America was designed to be driven across, down, diagonally however you want to do it, America is a driving paradise. Big cars, big roads, big fuel bills. On the first day we got the car I began faffing with the on board computer (Karen would refer to it as faffing, I prefer “familiarising myself with the inboard equipment in a non linear, repetitive manner”). That’s when I realised that our card did 24 mpg not the 45mpg I get from my Clio. Ok, this as a 2 litre convertible Chevy, but come on, 24 mpg. I began working but the fuel cost of our 800 mile journey…then quickly stopped as it was making me depressed and I was meant to be on my holidays.
The other thing that I had to get used to was driving an automatic. I have driven them before (over here and in the UK) but they still catch me out. We had stopped to take some pictures of the ocean ( we have sooooo many pictures of the ocean) and we then got ready to move off. But the car wouldn’t shift out of park. It was stuck. Worse still, we had no phone signal. Convinced we were going to have to walk to the next town, I made one last attempt and it worked. What I hadn’t realised that I was subconsciously always putting my foot on the brake (which you have to to change gear) and on this one occasion I had not done it. Idiot.
We hired a convertible (I know, posers) and the next dilemma was when do we have the roof on and when off. When we left Monterey on Sunday it as still a bit cool, but a few miles further down the road at Big Sur it was gorgeous so we put the the top down and set off. Driving down Highway 1 you do feel like you are driving in a film (admittedly after the amount myself and Karen have been eating that film is Shrek). The road bends all over the show and the camber on the roads is mental. In an open top automatic it’s like playing Gran Turisimo for real. Then only problem with the West Coast of America is that the weather is changeable. It was beautiful at Big Sur, but freezing 10 miles down the coast. The answer? Put the roof up? No! We’re British, we BBQ in the rain. All we did was turn the heating up full blast. So around our ears it was blowing a hoolie, but our feet were toasty.
Today we had the opposite problem. With temperatures in the 80’s we decided to drive topless (easy boy) from LA to San Diego. Nice idea until you realise that;
a) you cant hear the Sat Nav over the sound of 10 lanes of LA traffic.
b) it’s nice driving with the wind in your hair, but when you are stopped in traffic for an hour with the temperature registering 96 degrees with no cover, it becomes very,very uncomfortable.
This evening we handed our hire car back and we are back to using our feet and trolley buses to get around San Diego. But do I walk around with my cap on, or cap off. Decisions, decisions.