We left LA on Friday, and headed down the coast to find somewhere to have a bit of a break and catch our breath for a few days, and especially to allow the girls time to swim and play. Unfortunately the whole of LA had the same idea, and although we had a few hours head start, the drive down on Interstate 5 was slow going at times. And then, of course, we couldn’t get into any of the motels. We specifically wanted to find one with a pool, but their weekend rates shot up from $50-70 to $100-150 – and most were full. Eventually we found a Motel 6 in Carlsbad, which had a pool, and was $70.
Unfortunately it was beside the InterState rather than beside the beach, but it was fine for the night, and the girls loved swimming. They didn’t have space on Saturday, so we had to move inland, and ended up in the town of Escondido (see, they even name the towns in Spanish!).
On the way there we drove through the town of Rancho El Paso, which looked lovely. Sarah stepped out of the car to ask for directions, and spotted an estate agency. She came back with a smile on her face – the cheapest house for $1.4M, and the most expensive was $11.6M. Nice town.
Anyway, at Escondido we checked into the Comfort Inn, which has a nice pool, so the girls were very happy. It was expensive, at $100, because it was Saturday night, but then drops to $60 from Sunday. We’re likely to stay for a few days, as its handy for San Diego Zoo, it’s relaxing, and we don’t want to keep moving every two days at the moment.
So we’re now bedded down in an edge-of-town motel, with a huge room and TV etc, and a pool outside the window. Somehow this seems more like a holiday than anything else – but then I guess that would be inevitable because of the girls. I don’t know how we’d have done America without the girls – there are very few hostels, and they are in the main cities, so it would have been expensive to do it as independent backpackers, without spending all of your money on motel rooms. And we’d never have been able to do it without a car.
As a holiday destination, the combination of cheap motels, cheap car hire and cheap fuel make it ideal, although there are long distances to cover between each of the ‘sights’, which would mean long driving days. I think we’ll have days when the girls are trapped in the car for the day, but at least we’ll be able to stop for a few days at a time in places, rather than having to move on every day.
Having realised that accommodation is scarce and expensive at weekends, and knowing that we’ve got the Labour Day holiday weekend coming up on 1st September, we’ve used the Internet do look ahead for some places to stay. Within an hour, we’d booked a motel for $90 a night for the holiday weekend, at Mammoth Lakes – near a National Park, and with a pool. We’ve also booked tent at Yosemite for 4 nights following that – something the girls are really looking forward to!