Day 32 – Monterey – Big Sur – LA – Melbourne

ROAD TRIP!! Up before dawn to watch the sunrise down on the foreshore just around from Cannery Row – well worth the early start. Monterey a fantastic looking place – the best of California architecture, parks and bike tracks all around the foreshore and EVERYONE seemed to be out running or cycling. Would have loved to just wander around but the road was calling. Quick stop to check out Clint Eastwood’s town of Carmel, then on to the Pacific Coast Hwy and Big Sur. I have wanted to come here since first seeing film or the area in the 70’s and it’s been worth the wait. Interspersing old dark forests and dramatic coastline, the road goes on forever. Very difficult to force myself to only take a few stops. Could easily have spent a whole day just doing the first 100 miles or so – will have to spend 2 days on this drive next time. Lots of flood and mudslide damage along the way but thankfully nothing to halt progress – would have been a very different story last week

From Sal Luis Obis Obispo got on the faster Hwy 101 and managed to make up some time, and finally made it to Malibu beach – about 20 miles north of LA – in time to remove the sandals, get the toes wet and watch the sun set over the ocean – 330 miles from my sunrise at Monterey. A long day but surely one of the great drives you could ever hope to do. This is sure a long way from Yurtville in Yellowstone.

Had to find one more way to get lost, and did it getting the rental car back. The car agency was off airport – as with all the cheaper rental firms – and I’d rung and got quite specific directions, but although I’d been told to take the Manchester Blvd exit, I somehow managed to convert this to Washington Blvd – almost identical as I’m sure you’ll agree. So of course when I took this wrong exit – about 5 miles short of the mark – none of the rest of the directions were much use. My map wasn’t detailed enough to be any real help and I couldn’t even find an entry back onto the freeway, so drove up and down half the streets in some pretty seedy LA suburbs, and 40 minutes and 2 sets of directions later I finally found the place – good thing my paranoia had me aiming at being there 4 hours before my flight. Finally got through the shambolic combination of the TSA (US security screening) and QANTAS staff on some sort of go slow campaign, headed for the bar, ordered a cointreau and started planning the next trip.

Lets see – 8 days in Yellowstone, 2 days doing the Big Sur coast, ………………

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