By Angela King,2014-05-01 06:22
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    California is the richest and most populated state in the US and is situated on the West Coast. Justine begins her journey in the Joshua Tree National Park

    800,000 acres of desert, which receives just 3 to 5

    inches of rainwater a year. It's a surreal experience,

    and Justine's guide introduces her to several colourful local characters.

Next stop is Palm Springs, an artificial oasis in the

    middle of the desert and playground to the stars and idols of Hollywood's golden era. She stays in a hotel which has been frequented by stars throughout the

    years, and meets the manager of The Raquet Club,

    where Marilyn Monroe was discovered. Just outside Palm Springs is a natural wind tunnel where 2 long mountain ranges on each side of the valley floor

    concentrate the breeze from the coast. Wind power is big business in California, and 3500 wind turbines generate enough energy for 2000 homes.

    A 3 hour bus journey from Palm Springs takes Justine to the notorious City of Angels,Los Angeles. LA is a

massive city which sprawls over 1000 square miles.

    Justine hires a car and cruises Hollywood, home of the movie industry, in search of the stars. Fame and fortune proves elusive, however, and she decides to explore the seedier East Side in the company of a couple of LAPD officers.

One of the great attractions of Los Angeles is the

    spectacular Pacific coastline. Year round good weather means that Santa Monica sees up to 3 million

    Angelinos annually, just enjoying the sun, working out, or showing off their bodies. Here Justine meets a

    skating champion and in-line teacher to the stars.

    Leaving LA behind, Justine heads up the coast to Hearst Castle. In the 1920's William Randolf Hearst built this sumptuous castle that is part art gallery, part historic home and part national monument. It's claimed

    that Orson Wells based his film ‘Citizen Kane' on Hearst's extraordinary life. From here, Justine journeys

    to Big Sur, an area that has inspired artists, writers and poets, like Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller and is still

    an attraction for those who seek to find themselves. Artists have called this place of outstanding natural beauty ‘the greatest meeting of land and water in the


    Leaving the coast, Justine makes her way to the town of Gilroy, the self proclaimed garlic capital of the world. Every August, thousands of garlic lovers flock to Gilroy from all round the world for the annual garlic

    festival. A stroll through the famous Gourmet Alley is a real assault on the senses, and visitors can sample a whole range of garlic flavoured fare, from pasta to popcorn, and even garlic ice-cream!

    Having had her fill, Justine takes a bus

    through Yosemite, to see the Sierra Nevada

    Mountains and the highest waterfall in North America. She visits the Mono Lake, the oldest body of water in

    North America but one which has been at the heart of an environmental conflict between North & South California for 60 years. She also visits the ghost-town of

    Bodie, build in 1859 on the profits of the gold-rush. In

    20 years Bodie became the third largest city in the state of California, but when the gold ran out the town

suffered a major economic crisis.

    On the final leg of her journey, Justine flies north

    to Humboldt County, home to the highest

    concentration of Giant Redwoods in California and the

    hippy chill-out town ofGarberville. The Redwoods can

    grow to nearly 400 feet and can live to over 2000 years, so some of these trees have been around since the time

    of Jesus. In 1918, the ‘Save the Giant Redwoods League' was founded to preserve the last 10% of the forests from destruction lumber companies. Justine meets an eco-warrior named Nate, who has been living in a tree for the last 2 years to prevent its destruction.

    The forests are also reputed to be the home of a mythical, legendary, elusive creature called Big Foot,

    or the Sasquatch. Justine joins a night-time expedition

    in search of the beast.

     Justine ends her journey in Garberville, at the fabulous Reggae on the River music festival. Famed

    for its hippies and for its marijuana, the Garberville area has earned the nickname ‘the emerald triangle'.

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