18.08.2010 15 °C
Today would be my last adventure, my last drive in the United States and I would be doing on the iconic California's Pacific Highway 1. This morning I picked my car up from Los Angeles airport and soon made my way as the drive to the other side of the Big Sur would take at least six and upwards of seven and a half hours.
My first ports of call were Malibu beach and the beautiful beach town of Santa Barbera. It was whilst I was buying a postcard at the visitor centre there that one of the volunteers strongly advised me not taking the road as she didn't think I would be able to make the perilous route during daylight. I was undeterred, however, as the President saidsay, "I responded with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people, Yes We Can." Her stark caution did, however, prompt me to make tracks sooner than I had hoped to and my stop in Santa Barbera was relatively brief.
As I was making my way onto Highway 1 from the 101 signs starting flashing up announcing an accidnt on the cliff edge Highway 1 and advised taking a different route. I just wasn't prepared to do that. The whole reason I was driving to LA was because I wanted to experience the winding coastal path. I ploughed on and soon enough after Monterry I came into a queue of traffic. I was very fortunate, however, as after being there for perhaps ten minutes a police car came down the road announcing that the highway had been cleared. Concious that this would be my last adventure in the US I found myself thinking back to all the things I had seen since being here. I find it almost incomprehensible to believe that I have climbed up to Mt. Cadillac in Acadia National Park in Maine, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, explored the south, celebrated 4th July, partied in New Orleans and so much more. When I think specifically about these things they seem as if they were but yesterday, but perhaps because I've seen so much, recalling it all is difficult. I find myself thinking also about what lies ahead; seeing family and friends, playing with my dogs, getting a new house and starting a new job. With all this ahead the feeling I'm getting about leaving America is much the same feeling I got when leaving school - that it was the right time, that I had achieved all I was capable of and I was ready to move onto the next chapter. That next chapter will start in just over two weeks.
I was soon on my way from the accident. This seventy mile stretch of roads twists and turns on cliff edges and you drive in the hills above the Pacific Ocean. I was doing the drive in the final hours of the day and the setting sun illuminated the rocky shore in shades of red and orange. Now and again I would stop to get out and appreciate the vistas. My original plan had been to stop off on the Big Sur. It was apparant though that I could get as much value from the visit without stopping and stopping here wouldn't give me enough time to get back to San Francisco tomorrow. I came off Highway 1 just as the sunset. I decided that I would stop about 70 miles or an hour and a half short of San Francisco. I pulled up at my favourite motel chain, Motel 6 (very reliable and the cheapest chain in America).