USA Day 10 – Palo Alto to Temecula

Thursday 29 December 2022

As Southwest Airlines cancelled our flight and purchasing new tickets was not possible, our only option to reach Temecula before 2023 is to drive. So today we set off on our impromptu 448 mile California road trip. Daughter no 2’s friend has offered us a 327 mile lift to Pasadena, and the old man, who is already at the housesit, will drive the last 121 miles to collect us.

Drive to Pasadena

So, it’s an early start for a long day on the road. Without stops or traffic it would take just over 7 hours. Throw in lunch and swapping cars and we’re estimating around 9 hours.

Daughter no 2’s friend arrives at 7 am, and armed with snacks, we set off on our incompetent airline inspired road trip. It’s actually an easy drive, with little traffic and the sort of navigation instructions you’d never see in the UK; ‘turn right in 237 miles’. So we drive and drive through mile after mile of farmland with the occasional mountains thrown in.

Vista del Lago Visitor Center

Pyramid Lake

We stop for lunch at Pyramid Lake, which has a nice view for a picnic. We aren’t allowed to go too close to the lake, which has been shut due to the presence of toxic algae.

Pyramid Lake

Vista del Lago Visitor Center

Overlooking the lake is the Vista del Lago Visitor Center dedicated to water conservation, with some fun hands-on exhibits, such as trying to generate sufficient energy to bring water over the Tehachapi Mountains to Los Angeles.

Vista del Lago Visitor Center

Towsley Canyon Park

We continue to our rendezvous point; Towsley Canyon Park in Santa Clarita, as daughter no 2’s friend is even more hard core than her and is going for a trail run in the mountains. As we are a little early, there’s time for a quick leg stretch before stage two our our drive.

Towsley Canyon Park

Drive to Temecula

From here, we are rescued by the old man who drives us to Temecula. As the next part of the drive is round the outskirts of Los Angels, we make rather slower progress, finally reaching Temecula just under 9 hours after departing Palo Alto. It should have been a 90 minute flight. Thanks Southwest Airlines!

Following a brief stop in town to purchase dinner, we drive up into the mountains overlooking Temecula, famed for its vineyards, to our home for the next week. It’s a huge house with a spectacular view presided over by the infinity pool. There’s also a jacuzzi but using it is complicated; we have to text someone 4 hours in advance and he turns it on remotely for an hour.

View from house in Temecula

In addition to the rationing of the hot tub, we are forbidden to go upstairs. Not that it really matters as the house is massive. We are taking care of one well behaved dog and cat plus a huge dog which the homeowners said lived outside during the day and in a cage at night. However, they changed their minds the day before departing and the huge dog is now no longer caged at night. He is very excited about his new found freedom and spends the evening alternatively terrorising the cat and humping anything that moves and plenty of things that don’t move!

House sitting in Temecula

Author: Jane's Midlife Journey

Stopped work, started travelling. Sometimes I run - combining the two with some parkrun tourism.

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