California Day 7 – Palm Springs to San Jose

I had originally planned to go for the run I’d missed the day before, however my foot was still a little sore so reluctantly decided to not go out. Instead, I got up at 07:00 and headed over the road to Rick’s Desert Grill (same name as the place I had an evening meal at, but not the same place) for breakfast. As part of the motel booking we’d got a voucher to get egg with hash browns, toast, and a small drink. During breakfast we could see the occasional hummingbird flit onto and passed the flowers outside the window.

Once breakfast was done we got the car loaded back up and was on the road by 08:20 for the start of what would be a very long drive. We had however decided that we’d take a short detour to Coachella Valley Preserve. The reason for this is that this park sits on the San Andreas faultline and has an example of hot springs that have formed due to the fault.

As we were short on time we went along the McCallum Trail – one which was supposed to be about 2.4 miles. This started amongst the palm trees but soon left the boardwalk and onto a dusty trail of sand. Eventually the almost barren landscape surrendered to a small oasis known as McCallum Pond where some volunteers were working on removing the invasive crayfish species from the pond so that one day they can reintroduce native species of fish.

One of these volunteers then led us around the path to another pond which was much clearer and told us that when the light is right you can see bubbles seep through the water from the porous ground beneath. This is a side effect of the sort of terrain that the San Andreas fault has produced.

The route back from this included a deliberate diversion up a sand dune to get a better view of the area, but also included an unintended diversion to where some private residences were located. I’d been trailing behind due to stopping for photographs, and I thought we were heading in the wrong direction, but wasn’t heard when I commented on this. By the time we got to a dead end it was evident that we should indeed have taken the other path but I chose not to comment.

By the time we left the car park it was 09:50 and from then on we were continuously getting closer to San Jose. As the miles ticked by the landscape changed many times from desert palms, to barren landscapes, and then back to a cityscape as we skimmed the outskirts of Los Angeles towards the Pasadena area. Eventually at 13:40 we made a stop near Bakersfield to stretch our legs and get some food. The only place other than Subway was “Jack in the Box” so we tried that.

I went for a turkey, cheese and bacon grilled sandwich which was incredibly greasy, but didn’t taste too bad. Once we’d eaten I then took over the driving for the rest of the day until we reached the hotel at 18:00. This drive was long and monotonous with me driving in a straight line at constant speed, except for during traffic and roadworks, for way over 100 miles. As the sun set the last hour of the drive became more difficult as it was a constant battle to avoid the sun glaring straight in my eyes and obscuring the now winding road in front.

Once we’d checked into the hotel we got the car unloaded and then headed out to get it dropped off. As the pick-up location was now closed we’d opted to have the drop-off point at the airport. Personally I wanted us to look for a fuel station before heading there but instead we drove to the airport only to find there wasn’t one there (as I’d suspected).

This meant to get through we had to pay $2 for the carpark, and then made another attempt at looking for fuel there before leaving the airport and finding one around the corner. Unlike other stations where they hold your card, they instead pre-charged my card for $75 and would refund anything I didn’t use. This meant the car was now ready and so we headed back to the airport.

The Avis drop-off point didn’t really make much sense. When we got there there were no signs indicating where we were supposed to drop off the car so we parked it in a bay. When we spoke to the assistant she then behaved like we were stupid and that it should be obvious where it needs dropping off. It wasn’t though – we had to park it on row G as opposed to row D.

The taxi back to the Arena hotel wasn’t too bad at only 20 USD (slightly less than at the start of the trip), and from there we wandered out into the night looking for somewhere to eat. At first it seemed like we weren’t going to find anywhere, but eventually we came across an Italian place called Pasta Pomodoro. I went for the lasagna which was actually very good, and even decided to try their New York Style Cheesecake for dessert.

By the time we were back at the hotel it was 21:00 and didn’t really have time to run – I finished packing for the flight the next day and after an hour tried to get some sleep.

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