Today was the crews first day off in nine days. Understandably the morning was spent with various people in bed, relaxing by the pool, eating lazy breakfasts and enjoying the fact that what had seemed like a ghost hotel all week was now buzzing with the energy of a very large family having a poolside reunion party! This friendly lot had laid on funky sounds and a big spread.

Open wide: Jon had an eventful morning of his own, as a toothache meant a trip to the dentists. Seems an American dentists is slightly more comfort orientated than a British dentists the potential trauma of the dentists chair over here is solved by a TV screen in front of you when you first sit in the chair and one directly above your head when the chair reclines back.. Jon had the pleasure of a Changing rooms’ style program and a pretty dental nurse. It wasnt a serious toothache, but he certainly feels much better now

And then there were six: Felix has other commitments for the next week so he spent the morning organizing a hire car and getting his stuff together.

By mid afternoon the new slimline crew of six (Jon, Nirit, Annabel, Murray, Gill and Lucy) set off destination South, towards San Manuel.

Lynchs land:

By mid evening we stopped at a roadside garage to ask for a recommendation for a nearby hotel. The place had a distinct David Lynch feel: gutted out race type cars lay like sculptures around the place, strange looking locals stopped by and two women sat like book ends on chairs outside a small shop and spoke to us about bizarre topics, from socks to Satan.

Sweet tooth: Wisely or not we did take the advice given at the garage and followed directions to a cluster of new motels a little further down the highway. We went for the first one we liked the look of. A good choice, the rooms were comfy and the guy working reception turned out to be a friendly Mexican, who is hoping to make his first film soon. Dinner was a place called the Cracker Barrel across from the motel.

The place was decked out like an old frontier restaurant: rocking chairs outside (where was that blues guitar) and an amazing assortment of pictures on the walls inside – from decidedly eerie paintings of people long gone, to classic Pepsi posters and bizarre signs.

The menu looked exciting to a crew whose stomachs have had more than enough of all the greasy, fired food that has been fed to us in the past two weeks (not that we didnt like it, just too much of it!). We happily choose between vegetable plates, mashed potatoes and roasted (not fired) chicken, only to find that everything here is cooked in sugar. To say the sweet’ baby carrots were sweet would be an understatement.

The shop, which led out from the restaurant, provided some after dinner amusement, classic American bits of nonsense. Back at the motel, the Mexican reception guy, Cesar, joined the crew for a drink later on.. we cant disclose all that was said over drinks – but it got interesting and late.