In the end the lure of another night in Vegas was to good to refuse. Well we did have another discount motel voucher and we had news that Salt lake city was just starting their ski season and we had seen enough snow in New Zealand for this year. The route was alot more direct to Vegas this time, but we still had an overnight stop on route arriving in Vegas at lunchtime. We had'nt let our hair down for a while so we decided to have a good drink which we lapped up and were drunk after a lot of cheap beer and in bed for 10pm. I got a free t - shirt in one of the bars with scantly clad women serving. Gemma said I begged for it, I deny this but when you're existing t shirts are on the their last legs you have to grab the chance when you can.
The following day we decided to skip LA and join the Coastal road 1 at Santa Maria to start our journey up to San Francisco. We had plenty of time and where looking forward to this drive as it is well documented how beautiful it was. After 2 nights here we decided to go upto Monterey. We could'nt have chosen a worse day, the cloud was really low and presented a thick haze over all the coastal lookouts, so it was not worth stopping, apart from the lookout where we were higher than the clouds, it was like being on a plane, very cool although this his was very hard to show through the photos. We arrived in Monterey which is a lovely little town that has something of a resurgance through the development of the old Cannery area. It was the capital of the world in canning sardines and mackeral. The old sheds had been restored to their former glory and it was nice to see some traditional US buildings for a change. We even got a chance to sample some Lebonese Falafel which is weird I know, but we both agreed if the food was this good, is it worth visiting the real thing. We also got some slightly better weather which was nice in one sense and frustrating in the other as we tried to imagine what the Big Sur was like without the cloud from the previous days.
Heading north still we decided on Santa Cruz, it read quite nicely in the book so we thought we'd give it a try. It turned out to be a nice pretty town but very weird. It was full of drop outs, down and outs and tramps. It was quite disconcerting at times, as I tried to focus on whether this was a byproduct of the economy breakdown or a homeless by choice sort of thing. There was alot of young people with hacksacks and no footwear, I really hope this is not something that will effect our country from the global credit crunch.
We decided to take it easy here for 2 days, walking the pier and chilling in our room. We both felt tired over the last 10 days of our trip. I put it down to the fact that when we move on again it will be home, which is nice but quite daunting at the same time. In the past 12 months when we have come to the last 14 days in a country we would always start thinking and planning ahead and this would automatically give us another energy boost, but it is a bit uncharacteristic to only have to think about getting the train home from London which is not quite the challenge it used to be.
Anyway enough about our feelings, we decided to take the hit on the motels and get upto San Francisco which we both wanted to be a good city. It is our favourite city we have visited in the US and is quite alot different to LA. It has a very charming promenade that must stretch at least for 3 or 4 miles down to the Golden Gate bridge from the old renovated ferry building. The old ferry building is a bit like a posh food market and we both enjoyed a Masala Chai. (which took us back to India apart from we had a pint each this time) We also tried bourbon and walnut ice cream which was really tasty but repeated on me like a chinese banger. (see what I did there) We have had some pretty indifferent weather. On our first day in San Francisco it rained in the afternoon and then the next day it rained none stop so we did'nt bother going into the centre. Day 3 was alot better and we opted for a city walk starting with taking the cable car (as they call it, we call it a tram or fenicular tramway) up the hill. Everything has been built around and on top of this hill and it was really cool to go up this way. We then walked up through Pacific Heights and over cow hill down to the marina, walking back on the promenade. It took us a few hours but was worth seeing the different style and colour buildings. San Francisco is very contemporay and cool even though the Hippies left years ago.
So our trip of a lifetime has come to an end and we have 'lived the dream' for the last 12 months. We have had some amazing experiences and memories that we will always treasure.
Next stop home! oh no!