After San Francisco we drove to Monterey and then went along 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach onto Carmel.
Our cruise through the Panama Canal started in Fort Lauderdale and would take us to Aruba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and finally San Francisco and then onto Monterey.
Leaving Marina, San Francisco on Monday 30th October
The garbage collection started at 6 am. This helped to wake us up to the noise of the traffic on Lombard. Most of our packing had all been done the night before. All that remained was for me to go to Noahs for coffee and this time bagels. The tables at the side of the counter were covered in orders being prepared for pickups.I’d guess over 30 bags and boxes were all being slowly filled.
My accent after a lousy night’s sleep was not helpful and the server wanted to know how I wanted my bagels as I was ordering regular coffees. Once we’d sorted out the order, I sat down to watch the production line of bagels going into the bags and boxes.
As I passed the Marina Apple store, everyone was at the back of the store having a lecture before opening. I wondered if this might be about the next iPhone?
Our Avis experience
After breakfast we finished the last bits of packing and I called Yellow Cabs for a ride down to the Avis office. The cab was a Ford SUV and all our suitcases could fit in the trunk. At the Avis office on Beach we unloaded everything and left the cases outside. We had hoped for a Ford Taurus as we’d really like the one we had had on our last US trip. Instead we were ‘upgraded’ to a Nissan Maxima at no extra cost. Our three cases only just fitted into the trunk bit that is jumping ahead.
I had signed my life away on all the forms presented at the Avis desk. The car was ‘around the corner’ in the next door multi-storey car park. We moved the cases around the corner and walked up the ramp and blipped the key so that we might see where the car was.
The Nissan was backed into a space almost at the top of the first ramp. We had to start it up and move it half out of the space just to get at the trunk. Our three cases just about fitted in with a lot of pushing and pulling. All of this was made more difficult by the absence of any lights around the car. Plus having the car jutting out out into the roadway was not popular with the other drivers in the cat park. It was with some relief that we moved out of the space and parked across the empty spaces opposite to sort out our SatNav.
Out on Beach we finally had a GPS signal and the SatNav told me to turn left up Hyde and to go straight. As we drove up Hyde the car warned that the windscreen was reservoir was empty. I tried the washers and was rewarded by a water spray that not only covered the windscreen but blasted up over the roof to the back window!
Heading out of the city
After a few turns and a lot of traffic we reached the Southbound 101 and headed out of the City. We passed familiar places on 101 and also noticed all the changes to the names on the buildings.
The SatNav was programmed to take us to Santa Cruz rather than Monterey. This made sure we would go over Highway 17 rather than stay on the Southbound freeways. The traffic on the freeways was very heavy in both directions as it was still rush hour.
Once we were on Highway 17 the traffic in our direction eased. This road goes over the hills to Santa Cruz. I like Highway 17, as in UK parlance, it is a dual carriageway with very un-American twisty bends. Drivers are requested to put their headlights on once the road begins to twist and climb up. As we were descending towards Santa Cruz the road going back up was under repair and the backed up traffic stretched for miles. Now it was time to set the SatNav for our hotel in Monterey.