We headed north on Highway 5 into Oregon, which was very scenic tress, trees, trees, and the occasional snow capped peak. We stopped at "Wal Mart" and bought an icebox, drinks cooler and some other bits and pieces. Oregon is a tax-free state, so it was excellent value.
Silver Springs campsite is approximately 25 miles off the highway, in the woods (like everything else) and pretty good. It was reasonably busy, with long-weekenders from the cities of Portland and Salem, which arent too far away. The parks were packed with families bbbqing and doing Sunday afternoon type things.
We drove around Portland (which was nice) and eventually found a place to check our brakes out. Three hours later we were told that they couldnt find anything wrong! Yeah right. All they suggested was that I had a complete brake overhaul for $900! Yeah right (again). I decided I would get another opinion.
Whilst waiting for the car people we looked into a camp shop and decided wed upgrade our little tent to something a bit more comfortable. We saw an excellent one, but when we returned later is was gone SOLD the last one. We pissed around a lot and eventually after lots of pointless driving; we got some food and arrived at the Deep Lake campsite. $15 per night but very nice. After setting up camp I fished in the lake for a couple of hours but didnt catch a thing, although some fishermen using "power bait" a chemical fluorescent type putty (nice) did pretty well. I refused to use it. A man camping next to us told me all about it and invited me to join him tomorrow for fishing and coffee. He and his wife were very friendly, but we declined and said wed be moving on first thing tomorrow. We ate steak (thanks to the trusty barbecue) and salad.