Thursday, 7 June 2007

"Santa Cruz (it's not that far)..." 295 miles

My face is peeling...this is not a good look. Serves me right, though. No mistakes from now on: baseball cap, sunglasses and factor 30. This combination does make me look a little like the "invisible man" - or just a ghost.

Cream cheese bagel and orange juice and it's onto the 101 to San Francisco.

My first stop was the gas station where my card won't work in the automatic pump. It only accepts cards with zip codes, and a postal code of St Leonards on sea just won't cut it. The woman in the kiosk says "gas up" so that is what I do.

$3.55 a gallon (US gallon is slightly smaller than British) and yesterday 195 miles in a 5.7 litre Mustang cost me $23 about £14! Despite this the radio is peppered with ads for "economy cars that now do 30 mpg on an out of town drive."

The 101 becomes Highway 1 and it's pleasant going until the San Simeon National Park and Hearst Castle, once home to newspaper tycooon William Randolph Hearst and model for "Citizen Kane".

I drove up to the car park which was full of people waiting to go on a lengthy guided tour. Peered at it on the top of the hill through a convenient telescope and left.

This is where the drive becomes more interesting and the road is narrower with many more bends. With the top down and a stiff breeeze, the smell of the pine trees and the seaweed is a heady mixture. I took a few photos but gave up after a while as round every bend is a better view.

Managed to take a wrong turn and went round Santa Cruz a few times and by the time I got to Half Moon Bay I realised that I was going to "The City" as they like to call it bang on 5pm.

6 lanes of Freeway in the rush hour reminded me of the scene in "LA Story" with Steve Martin as the drivers shoot at one another. No firearms in evidence but lane discipline is obviously something British. The idea is to go as fast as you can in any lane and if you see a gap anywhere, its yours, so go for it. Bizarrely I knew where I needed to be - "7th St off ramp and turn left." Suddenly I saw a off I went, turned left, and drew up outside a motel I last visited 22 years ago.


Anonymous said...

So glad you've made it out of Southern California. Enjoy "The City". Hope you continue north along the coast so that you see the Giant Redwoods in the Northern part of the State. Funky stores and shops along the way to make the drive fun.

Eyes of the World said...

You leave me speechless ...

a London connection said...

Another sound-track for your

journey, Mr. Lester ...

'Memories Are Made Of This'.

Nice one !

Anonymous said...

Hi Alex,

cue Morris Albert......
Peelings, nothing more than peelings
Trying to forget my peelings of love.....

I don't know; men! What are you like? Just got to find out for yourself .. ... :) Did you ever see Boss Hogg without a hat ?
That Cream cheese bagel thing sounds delish.....

Keep smiling

Rachel xxx

James Waters said...

Hello mate,

Well everything seems to be going well. Almost feel we are with you by reading this.

Nikki Bedi is doing a good job whilst you are away although she is playing some odd music at 4.45 but at least it gets me up.

Be Good.


pricesthebakers said...

yes, but do you know the way to san Jose??

steve trucker said...

The weekends here Dark Lord, hope you keep up the Englishman Abroad tradition and get bladdered.......but there again they have some strange drinking laws over there, over 21 I think, you'll be alright then! Stay safe Alex!

Anonymous said...

RE:I drove up to the car park which was full of people waiting to go on a lengthy guided tour. Peered at it on the top of the hill through a convenient telescope and left.

and so the song goes:...

"I'm different and I don't care who knows it
Somethin' about me
It's not the same, yeah
I'm different and that's how it goes
Ain't gonna with the crowd!?


Randy Newman

Roving Squeaker said...

Been on that road on the Hardly. Was great, especially the stripey squirrels t'other half insisted were chipmunks. Yeah right, at 30" don't want to see the squirrels in his world! Next bit'll probably be hotter. Check out Goldie's DIner in WIlliams. Our fave of the trip. Safe journey Dark One...

Anonymous said...

Hx paul says,
when you hit san fransisco dont forget to visit the rock, pier 39 and all them second hand record stores in market street.
Be lucky dark lord.

Anonymous said...

Mr Lester you have to come back,I know its lovely out there with the wind in your hair and a bagel in your hand,but your standin is giving the answers to the quiz first and she's giving out prizes.The dark side clouds everything!


Anonymous said...

Reaching Cult Status erm like YOU!


Throwing the gauntlet at you...have you seen these adds?! If so prove it!

Posted: 5/23/2007
IRN-BRU hits the United States with an outdoor advertising campaign beginning May 25th, 2007, in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area.
Will be available in convenience and food stores in the Pocono Northeast.

IRN-BRU will be launched officially in the United States with PHENOMENAL outdoor advertising, guerrilla marketing including post card advertising and a sampling campaign. The iconic soda contains 32 PHENOMENAL flavors and is Scotland's largest selling carbonated soft drink.

While most sodas only contain two or three flavors, the unique combination of flavors in IRN-BRU makes it stand out from the crowded soft drink market.
Brand awareness is so strong in the United Kingdom that it is favored by Scots over other top selling soft drinks. Can 8.5 million Scots be wrong? The beloved IRN-BRU has reached cult-like status not only in Scotland but the rest of the United Kingdom and Russia, and is finding increasing success in other world markets. The soft drink features a truly unique citrus type flavor and refreshment experience that has propelled IRN-BRU over its almost 106 year history to the ranks of legend. It is so famous that one Scot actually made a sofa of the products containers.

Anonymous said...

why not try catch some gigs on your adventure? in my view, it must be hard work driving all the time!?


Whoosher said...

Standard greetings, oh dark lord. It all sounds too cool for school. I remember driving down PCH from San Fran back to LA - 'twas in nothing as glamorous as 5.7l Mustang, but what glorious memories (apart from the fortunately-now-ex-husband sitting in the driving seat).

You're a lucky lucky (if you've watched Life of Brian you'll know what comes next)

Best of luck, sir, and keep us up to date.

Steve-G said...

Std Greetings, Glad to see you are maintaining tradition and meeting up with the MadDogs out in the Midday Sun.... On Foot .... You Walked!!!! Ye Ha you know howta Live Boy!

I really hope you have a fab Time.. Just be careful out there.

Steve G

copter doctor said...

could that be THE Randy Newman? My, who's well connected then?!! BTW What happened to Texas? - it's the other way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alex, Aloe Vera gel will sort that out no problem ... Hope you're having a great time in San Francisco - are you going over to the Boudin Bakery at Fisherman's Wharf to chat up the sourdough girls again ;-) ? Remember, it's called Bo-deans y'know ... ;-) ;-)

Steve Thomas said...

Hi Alex, sounds like it's going great guns! It's going to be a long old month for us left behind I think, poor old Nikki,three attempts to play dreadlock holiday the other night,perhaps it's not as easy as we all think it is eh? Stay safe,keep up the good work!!!!

Roobarb said...

"Suddenly I saw a off I went, turned left, and drew up outside a motel I last visited 22 years ago."

Go on then, what was her name??

Rhi x