US Road Trip Travelog: 20th March 2005

I just want to get out of this Super 8 motel, and Imperial Beach, as soon as possible. The smell of rotting carpet in my room isn't exactly pleasant and the sound of early-morning arguments in nearby rooms is enough to get me up and out of there first thing. How this place ever got an AAA recommendation I'll never know.

The plan today is to head up the coast, meaning some miles on the I-5 before dropping off onto the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1). The Interstate is nothing too exciting but at least it's free and clear early on a Sunday morning. Once on Highway 1, however, California begins to show its true colours.

It's exactly as you'd expect. There are people out jogging, cycling, roller-blading and surfing. Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and Huntingdon Beach are obviously very wealthy areas. The traffic here is different from any I've seen elsewhere in the US, with a lot more 'imports' - BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche etc. They're almost all the top of the range models as well. I don't know what a house costs around here but I'm fairly sure I won't be able to afford it until a major studio buys the rights to the Travelog to make into a movie. No, I know it's not likely but I can dream can't I?

Pacific Riviera
Pacific Riviera

A quick round of applause, please, for the old car that made it from sea to shining sea. On the way up here it passed the 79,000 mile mark and when I bought it it had 73,694 on the clock. There's going to be a worn bit on top of the dash where I keep patting it to show my appreciation. Thanks, Loretta.

As Highway 1 gets nearer to Los Angeles it get's more congested and less scenic. My goal today, though I haven't booked anywhere in advance, is a motel near where Highway 1 meets the end of I-91. The reason will become clear tomorrow. Internet access would be nice, as well, after the frustration of yesterday.

Just after then end of I-91 I see a Holiday Inn Express. They have a room, and it's pure luxury. Everything works, like all the lights and the TV remote, and after the Super 8 it's a breath of fresh air. Better yet, because I set off so early I can watch most of the NASCAR Atlanta 500, including the great finish where the rookie in a very secondhand car somehow keeps it on the track and gets the win by a nose. NASCAR may not be as sophisticated as Formula 1 but it is a lot more exciting to watch.

After the race I think I'll take a walk down to Manhattan Beach Pier. It is actually within walking distance, as well, another nice contrast to yesterday.

Manhattan Beach Pier
Manhattan Beach Pier.

It's a perfect afternoon, warm with a cool breeze, and Manhattan Beach is a popular destination. No wonder really given a mix of shops, restaurants, bars and a beach like this. It's not quite paradise, though, as there's something missing. Then I see the beach bunnies doing their aerobics routine at the end of the pier. My mistake - this may well be paradise.

US Road Trip Travelog: 21st March 2005 >