Friday, November 5, 2010

Completing our lap of the US

Natalia and Aurea, two lovely girls who live with Terrie, inspected Chris' bike before making a fond farewell.

Terrie, her son Greg, and Jay web-cast an on-line blog radio segment each Thursday from 3 to 4 pm PDT, in which Jay interviews metal artists. Chris was invited to be the guest for today, so we rode back into San Diego, California around lunch time. Instead of taking the highways, we rode down the Coast Highway, which was slower but more interesting. There were people swimming, surfing and exercising. Greg is a keen surfer staying out until it gets dark.

It seemed pretty warm, and when we arrived at Jay's learned that the temperature was 99 F.

We also learned that an engine on a QANTAS A380 had exploded on takeoff from Singapore, and their fleet of 5 aircraft were grounded pending safety checks (3 at LAX airport, apparently). Our flight back to Oz on Sunday is supposed to be on an A380 - who knows if it will be cancelled? (If QANTAS know, they aren't telling).

Chris's talk with Jay went off well. You can read/hear it here. Jay translated for the benefit of American listeners, explaining "aluminium" is actually "aluminum", and so on.

Greg(left) was in control of the technology while Jay(right) directed the interview with Chris.
When it was over, we said a rushed goodbye to Jay and Terrie and headed up the freeway to LA. We were expecting peak traffic and long delays and had a sense of dread in our hearts.

It was still 98 F as we mounted up. The first part of the journey onto the freeway was slow, but as we entered the on ramp we gunned the bike to merge into the traffic at 80 mph. There was a spot of congestion and we slowed to a complete stop briefly. Once we reached the carpool lane we picked up speed - motorcycles are allowed to use this lane on the extreme left of the road, along with vehicles carrying two or more people. There aren't many of the latter, so we enjoyed a smooth fast run when the other 5 lanes slowed to a crawl.

The traffic became quite heavy when we approached LA, and in the end it took us 2 hrs 15 minutes to cover the 105 miles. It was quite dark when we arrived.

We checked into the Carlton Motel on Long Beach Bvd, the same place we stayed in when we arrived in May. AJ, the friendly young manager was pleased to see us again and hear of our exploits.

We ate at a local Chinese restaurant before riding over to Long Beach Airport to pick up a hire car.

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