Drive Across America II- Welcome to a hotel in California!

Outside of Marfa, Tx. Must say, this is pretty cool! Desert Art!

The car coming off lease and the unused miles has given me two excuses to cross the USA, the last time 11 years ago.  I am in California now and will post some pics.  Here was the route:

1. Mobile/Baton Rouge 2.Austin 3. San Antonio 4. Marfa, TX 5. Albuquerque, NM 6. Flagstaff, AZ 7-8. Zion National Park,UT 9. Las Vegas, NV 10-11.Yosemite National Park, CA 12. Berkeley, CA 13. San Francisco 14-15. Napa Valley 16. San Francisco 17. Monterey 18. San Luis Obispo 19. Santa Barbara 20. Los Angeles

Saw some friends, made some friends, had a blast. Averaged just over 26 MPG, drove a total of 4500 miles, and saw some of the most spectacular scenery of our wonderful country. Encountered a I-10 Speed trap in Louisiana that reduced the speed limit from 70 to 50 (apparently, never saw that sign, it was raining), visited Austin and San Antonio where i stayed at the famous Menger Hotel that dates back to the mid-1800’s. I saw the famous Prada Store in the middle of nowhere, toured museums, had a chip in my windshield fixed in El Paso, spent the night in a wonderful hotel in Flagstaff, the 1920’s era Monte Vista. Drove a drive that is probably the best one ever so far for me, Flagstaff, AZ using 89 north to 89a where you cross the Grand Canyon and end up in Zion National Park, where I was Glamping for 2 nights at ‘Under Canvas’. This drive is as much a must do as I can think of. Yosemite Park is fantastic too and seeing the famous ‘El Capitan’ and ‘Half Dome’ (to name a few) in person was a treat. Staying at the historic 1920’s Yosemite Lodge was touristy but worth it! Traveling north to spend one night in Berkeley at the old Claremont Hotel, I began to encounter smoke from the devastating fires in Paradise, CA where almost 14,000 homes have been lost. As of writing this, they have quit looking for bodies and expect almost 300 have died. The smoke was dense in the Bay area. In spite of numerous attempts to remove the charm of that old hotel, it has plenty left. It also was built in the 1920’s. Napa Valley never disappoints with visits to a new winery, Promise, and one of my favorites, Hourglass. The 17 mile drive around Pebble Beach, down to Moneterey did not disappoint at all, and the next day down US1 I ended up having lunch overlooking the ocean at ‘Rocky Point Restuarant’. San Luis Obispo had a cool new hotel called the Grenada and their bistro was great for dinner. The next night I met up with one of my former boat mates and took him to dinner in Santa Barbara at a fantastic Italian spot, Trattatoria Vittoria. The next day, Thanksgiving, I drove to see the fire damage in Malibu, had Thanksgiving with my friend from Atlanta Danny and his friends who cooked up quite a feast in Woodland Hills and ended up at the Mayfair Hotel in LA with drinks with my friend Ed. The next morning, I gave the keys to the car to the Mercedes dealer in LA and flew home….whew!

Drive Across America II

Day one on Pandora
Texas Capitol Austin
The Admiral (Bill Hulsey) shows me Austin. My first trip there and long overdue.
Vietnam Memorial San Antonio
Remember the Bobbo!
I asked a Dorito Chip delivery guy the name of this while getting gas at the only place for a hundred miles. ‘Mount Titty’ he said awkwardly.
Gallup, NM had to have a fantastic hole in the wall lunch spot and yes it did!
11 years ago I did Drive I. I never saw Rte 66. Well hello hello!!
Oldest continually operating hotel in Arizona. If these ghosts could talk! Maybe they will!!
I truly am having a blast driving alone across the country. Sirius helps. Pandora too. Book on tape, check. Bar open at sundown.

Ft. Lauderdale-Okeechobee Waterway-Captiva Island-Cabbage Key-Longboat Key-Cabbage Key again-Sanibel-Marco Island-Key West-Marathon-Miami-Ft Lauderdale

P1060863 P1060871 P1060941 P1060944 P1060975 P1060981P1050554 P1070099 P1070115 P1070128 P1070134 P1070146 P1070156 P1070167I have always wanted to take the waterway across the State of Florida, and finally did that. I started on the east coast and entered the canal at Stuart, FL. Great things to see and it gets you into the heartland of Old Florida. Roland Martin Marina was bustling with bass fishermen busy by day that are thirsty by night. Then the trip took us to Ft. Meyers, Sanibel Island, Cabbage Key, and Useppa Island.

I just LOVE Cabbage Key, so get over there and visit sometime. I wrote a trip advisor post, but there is nothing much to do there and by the end of the day you don’t get that done, so great place to disappear from the grid and enjoy nature. www.cabbagekey.com.

The next leg of the journey was to the southern part of Sanibel Island, to Marco Island, Marathon, Key West, Marathon, Miami, and then to Ft Lauderdale.  We stopped for fuel and a visit with friends in Coral Gables and I noticed both bildge pumps were running…..not a good sign.  We raced to get out of the marina as we were taking on water RAPIDLY from a blown shaft seal.  I called my office and we found a lift that was waiting for us and all was well.

I highly recommend you take this circumnavigation yourself over a few months if necessary.  You’ll have a blast!

Day 14-16: Mackinaw Island

What a fantastic port to enjoy.  Part caribbean like, part Mediterranean. Fantastic for sure.   The Grand Hotel is and horses power the taxi’s. My guests and I have had a blast.  Met nice people and all that!  I must say it is much nicer after the day trippers leave and the night begins.