Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Slow and Scenic Route

As you may have previously noted, the idea of returning to public transport after selling our wheels was not being greeted with the utmost excitement by my travel companion C.P. and I. Not a great sign when we're about to launch into five months of backpacking around Central and South America – bus central we hear.

It’s not that I’m against public transport as a concept. I can even handle the waiting, the random public and the potential boredom.  I’m just dead against the way they limit the exploratory mode of travelling. By selecting a bus or train as your mode of transport, you are obviously limited to main routes and bigger centres - the road most travelled. Which usually means more tourist traps and less of the fun stuff.

So what did we do after our first back-to-bussing trip? We got ourselves a rental car of course! Come on, what would you if your option was to bus seven hours down the inland interstate from San Francisco to Los Angeles or to take two days driving down the famous Pacific Coast Highway, meandering through small surf towns and epic coastlines? I thought so. With a little encouragement (read: help) from C.P.’s mother, we hired a hybrid in true Californian style and headed on our way.

Best. Decision. Ever. The perfect finale to our Great American Road Trip, the Pacific Coast Highway cruises down the entire West Coast of America, hugging dramatic cliff tops and beautiful beaches as it curves right into the sunny shores of LA. We discovered beach front amusement parks, happened upon a vintage car fair, dined at just one more diner and watched possibly the best sunset of our lives.

After two months inland, the return to the coast whet our appetite and left us longing for more. Overbooked hotel debacle aside (long story), we headed to the airport, leaving just enough time to accidentally spit water all over a customs officer while trying to empty my water bottle pre security liquids screening. Luckily he saw the humour in it - it was his joke that caused the mishap after all - and we were ushered through the gates to the sunny shores of Mexico.

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