Death Defying Driving with the Beast.
Trip Start Apr 19, 2010
22Trip End May 20, 2010
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Today we drive to San Simeon, which began with going to get the hire car. Of course we were running a little late, but I got out the door at a respectable time of 9am. Well respectable if you are starting work ( Har Har) but not on holidays by god. In hindsight at the end of the day , all agreed having the extra hour and a half we had planned would have been perfect, allowing a couple of detours to see interesting things. Anyway, back to the morning.
I caught the same cable car as last time to Union Square, and went looking for a AT&T store to finally get my American phone sim. Of course when I got there at 9:30, it didnt open until 10am ! What the .... I was thinking. This is the US of A people
So Im talking to the guy, and I ask if he thinks all our luggage will fit.
"Hmmm, probably he says." (not the answer I wanted to hear)
"You sure I ask - I wouldn't want to get all the way back to my hotel, and find that out."
"I can upgrade you to a SUV ?"
"Hmmm, I suppose .. " masking my delight with my best fake poker tell.
"I can do it for only $30 per day - a %50 discount ?"
"Well, Ok then" - mentally doing a fist pump into the air
So I end up getting a 2010 Model SUV - that make and model escape me right now. I will take a photo of it for tomorrows nights blog. Anyway its a massive Gunmetal grey behemoth , that handles like its on skates. Only 2k on the clock and it has all the mod cons, which some of my school group friends are already familiar with in their own cars ... And speaking about baptism by fire. My first journey in it ( as you know we are going to be driving down Highway 1, cliff top driving, with the hundreds of meters drop only just there ..) was a nightmare of the utmost nerve wracking test of my driving skill I have ever faced. Precision control and lightning reflexes were called into use. Moves that I hadn't seen used since Tom Cruise in mission impossible ( you know the hanging upside down wire scene ?) were routinely put into practice.
Yes people, I am talking about the drive to get out of the hertz Hire company parking lot. It was in a dense multi-level parking garage, and my car was parked on the 4th floor. Driving out of this thing was like moving house, and two men carrying a over-sized prized glossy table around corners without scratching it. Juust designed to fit with no room for error. When they cant see the other end of the table, or know where to hold it
To be perfectly honest, it wasnt too bad at all. It needed %100 concentration of course. lol yeah I know - only for special occasions right ;) but you know what, hours later, half way to San Simeon, It already felt natural, and to make sense. You can find some pics of the views from the drive down the coast. It was the most amazing scenery I have ever had the pleasure to drive through
Char was of course terrified during the trip, and I felt sorry for her, as her side felt at times to be too close to the edge, and the massive drop. I lost count of the number of times she urgently asked me to move over. ( I am being VERY diplomatic here ... ) The photos don't convey the feeling the drop gives you and the almost magnetic pull of steep drop you think you can feel in your guts. I wouldnt recommend this drive heading south for a first timer to be honest, as one slip and you and your entire family is gone. I am so glad I did upgrade the car, because our original car as basically an american version of my car, a Toyota Camry.
It would have been overloaded with baggage and 4 people with a weak engine and handled very poorly. Our SUV had great big tyres with awsome grip. The road was dry and clean - no recent rain and oil issues, The weather was clear and not windy. If any of this had been different I would not have done the drive, and been disappointed greatly
The kids were obliviuos to the whole beauty of the place we were in. They had their faces stuck into their DS's and mobile phones, and Sean in particular was driving us crazy, he was full of energy and never was quiet. Until we took his DS off him, and forced him to look out the window and appreciate the view. As if death inspiring cliffs arn't enough for an 8 year old boy !
Lauren got into the spirit of it more than Sean, but not by much.
We also came across a new seal colony just before San Simeon, must of been several hundred of the huge smelly creatures. You can see Seans reaction to the smell in the photo lol
Anyway thats enough about the drive - but it did take 7.5 hours I think. At least 7. Then we arrived at our mid point stop, had dinner in a nice resturant and went to bed. I had a 3 Tip and Point Steak, which was 3 pointy pieces of New York Steak - Medium rare to perfection and super tender. Kids had some salad and fish and chips, Char a Fresh Salmon fillet.
Nite all - cammo.
P.S. Char is going to do a blog soon, she just keeps on falling asleep !
PPS The Beast refers to the Car, not Char on the drive down lol