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We were somewhere near Barstow, on the edge of the desert...
riot girl
….when a lump of iron in the middle of the road coincided with the front wheel of the hire car (a ver' nice one, by the way, with leather seats and AC that chills you to the very core) and the rim blew out.

However, up to that point, things are pretty good.  We got through the notoriously arsey LAX immigration with the assistance of my London Underground "baby on board" badge, which I must have somehow forgotten to take off my brand new, previously unworn jacket.  We found the hire car place with relative ease - and discovered that you can't buy a SIM card compatible with a UK iPad, so we were on paper maps and navigation, but that was okay - the route was simple.  We stopped at the Lincoln Motel in Pasadena, by which time we were too tired to do anything apart from look for some dinner, sourced at the Panda Express, which was like the Chinese buffets at Camden Lock, but with an all-American mission statement, which ran along the lines of "We aim to deliver an authentic Asian dining experience through inspiring people to improve their lives."  Presumably because after a polystyrene tray of their rather disappointing food, you look at your life, shake your head sadly and think "I really must do better than this."

The next day we woke up at about 5am, and decided it was too nice outside to do anything but get up and take the mountain road, the Angeles Crest Highway, over towards Barstow.  We stopped to pick up some fruit at the Walmart (local peaches - mmm) and stopped for a second breakfast at the Evergreen Cafe at the other end of the mountains.  We were aiming to get to Las Vegas the same day, but it was just after the mountain road, a mile up the Interstate 5, that the aforementioned lump of iron took out the wheel.

A highway patrol officer stopped for us and called Alamo which was kind of him.  A roadside assistance vehicle arrived for us, realised that there was nothing he could do without a spare wheel, and dropped us a mile down the road at the McDonalds to wait for the tow truck.

Sadly, the Roolz say that the tow truck couldn't tow the car unless we were with it.  Which we weren't.  And although it had to come past the McDonalds, it wasn't prepared to stop and get us.  So we ended up with them sending a cab for us and a truck to collect the car, which took a while, but sorted us out eventually.

We got as far as Barstow that night in a new car (a HUGE SUV, this thing will go over lumps of iron in the road no problem) and stayed at the Route 66 Motel.  Which was amazing.  The owner suggested we go to Rosita's up the road for dinner, and I had a burrito the size of my head.  Seriously good food.  By that time we'd not had anything since second breakfast at about 10am (the McDonalds was great for AC and wifi, less good for food) so we even managed to finish the enormous portions.