Friday, April 12, 2013

Southern California: long drive #2

This was the second day in a row with a super long drive. I’m thinking I need to limit our drives to four hours a day. Those are the most comfortable; especially considering the fact that we stop at least every hour, dragging a four hour drive into easily six hours. When I was planning the trip, a six and a half hour drive didn’t seem like it was long, but in reality, when stops are included, it becomes a ten hour driving day. It might be fine to do once in a while, but two days in a row was a bit rough on me.

River handles it fine. At times, he likes to sprawl out on his seat and actually reach over and put his head on my lap. And at other times, he’s curled up in his round, doggie sleeping position. And then sometimes he likes to sit up and stare out the windshield with me. But it was only very recently that he’s discovered the joy of leaning against the door and hanging his head out the window. But now that he’s discovered it, it is becoming one of his positions.

We drove for about four hours before we lost the sunlight. We did stop at one beach for a little romp, but I tried to limit myself. It was hard not to stop at all of the beautiful places we passed through, including Davenport, Big Sur, and so many other parks, beaches and vista points, but I knew the more we stopped, the more we’d have to drive in the dark of night, so I kept driving.

I did have to stop in Santa Cruz, though. I hit some 5 oclock commuter traffic leaving the city. I sat in it for a while and then I concluded that it was stupid to sit here in traffic when I didn’t HAVE to. Instead I took the next exit and drove through Capitola to the beach. I sat and ate some of my food in the car and took River on a very short walk on the beach. Then I consulted my Mini Navigation for an alternate route, avoiding the traffic. She led me through town and deposited me back on the highway after the congestion had cleared.

So onward we rolled. We drove and drove. It was dark and the coast highway is not well  lit. It was all blackness and curves. My life was those reflectors in two rows (one white and one yellow) that defined the road for me.

Mini Nav said I was due to arrive in Carpinteria at 12:15. At about ten, I started getting road hypnotized. I found that I was spacing out for short periods at a time and I was struggling to keep my attention on the road. I was physically restless and mentally checking out of the driving process. I knew I wasn’t good for two more hours, so I made a decision to stop at the next Motel 6 I passed.

I entered it into my Nav System and she told me there was on in Buellton, only about ten miles from me. And as luck would have it, they did have a room available for me.
I checked in, we ate some food and crashed.

In the morning, I got up, refilled the tank, and headed for Santa Barbara.

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