DATE: Thursday 7 September, 1995

PLACE: San Francisco to San Simeon


REMARKS: The day begins with another hearty breakfast - Desiree and the girls are real fans of these. My job now is to collect the rental car for the drive south while Desiree completes the packing and settling up.

A cab drive to the Depot in the city is a waste of time and money: they tell me their instructions have the car to be collected at the airport. No amount of bluster, complaint, or threat of my going to another company can shift them - the earliest they can have a car is 'maybe' 11-12 o'clock!

With no alternative I go back to the Hotel (another $10 cab ride) and pass on the bad news. We then have to wait while a cab which will accept a credit card is arranged. This delivers us to the rental depot at the airport and costs us another $40.

While collecting the car, Sarah discovers she has left her case at the hotel - thank god she has discovered it now rather than later! We therefore have to make another adjustment to our plans: return to the city.

The hotel is found easily, and driving on the 'wrong' side of the road is now not so much of a problem - so long as I concentrate! The housekeeper has put Sarah's case in a cupboard, so we reclaim it and somehow manage to squeeze it into the boot. Now we are back in the city, a couple of other chores might as well be completed: cash a last travellers-cheque at the Amex Office (where I have to queue), and find Mervyn's Department store.

Everyone seems to be glad to be back in Mervyn's. I left my denim shorts in Venice, so they are my priority. Desiree wants and finds a watch, more underwear and sunglasses.

Now, at about 1330, we can finally head south!

Our aim is to get halfway to Los Angeles - about 6 hours driving. We start on freeways, and the American suburbs and cities appear to stretch forever. However, even these must pass, and pass they do. We head into the hills and the redwood forests - great tracts of lovely varied coniferous forest; the hills are lower than I had expected, but the forests, as in Switzerland, appeal because they are not plantations.

We drive within sight of the Pacific Ocean, and around an increasingly rugged and precipitate coastline; a lovely contrast to the cities we have seen over the last couple of months.

We decide to pause at Carmel, where Clint Eastwood is Mayor, but he declines to show himself. The place is a lovely small town, obviously tightly covenanted, maintaining a consistent appearance, and reminding me of what Taupo could look like with more trees. We have arrived just as the power goes off, so choices for someplace to eat are a little restricted However, we do find food, and then, while returning to the car, venture into a toy store.

Desiree is the only one to buy anything, and that is a toy she has hankered after since she was a child; needless to say it also delights the kids.

We travel on into the gathering dusk, along what is now a coastline reminiscent of Kaikoura and the southern Wairarapa: steep sandstone cliffs deeply eroded, gentling into a narrow coastal plain abutting hills of impressive proportions.

San Simeon greets us through the dusk, and we choose the first motel with a heated pool - the kids again deserve a swim after being trapped in the car for so long.

Refreshed by the swim, we dine in and retire to the distant sound of the Ocean, muffled by a dense sea mist.







San Simeon

All the photos in one place!



San Simeon

Maps & Aerial Photos

Our thanks to all & sundry