I've recently come crashing back into reality after getting married and going on honeymoon. My wife and I went to California and went on a road trip from San Francisco to San Diego. There was a hell of a lot to do in two weeks and I wanted to share some of the highlights and observations I picked up along the way.
Man, this state has it all! (Apart from reliable WiFi hotspots - even though there are many)
Before this trip I had never driven on "the other side" of the road and was a bit nervous of getting out of San Francisco onto the free way without satellite navigation. Thankfully, I think the grid system makes it easier to drive urban areas than anywhere in the UK. I wasn't too bothered about getting lost or taking the long way round as I am a bit of a petrol head and have a thing for American muscle cars. I was impressed with my Dodge Charger but it wouldn't make sense in any other country, it's just too big.
Pretty much every stop was a highlight. I have been lucky enough to visit some fine wine regions in Australia (The Yarra Valley being a favourite) but Napa Valley has the quality wine, food and hospitality which gives it the edge for me.
Being able to freely wonder the Google campus was of course a personal favourite as well. I can see how the open and relaxed atmosphere around the place aids productivity.
Driving highway one was a great way to see the nature of the west coast. There are lots of birds and seals to see as well as some great state parks to explore, not to mention the neck-straining tall redwood trees. In most parks we went to, there was a distinct lack of wildlife so it was eerily peaceful.
The north and the south of the route varied wildly. From the small and quaint Carmel with it's vintage looking shops nested in the hills to the many wooden piers of Santa Barbara and people-busy streets of Santa Monica.
After a getting through a lot of the vast expanse of urban jungle that is LA, it was refreshing to hit a more chilled San Diego which had a bit more culture to it. I recommend anyone who goes to take the Segway tour of the Gas lamp quarter and harbour front because a) you learn a lot and b) Segways are pretty damn cool.
After coming back to the UK, apart from thinking how much colder it was. I thought what British people might be like if we all said more things like "have a nice day" and "you're welcome". I also wonder where we'd be if the American can-do attitude ever caught on here.
As a final note, I'm hoping to post some pictures somewhere. The decent ones will probably end up on my Flickr page.