Monday, April 13, 2009

Good Friday: San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles

I was a grumpy cow by the time I picked JK up from Long Beach airport on Friday evening. The day had started well with breakfast from here,

followed by a gentle drive through magnificent countryside from San Luis Obispo to La Purisima Mission just outside Lompoc where I investigated the restored Mission with its eerie, deserted church in a suitable frame of mind for Good Friday.

After stopping for three pints of picked-that-morning strawberries from a local farmer, I headed down to Santa Barbara on a fantastic drive through farmland and over the mountains, but the 101 was backed up for miles through SB and, after we cleared the traffic, my sat nav point blank refused to navigate me down the coast road, sneakily taking me back on the sodding freeway even though I had specifically requested no motorway routes.

Concrete highways make me fractious. And traffic makes me antsy so, even though night was falling, I took myself back to the PCH, with a white knuckle drive down the winding coast road through Malibu and into Santa Monica. That when I really started to thank my lucky stars that I am a confident driver as the roads widened into six lanes, seemingly filled with Kamikaze drivers with no road sense and zero driving politesse.

My sat nav route involved multiple lane changes through a web of linked roads and, at one point, took me from a far left lane across five lanes of speeding traffic to a right hand exit in the dark with just 800 yards notice. I was tempted to shut my eyes, flick the indicators and just go for it. Common sense won out, and I just trusted that no one would hit me as I shot across the lanes of traffic and onto the exit ramp at speed.