Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Road Trips

We are all different and as such, different types of vacation will appeal to different types of people. Personally I find it very difficult to go to one place and relax. I've tried, but it just drives me stir crazy and I have to go out and explore. I'm very lucky to have found a person to share my life with who has exactly the same feelings about holidays as me. My lovely wife, Caroline, is perhaps even more fidgety than me on holiday. We once went for a week of sunshine to the beautiful Canary Island, Fuerteventura. Caroline was recovering from illness and we decided that she needed a break from the usual English disappointing weather. So the plan was to spend time relaxing on a beach in the sunshine. Reality kicked in after a morning, when we walked to the beach, sat on the sand, splashed a little in the water, and then Caroline said while drying off, let's go look what's on those rocks on the other side of town. This led to us taking a walk around the town we were in, deciding it was too small, hiring a car and driving all around the island.

Caroline at Tullamarine, Melbourne letting friends know she's starting an adventure
I think we learned a lot about ourselves then, and we have endeavoured to look for holiday destinations that will allow us to roam and not get bored. These include city breaks where we think we will have just enough time to explore all the secrets on offer, hiking trips, and road trips. This time round we have planned a road trip to the western states of the USA. We've done a road trip in the USA before, and had an amazing time, so we're hoping we have some idea of what we're letting ourselves in for. We've planned a lot, and we're going a long way which we know would not be to everyone's tastes, but it's the sort of thing we love.

Today was Day 0 of the trip. Sounds a bit crazy, but we left Melbourne, Australia today, crossed the International Date Line and arrived in Los Angeles on the same day, about an hour later (the down side of this is that when we come back, a whole day will disappear). It was an early start and everything on the first day has gone smoothly and according to plan. The traffic on the way to Tullamarine Airport was light, and we arrived with plenty of time, checked in (no queue), and went through security with minimum fuss. Some breakfast in the airport put us in good stead, before our flight. The flight was with Air New Zealand, and it was absolutely fantastic. Staff were friendly, food was great, leg room was ok, all in all a good flight. One reason we chose Air New Zealand was the journey is split up into a 4 hour flight to Auckland and then 12 hours to LA, rather than 16 hours in one sitting. What was even better was we were on the flagship "Hobbit Plane". Of course, during the 12 hour leg of the journey I really needed to kill some time, so I watched a film. And what other film could I watch than "The Hobbit".

Air New Zealand's Hobbit Plane
Landing in LA we expected a big delay getting through customs, and it wasn't good, but we were through in about an hour. I've heard it could have been a lot worse. A shuttle took us to a car rental company, and we started a drive out of LA about 3 pm local time. I was doing the driving today, and it took me a little while to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road. Going through LA was a bit of a nightmare. The smog was in full evidence, and the roads were busy, but as soon as we made it through the driving was pretty good. To the north of Los Angeles there's some wild hills which kind of reminded me of driving out of Adelaide, or the hills around Gippsland. We're talking folded hillsides with deep clefts created by earth movements. After that the landscape became pretty boring, and just as we were nearing our first night's destination the sun started to go down (about 4 hours driving with an hour's stop for food and coffee). So we never really got to see the hills and rivers that skirt the Sequoia National Park. That will be tomorrow's adventure!

1 comment: