Due to the aforementioned landslide closing Route 1 south of Big Sur we loaded the car & headed south on the inland 101. Most of our route followed the El Camino Historic Road, a 600-mile (965-kilometer) road connecting 21 Spanish missions in California (along with a number of sub-missions, four presidios, and three pueblos), stretching from the San Diego area Mission San Diego de Alcalá in the south up to Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma, just north of San Francisco Bay. The route was marked by lots of historical bell shaped markers.
The 101 rejoined the coast around Pismo Beach and we detoured briefly to Avila Beach for lunch. Several other people thought it would be a good lunch spot as we hand to drive around the seafront a few times before we found a parking space! After the cooler climate of Monterey and the aircon in the car we'd forgotten just how hot it could be outside - phew! The sand was scorching hot too, we had to run down to the wet sand by the sea. We found a nice rock to sit on for lunch, avoiding sitting in the rockpools, and ate enjoying the
at Avila Beach
view of birds foraging in the surf and dolphins feeding in the waves. We even got joined by a couple of small crabs that tried making friends with Chavaunne!
We continued down the coast and into the chaotic traffic of LA. Honestly, if you get the option avoid driving there, the traffic's worse than London! After crawling through the town we found a petrol station to fill up, dropped the car off & got on the shuttle bus to the airport. After a bit of confusion as to what terminal we needed we ened up at the right place to drop our bags (having checked in the night before) and headed to security.
Here's where our good luck kicked in again, no queue at secutity, although I did accidentally leave a tissue in my jeans pocket which got me some angry shouting from the security lady (apparently their scanner is confused by tissues?!). Our security lane let out right by out gate and as we had a bit of time to kill we wandered around the shops for a bit. The plane boarded quickly & one on we saw why... it was more than half empty! We claimed
a tripple set of seats by the window for our own, got given multiple packs of pretzels, *huge* glasses of wine (I think if we'd asked he'd have given us the bottle!) & a rather tasty supper whilst watching films. Sadly they had no hot chocolate, even though the lovely steward checked his own private stash for us. Chavaunne then moved to another empty set of three seats so we could both stretch out across all the seats! Managed to doze a bit whilst listening to my Lord of the Rings audiobook.
A good tail wind got us back to the UK an hour ahead of schedule, and here our luck failed. The jet bridge was broken & it took them an hour to sort out steps and buses to get us out of the plane and over to the terminal. Luckily passport control was again fast as were our bags (which had obviously had a head start). As we exited the airport we bid each other farewell and I headed to the bus stop to test out my electronic mTicket. After waiting ages for the bus driver to turn up (& chatting to the lovely couple also waiting)
my ticket worked and I got to Reading station just fractionally before Mark who gallently carried my suitcase to the car whe the wheels broke!
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