Having left Las Vegas via the roundabout route (I.e. we got lost again!), we found the outlet stores and did a little shopping. Then started the longest drive of the trip to Santa Barbara. As there is only one main road out of the city to California, it’s incredibly busy. Climbing several thousand feet though the mountain ranges and over the desert. We decided not to stop in Calico, where John and I had photos taken years ago (with him as a confederate general). Good job we did, or we’d never have made the hotel before nightfall. Our last R66 stop was in Barstow where there’s a great food stop with Macdonalds and others in converted rail carriages. The freeways in LA are almost at a standstill. How does anyone get around? We eventually made it to SB and our last hotel for 2 nights. Very comfortable Castillo Inn at the Beach. Just walked down to the harbour for a meal as we were too tired to go any further. Next morning, walked down to the pier and took the trolley to downtown and then walked back down the street to the pier again. Very relaxed and laid back atmosphere. Then walked down the pier and watched the pelicans flying round. We were told in the Moby Dick that seals were on the buoy, so binoculars ready and there they were. Decided to go for dinner at the Toma, which was just round the corner from the hotel – 2 reasons, couldn’t walk any more and it had #1 rating on Tripadvisor. Well deserved rating, our meal was delicious and celebrated John’s birthday in style. This was always our dream, to be back in Santa Barbara on a special date!
Now us being us, we were on the road early this morning, but the flight isn’t until 10pm tonight. Stopping off for a last minute shop at the Outlet Mall in Camarillo. Then down to Santa Monica where we hoped to have a photo opportunity at the end of R66 – not to be, unfortunately. LA traffic conspired against us. We found the Alamo car return easily and they took us to the airport in our car to save Sharon getting out again. Excellent service. Now sitting waiting to leave in the departure lounge – delayed by an hour, worse luck.
Its been a brilliant trip! Friendly and enthusiastic locals, happy to tell us more about their town or area. Good hotel rooms throughout and far too much food! Plenty of walking to counteract that though. Even better were the laughs we had – from the taxi ride in Chicago with a wheelchair on our laps to the Stetson shop in Amarillo, we’ll never forget it.
Update on 12 August – the connection in LAX was rubbish, so I thought I’d posted this, but obviously not! The plane delay was 2 hours and it was a hassle getting Sharon onboard. Worse still was the lack of communication by Virgin as to what was going on while we were waiting. The rescheduled time passed and no news. Back home again, and I’ll post a reflection on the trip soon!