Day 33 Fri Feb 20. Monterey – LAX – Melbourne

It’s 10 pm and I’m just about to board flight for home after the drive from hell from Monterey today.  Will get things up to date when I get home.

……..

Day started off OK though I was feeling vaguely uneasy – figured it was just the thought of having to head back to reality.  More cloud, but still did the morning wander down to the wharf.  As usual the sea lions were hanging about and making lots of noise, and was just thinking how it would be cool to see an otter, when one swims along directly below where I was standing.  Frantically rushing about trying to figure out where it would re-emerge, finally spotted it again, doing the characteristic lying on the back – trying to get at whatever was caught up in a plastic bag that it had found.  Had visions of it getting itself tangled up in it as it repeatedly rolled over, but eventually it lost interest in it and let it float away, and went looking for something else to play with.

Finally away about 10 – a little late but still with plenty of time up my sleeve, as I headed inland to take the much faster route 101 rather than the coast highway.  Detoured into Morro Bay for a quick look and grabbed some calamari to go and headed back toward the 101.

Maybe if I hadn’t done the side trip I would have missed all the drama that followed – will never know.  Suffice to say somewhere south of San Luis Obispo someone decided to drive the wrong way on the divided highway and had a fatal head on.  Of course I didn’t know this at the time – all I knew, stuck in traffic some miles back up the road was that I wasn’t getting very far.  Google was showing the extent of the hold up (yeah, right!) and so when I finally crawled close enough to an exit ramp, did a 10 minute detour that should have brought me back to an on ramp past the problem area.  Of course it didn’t quite work that way, as not only was I caught up with LOTS of people trying to do the same thing, I also got caught up with all the remaining traffic on the freeway which was being diverted off as they closed the road completely.

After about an hour of basically going nowhere finally got moving on yet another detour, though at least this was an ‘official’ one, which after another bout of going not very far very slowly saw us rejoining the 101 – just as the road was being reopened.  My plans of being able to stop and dip the toes in the Pacific and generally have a nice relaxed afternoon were now in tatters, and it was now going to be a challenge just to get to LA with any sort of time buffer left. Drive was OK for a while – as always finding it quite disconcerting to be driving along a road fringed with giant eucalypts – until about Santa Barbara where started to hit patches of slow traffic and would then get alternating slow and fast stretches all the way to about 20km out from LAX – where it once again pretty much just ground to a halt.

I’ve hit bad traffic here before but nothing like this – by now I’m starting to contemplate not even getting there in time. Kept wanting to fall asleep and was only kept going by a rather insistent bladder, and the fact that I hadn’t had time to grab a coffee all afternoon.  Had planned to be at the airport about 4 hours prior to the flight just so I could relax and have a last taste of a few beers, do some blogging etc, but in the end it was only 2 hours before takeoff – by the time I’d grabbed some food, a sparkling and the much needed coffee it was time to board.  The best laid plans …

Uneventful flight home – actually got about 4 to 5 hours of on and off dozing early on – before I gave up and watched most of season 4 of Game of Thrones.  Arrived a little early but a LONG session in the baggage hall.  Finally emerged into the warmth and humidity.  So glad to see Melbourne had turned on some heat for me, and genuinely glad to get a lift home from Robyn.

Will finally get remaining photos sorted out and posted Monday evening (hopefully).

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