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Tucson, AZ to Bellflower, CA is ‘only’ 487 miles (784 km) – 8 hours drive, which ever way you want to count it through some of the less inspiring landscapes on fast highways. That’s a full day’s task, so we were perhaps a bit silly to arrange a visit at Miles Anderson’s Miles to Go nursery out in the desert near Tucson (S2337). We managed to tear ourselves away just after noon, so expected to make it to Bellflower by 8 p.m. The visit was well worth it with excellent cactus chat and opportunities to photograph the cultivated versions of plants that we had seen shrivelled and dry during the last few weeks in habitat. Thanks Miles!

The weather forecast for California suggested rain – hard to believe when you’re standing in the burning (for a Dutchman) Arizona sunshine, but sure enough, as we approached Blythe, clouds gathered and by the time that we had some 100 miles left to go, it started to rain, ending up with a good old English style down pour.  It was at this time that Ruby, who had been so well-behaved during her Mexico adventure, started playing up. Warning lights that had told us that an oil change was due ‘soon’ started to insist that the time had come now, another cryptic message said that the right hand rear indicator light was malfunctioning and to cap it all, when the heavens were raining down at full strength, a new message told us that we had ‘low tyre pressure’, with an icon of a punctured tyre on display. We almost ‘swam’ off the highway and to a garage, fortunately where Eunice had studied at University, so where she was familiar, at least 30 years ago. The guy at the fuel station kindly switched on the air line but we had four round ones, and as far as I could tell in the wet and dark, the tyre pressures were fine. The temperature had fallen from 85 F to 40 F, so that might have caused a fluctuation in pressures? Or do cars in California really dislike ran?

The important thing was that we arrived safely home with Eunice driving the car through some awful conditions, avoiding the Californian drivers who still have a lot to learn about driving in these conditions.

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