California; I’ve been meaning to get there for twenty years. Most memorably in the summer of 92 as a student we drove Route 66 in an gold Mazda RX8 . We almost made it but in New Mexico I got news from home and had to take the Greyhound back to New York and an early flight home.
So last year when a good friend announced he was getting married in Texas I took the chance to finally make a California road trip happen.
It was a great wedding – Austin, Texas is one of the coolest towns I know, although 30ºC in April isn’t that cool. And driving around in an enormous Chrysler with gas prices cheaper than mineral water is a very guilty pleasure. But after the wedding, waiting for my flight to San Fransisco it felt like the adventure was starting properly. One of my favourite things to do when visiting a new city is to watch a classic movie set there. You are spoiled for choice with San Fransisco, but I opted for Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Just a fabulous movie, with groundbreaking cinematography and San Fransisco looking box fresh.
After a surprisingly long flight we started to descend to SFX. The airport is build is on land reclaimed from the bay – so looking down as you land it is slightly concerning that all you can see is water until the very last minute. From the Airport you can get an easy BART train(Bay Area Rapid Transport) right to the city centre. First impressions were mixed however. I arrived at Powell Street, and lugged bags heavy with riding gear, up the escalator to arrive a dark, frankly slightly squalid street, and San Fransisco seems to be on the receiving end of the US failure to care for the homeless. Market Street really is not the most glamorous part of town. Hotels are expensive too. I got a last minute deal at the Best Western Plus Americana on 7th Street which was fun – it is a refurbished Art Deco motel, found a Chipotle to get something to eat and crashed out.