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!