The first time I saw one of these marvels of engineering was in Bibione in 1982. It was the summer when the Voll-family of five decided it was a good idea to cross Europe in their small Audi 80 from Norway to Italy for a 2 week holiday. Now in Santa Barbara here it was again, in all its shimmering glory. The elegant curves, the body work, the upholstery and the bell...and best of all, it was available to rent for a mere 25 bucks. It made my day in an instant, and I was safely in the knowlegde that it would elevate our cool factor even further. So we took it for a spin along the beach in Santa Barbara...and boy did we get lots of looks...pure jelousy undoubtedly...although for some reason Kath did not think so. I ignored the sentiment and pressed on pedalling our single Surrey up and down the beach...repeatedly until my legs got too tired to carry on.
12 hours earlier we had landed in Los Angeles; our delayed flight arrived at 3am in the morning so we stayed over at an airport hotel. Picking up a car the next morning we promptly headed out from the city following the pacific highway up north along the coast. Stopping off in Malibu for a spot of lunch at Duke's (oddly a Hawaiian style restaurent we had tried to get into in Waikiki without luck 2 days earlier) which was pretty impressive...although judging by some of the make-up and plastic looking patrons in the restaurant it was clear we were not far from LA. Then continuing along the spectacular pacific coastline to Santa Barbara we found ourselves at Hotel Mar Monte.
Trying to forget about leaving the spectacular single Surrey in Santa Barbara, we pressed on up the coast towards Carmel, our next destination. Again, the mountains dropping into the ocean and the road snaking its way along the coast was memorable. At one point we stopped at a beach where all we could see was a vast sea of blubber...I am not taking about obese Americans, but hundreds of seal elephants and their pups huddled together on the shoreline. A sudden Noridc urge to club the animals rushed through the V-man, but remembering we were not in clubbing territory, I decided to resist such activity.