Bike Odyssey
North America 2004

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Journal for 16-Apr-2004 : Santa Clarita

Headed off into the LA traffic, and saw our first fender bender in the first half an hour. Some silly woman learning that you can't see the person in front of you stop when you are sending an SMS text message.

LA traffic rather easier to negotiate than I feared, certainly easier than New Zealand, but there sure was an awful lot of it. America has already impressed me greatly by this vast mega city having a complete absence of roundabouts.

Cycling through LA gives a strange sense of Deja Vu in that all the street names seem very familiar. Venice Boulevard, Santa Monica Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard, Bel Air Cr, Ventura Highway etc. But I still don't seem to have watched enough bad American TV to know where these roads go or come from.

After crossing the Santa Monica mountains through the tunnel under Mulholand Drive (you know, that big Hollywood sign) we had our first break under a pair of very attractive trees in the only bit of greenery this town showed us today: the Sepulveda flood mitigation dam basin. Why were the trees so attractive? They were Euclypts :-).

Lots of gentle climbing on the deserted old highway (replaced by Freeway 14) into Santa Clarita.

At Santa Clarita we indulged in some American chain restaurant food. Lonely Planet warns the portions at these institutions might be a bit too challenging for the average non-American. But we correctly interpreted this to mean cyclist servings! Yum. So how do you make American food seem appetising (or even appetizing)? Spend some time in New Zealand first :-). And how do you make American food seem dreadful after being in New Zealand? Order American fish and chips (a mistake I won't be repeating in a hurry).

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