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Published: August 24th 2006
Refugio State Beach - Johanna tests the water
Johanna was finally able to enjoy a day on the beach again!
We departed S.L.O. in the morning and started toward L.A. The day started with a cloudy sky which quickly gave way to sunshine by mid morning. At that point we saw a sign for Refugio State Beach and turned in. Johanna was feeling a little bit of relief from her sunburn and was actually able to partially enjoy the beach! We spent the rest of the morning there and left a little after noon to avoid getting roasted again.
Johanna’s cousin Jenny had recently relocated to Camarillo so we made plans to meet up with her later that afternoon. On the way to Camarillo we drove through Santa Barbara. We were both very impressed by the landscaping in that city. It seemed very clean and well manicured. After taking a break to walk through a park by the coast we got back on the road. We met up with Jenny late afternoon and went for an early dinner. Before leaving, Jenny gave us a copy of a CD made by her brother Bobby’s band which we listened to in the car and both really enjoyed.
That night we found a hotel in Long Beach. After checking in we started
making plans for how to handle our last day on the road. This made us both a little sad to know that the trip would soon be over so we spent the evening looking through our pictures from the trip and reminiscing over a bottle of wine.
The next morning was all business. We worked quickly to pack our bags for our flight home. Anything that could not be packed had to be disposed of. After making sure that everything was ready for our flight, we decided to do a quick tour of Hollywood.
We headed for Beverly Hills first and did a quick drive by. Then we parked and got out on Hollywood Blvd. to see the walk of stars. We took pictures of the stars that interested us then decided to leave before the evening rush hour traffic began.
We drove back toward Long Beach Airport where but arrived a little too early for our flight and decided to continue south to Huntington Beach to kill some time. The afternoon sun felt good and the constant breeze prevented us from getting too hot. After an hour or two we decided it was time to head
back to the airport. During the trip we traveled 4,983.2 miles in the rental car. We considered driving around a little more to make it an even 5000 but decided it was not worth the frustration of driving around the LA area during rush hour. (In case you are interested, we spent $576.32 on 187.17 gallons of gas during the trip.)
Dropping off the car went smoothly and we were checked into our flight with plenty of time to go. After a decent dinner in the airport restaurant and an hour or two of waiting around we finally boarded the plane and took off. Our red-eye flight arrived in Dulles at 5am. We collected our bags and grabbed a cab home. After three weeks away it was nice to be in familiar surroundings! We went to bed and didn’t wake up until around noon!
This whole trip was an amazing eye-opening experience. America is such a large country with many diverse climates and landscapes. It was incredible to be able to see how one type of terrain would change to the next - so incredible that we took 3,377 pictures along the way. Thank goodness for digital photography
One thing that really surprised us was the number of different languages we heard spoken in the various National Parks we visited. This was especially true in Utah’s National Parks where English speaking Americans were clearly the minority. We met a group of Germans in Vegas who were doing their own road trip and planning to visit many of the same parks we had just been in. We explained how surprised we were to be in the minority exploring our own backyard and asked them if they had toured their own country in a similar manner. They laughed and said they had not but that they felt that was the norm around the world. People tend to plan big trips overseas to other countries but neglect to explore their own.
So here is our challenge: If you have enjoyed following our travels on this blog, then plan your own trip to some of these places. You don’t have to do a full cross country road trip like we did, just pick a few cities or national parks that are close together and spend some time as a tourist in your own country. We promise you won’t regret it!
Huntington Beach - Parting shot!
Our last few minutes on the beach before heading for our flight home!
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