USA road trip: Day 16!

Following an incredible day exploring Death Valley we continued our journey south west back towards the coast. We stopped over in a town called Ridgecrest – it was an interesting stay to say the least! The town looked like something out of the Hills Have Eyes.. It was so spooky. A total Ghost town. Abandoned houses with boarded up windows and doors.. Old mining facilities closed down.. It was very eerie. We didn’t hang around!
Another early start for us and back in our trusty little Mirage. After much map flipping and negotiating aggressive traffic we finally made it to LA! No guessing our first port of call… Yep. Venice Beach AKA Muscle Beach. Body building’s equivalent to Mecca. It really did not disappoint! The place was buzzing with busy Cafes, street performers, sidewalks bursting at the seems with skateboarders and rollerbladers. It was just how I imagined and better! The beach itself was quite something – stretching for miles with its golden sand and surf friendly rip curls. Much like Santa Cruz, the beach was alive with family BBQs and sports.

After we managed to weave our way around a protest, groups of break dancers and street artists, we eventually set eyes on the main attraction. Muscle Beach outdoor gym. We showed our military ID and got into the caged area half price (thanks Her Maj).

The gym was fairly quiet. There were a couple of guys training quietly on the machines, taking in the sunshine and posing for the walkers by. Then there were the two performers! Two guys hired by muscle beach gym, who’s sole job is to flex for cameras and practice their moves. They were pretty impressive to be fair! In the hour and a half we were there, I’d say approximately 100 selfies were taken by these guys! Hilarious!

Sam and I decided to use whatever equipment was free. We ended up on the bench press (our fave!). It was really difficult in the heat and with the sun directly in the eyes whilst lying flat on the bench. Especially using bars and plates in Lbs which we are not used to. However! We both lifted heavier than we normally manage in training. After a couple of sets of 5-3-2 reps we decided to get more weight on the bar. Maybe it was the onlookers, or all of the naughty carbs we have been eating, but I managed to bench 84kg! Sam normally hits about 90kg in training, but he also managed a much hire number for one rep at 97kg! After bench press we hit our normal 3 x max effort dips and also pull ups. After a sweet upper body pump sesh we spotted a space to do some deadlifts. Using the kit available we ended up doing 3 sets of 5 reps fairly light for us. The heat began to take its toll and food was calling us! We had a great session and got chatting to some really nice guys from Chicago who were also on a similar trip to us. It was a fun day all round!
We reluctantly pulled ourselves away from the gym and sat down on the beach with a mini picnic we picked up on route. We had an awesome raw broccoli salad and a sandwhich! It felt good to get some greens in.

Refuelled we headed back to Mecca and finished up our session with some gymnastics. Rope climbs, muscles ups and skin the cats! Feeling suitably pumped we called it a day. We left the bright lights of LA and hit the freeway to our next hotel in a little town called Temecula.

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