Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Route 66 - Travelling The Mother Road with Babies and On a Budget - Las Vegas – Los Angele

Hey, welcome back for the final leg of our Route 66 adventures - in which we head for the hills... of Hollywood!

We hit the road from Vegas to Barstow (miles & miles of road)

After making the most of our last day in Vegas we left just after a gorgeous buffet lunch in the MGM Grand to get to San Bernardino, California. It was over a 3 hour drive bringing us through Barstow which had a few lovely museums but unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop. 

We also passed by the famous Joshua Tree National Park. I really wanted to get to another of my favourite motels in Rialto, A Wigwam motel where all of the rooms are concrete wigwams!

Wigwam Motel, Rialto California

We paid $65/ approx €50 for a large Wigwam that had two queen size beds. They also have their own little bathroom complete with a shower. There is an outdoor swimming pool & a BBQ pit you can use. They even have free wifi - WIGWAM WIFI FTW!

Our Tee Pee!

We had dinner just across the road in a Chinese buffet where we paid $6.50/ approx €5 for a huge dinner each, afterwards we rolled home! As we drove further towards L.A. the following morning we saw lots of signs for an air show in Miramar, the Air Force Base made famous by the movie Topgun. So we headed for San Diego for our breaths to be taken away...

Miramar, San Diego, California - It's a Boy!

My hubby was delighted with himself to be able to get up close to all of the Navy, Air Force & Marines' flying machines. Me on the other hand had a little drool at all of the awesome men in uniform! Entrance is free but if you want a seat it can cost anything up to $250pp into the VIP areas. 

We were so lucky a high ranking officer (hubba hubba) saw us with twin babies & ushered us through the barriers out of the sun & into the Officers' Marquee, he even got us a drink! Now that’s service.

California Dreamin’ - (Not a brown leaf in sight!)

We drove the coast road back towards Los Angeles & stopped at one of the many glorious beaches to dip our toes. We made straight for Santa Monica Pier which is the last stop on Route 66. 

We stayed at Hotel California just a 10 minute walk from the pier and the beds even had polished surf beds as headboards. We paid $85/€63 B&B, The rooms were nice but very much on the small side it’s more of a motel than a hotel.

Mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice at The Hotel California!

We went to find a gas station to refill the car and found on right at the end of Rodeo drive. It was so seedy and just not a nice place to be after dark. I made sure to lock the car doors especially when we stopped. We had booked onto a tour bus (expensive at $50/€37 each) for the following morning & our last full day in California as we wanted to take in all the sights.

Now at this stage I’ll point out that we had already been in L.A. on two different occasions and didn't like it that much so we were giving it another shot.

We had a fabulous dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co on Santa Monica Pier.

We checked out & actually got to leave Hotel California! We drove to our next hotel. Sheraton Gateway Hotel near LAX. ($150/€111 B&B) The hotel was ok, nothing great you’d probably get a much better room in a different hotel for that price. 

We unpacked the car & I had hubby drive it back to the airport drop off point so we could get the airport shuttle bus the next day. Our Sightseeing tour bus collected us from our hotel even though the depot was only around the corner.

Hollywood sign in them there hills!

We were advised never to walk anywhere in L.A. Advice we gladly stuck to as on previous visits we saw a few people carrying guns in their belts. You usually hear people advising tourists to beware after dark in such & such a city & I have to say we had no problems in many other US cities like Boston, New York, Chicago & Washington D.C. L.A. on the other hand is a different kettle of fish altogether. 

It was a city that wasn't for us, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when we saw a girl dressed as Tinkerbell openly buy & take drugs (quite possibly angel dust) on the walk of fame. Childhood. Ruined. 

Mann’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd.

Our tour bus stopped off at the Hollywood walk of fame & saw the famous Hollywood sign up in the hills. There are tons of people dressed as different characters all hoping you’ll want your picture taken with them for a few dollars. The tour also took us to Venice beach and then onto an indoor craft & artisan food market before dropping us back to our hotel.

Hollywood Blvd

I thought Los Angeles/ Hollywood  was just overrated. If you are going I’d recommend seeing Santa Monica Blvd & pier then heading to Universal Studios for the day. You can get a day pass for roughly the same price as the sightseeing tour bus of Hollywood.

One of the many brilliant displays in Universal Studios.

We checked in for our flight the following day & brought home 9 bags! We shopped our asses off at the outlet malls. We also got to bring home the travel cot & cheap strollers that we were planning on leaving behind as the lady on check in just gave us extra tags for them.

There you have it, a quick overview of both of our trips along Route 66. It is seriously a fantastic holiday unrivalled by any other we have taken. I’d still be here next year telling you about everything if I could detail every stop we made & show you all of the pictures. All I can say is, we will definitely be going again!

Tell us, have you hit the road to drive Route 66 - think you might? 

Pop a comment below or come chat on the Twitter machine - @StoneTravel4

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