A Much Better Day

It’s now Wednesday and having woke from a fairly good sleep, the day brightened our window with nothing but sunshine.  Right behind our hotel was an excellent home cookin’ restaurant which helped shape a most satisfying start to our drive north.

Looking forward to dropping the top on this new mode of transportation, disappointment soon reared its ugly head.  Our big suitcase would actually fit with room to spare.  However, given there is NO back seat area at all, the small suitcase and my laptop bag would have to also go in the trunk.  The laptop alone would still have been a good fit.  The small suitcase would only go in one way…on its side.  No matter what configuration was tried, everything would fit, but there would be insufficient clearance for the top to go down.  Bummer!

Ok…that problem won’t go away until tomorrow so on the road we go.  The goal is our next hotel, north of San Francisco in an area called Rohnert Park, CA.  San Fran is about 4.5 hours and then another better part of an hour past that.  With an almost 6 hour trip in front, but no real rush either, we set out on Highway 1 to take in a more scenic, rather than direct, route.  It’s just past 9 AM.

There were photo ops aplenty along the way, one allowing for a very impressive viewing of a colony of elephant seals.  Apparently it was ‘lay down in the sand and cover ourselves with it’ time rather than ‘gambol about in the water’ time.  A few did, but most just lazed around, taking full advantage of being permanently unemployed.

Driving along the coastline also gave us the more enhanced experience of driving in California in general.  Leaving L.A. central was what we had expected, more or less.  Yes it was rush hour but there were tens of thousands more commuters heading back Into L.A. than actually leaving.  So, while our 8 lanes of traffic were moving, the sea of vehicles on the other side of the median was crawling much like my granddaughter not that long ago.

One would think the coastline drive (well out of LA. and area) would be somewhat better.  Not so much.  The sight-lines were absolutely improved.  The ocean views, changes of foliage and the general bouquet in the air (I love the smell of the ocean) all provided some relief from the road conditions. Those didn’t do that tour any justice.  It’s hard to understand why the roads are so badly pockmarked.  Not potholes, like back home, but for major rural roads, they left a lot to be desired.

When on a divided highway in California the speed limit is (mostly) 65 mph (about 104 kph for us Canucks).  If not divided, then 55 mph (88 kph) is the limit.  Aside from going through towns, what else might affect this?  Yep…that wonderful season known as road-construction season!  Now it becomes 45 mph (72 kph) and more often than we wanted, also down to one lane.  Which meant stop…wait (In Line Again!!)…then go when permitted by workers.  And there are many spots where 45 mph is a luxury.

BUT…we’re not in a rush, right?  Here to enjoy, not to hurry.

Another sideline that I wanted to make was in Carmel CA that offered the famed 17 Mile Drive.  I had done this once before, in 1992, and ‘had a yen to see it again’.  (Yes…my new career shall be…POET!  no…I’m kidding.)  Back in those olden days I remember a lot of green grass and some of the most spectacular homes I have ever seen.  Plenty had that magnificent view of the ocean that one can only get by living with it right out your front door.  Too much can change in 27 years.

Those homes are still there, but it now costs $10.50 USD, to take that drive. I guess Someone has to help pay for the surroundings. After all, the people that live there have all those OTHER costs. You know…the golf cart upkeep, the club memberships, thier landscapers (after all their yards don’t take care of themselves!), the pool guy…it’s Tough living here.

As the drive meanders around, it’s blatantly obvious that there are a multitude more homes here than so long ago.  A stop at Spyglass Golf Course and Poppy Hills Golf Course because my golf ball display at home still has a few holes to fill. 🙂  Again, more photo ops came about and at the very end of the drive was the famed Pebble Beach Golf Course.  This has also changed dramatically over the years.

Where once there was, of course, the amazing golf course itself and a merchandise shop or two, there is now an entire community.  A shopping center type mall, a visitor center showing the resort’s amenities, a row of stores dedicated to golfing attire and mementos.  The list goes on.  Say what I will, however, it remains an exceptional place to take in.  In 1992 golf fees were $200 USD if you did NOT live on 17 mile drive.  It is now $550 USD.

Still waiting for that lottery win…

On we continue to our hotel.  I guess we’re luckier this time.  We got there by about 8 PM.  WHY?  It was Only about a 5.5 hour drive and yes we made a number of stops.  But the reason on Top of construction was the always present ‘let’s slow down for no apparent reason, clog traffic, then move on’ syndrome.  There is no doubt that this affliction exists in other first world countries, but it’s just seems so much more noteworthy on an 8-lane each way divided highway.  And it doesn’t disappear just because you’re on a one-lane each way out of the way secondary road.

Into the room, unload, and go find a restaurant for a little bite before bed.  Tomorrow WILL BE a top-down day.

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