Another new morning on our trip began, and its fair to say we hadn’t really started to feel like we were on holiday or been able to properly relax. If you have someone you love, you understand that if they are not happy or well (even if it isn’t life threatening), it affects you. It is almost like a similar feeling when you have a cold, it is hard to get too excited about anything other than an antibiotic until you are better.
So this morning we woke, and queued along with all my optician buddies for Starbucks coffee and cookies, and then checked out of the hotel and made our way to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The first thing to say about the hospital is that parking was really quite cheap. In Ireland, you can expect to be poor and unwell after paying for parking!!
We had no appointment booked; i was unable to get anyone. But i had left a message to say i would be in on friday, and to be honest, i had no intention of leaving until we got seen to. I was going to sit there like a sulking child until they called me.
5 hours later and 3000 dollars lighter we hopped into our car knowing now that we were finished with doctors appointments, hospital visits and scouring medical websites until we returned home to Ireland. This was a great relief. Harry now had a boot on which we could remove in time, when he was on the beach. Have you ever lost something, only to find it an hour later somewhere silly, well thats how we felt, the relief and happiness at being reunited with that lost item, is really strong, even though it just puts you back in the point you were in before you lost the item! We were now experiencing that feeling.
By this stage it was now evening, and luckily i had planned a fairly handy drive as far as Thousand Oaks to stay in the Hampton Inn and Suites Thousand Oaks. I have to say that we stayed at two Hampton Inns and while they are smaller hotels, they actually have a more intimate and relaxed feel, but are still well appointed, the rooms aren’t maybe as formal as an actual Hilton Hotel, but they are still really comfortable. The staff are friendly and approachable too or at least the ones we dealt with were.
We arrived in Thousand Oaks in the dark so couldn’t see even one, Oak tree that is. We headed over to McDonalds for an easy dinner, and then flopped into bed, tired after a long day of driving, mentally tired from our hospital experience.
Next Morning, we woke early (we had a lot planned), and made our way to Thousand Oaks Shopping Mall. With the best of intentions we were going to hit the shops early for about 3 hours and leave with both fists full of shopping about 12pm. It didn’t go entirely to plan and we ended up wandering around the shops like zombies, barely interested in the contents of the shops. We stopped for a cuppa, and then i suppose the holiday really started.
It was time for the Pacific Coast Highway. But before you get on to that most famous of Highways, we had to get there and i can’t recommend more Westlake Boulevard (i think thats the road we took!). Thousand Oaks is up on a height so the drive down to the coast is fairly spectacular. Or at least it was for us after our experiences so far. Try it and let me know if you agree.
We could feel the holiday feeling taking us over now, my smile was becoming more ever-present, and we were rewarded again with our planned stop of Point Dume State Park. It is a beautiful park with a stunning beach, the California Hills drifting off into the distance northwards. On the south side is another beach with the fancy houses of Malibu perched on the cliffs off into the distance southwards towards Los Angeles. Between the two beaches is a headland with a lovely coastal walk and a great test for my endurance, carrying Harry along. Cactus grow on this path, so we were intrigued by them. While we sat at the top of the path overlooking the seal lions on the rock platform below, suddenly a group of old 1940’s style planes flew by the headland, some lower than the actual headland. One even did a barrel roll below us. I said to Gina, “Yep, now we are on holiday”. We were very happy in that moment.
On our return to the car, Harry wanted to play in the sand with his cars, as is his want. Sand is the enemy of his boot we were told, warned, pointed at!! But seeing his face, melted our fears, so we put about 3 plastic bags on his foot, and let him get stuck in. He was happy, and we just sat there and took in the beauty of the place. It was perfect.
Oh, and he did get sand in his boot… Sorry Children’s Hospital LA! We failed less than 24 hours after putting the boot on!
Driving through Santa Barbara was mental, it almost feels like a commuter town for LA, with the traffic clearing after we passed the city. We did finally arrive in a very foggy Pismo Beach in the dark. We had a lovely room overlooking the ocean booked in the Inn at the Cove, but by the time we arrived, it was only playing a soundtrack. We could hear it but not see it, very tantalising.
I drove down to Pismo Beach, and got us some pizza for our dinner, and we ate in our room, and fell sound asleep. The holiday had begun.