Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Last Day...Of Driving: Day 7

We woke up pretty early on Tuesday morning because Amy had to leave for work at 9:00.  Being a school teacher, Jason was already long gone but we had gotten a good visit in during the time we had on Monday night.

The last leg of our trip would take us all the way to the Pacific coast to my brother and sister-in-law's place in Hermosa Beach, CA.  Google said that it would take about six hours but at only 400 miles we thought it should be closer to five (assuming we maintained our pace from the previous few days).  Garrett and Nicole wouldn't be home until after 6:00 so we thought we'd spend a little time in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area.

We took a drive up north to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesen West.  Since it is still a private residence, you can't do a self guided tour and the shortest organized tour they offered lasted an hour.  We really weren't in the mood for a long tour so we looked around the bookstore and left to find somewhere to eat for lunch.  After driving around aimlessly for a little while, we wandered into old town Scottsdale where we found a nice bistro for lunch. 

After lunch, we started the drive across the desert.  On our way out of Phoenix we stopped for gas and were so overwhelmed by the heat.  The area is really pretty but it is just too hot!  It was great between the hours of 8 pm and 8 am but by mid-day the temperature was well over 110 degrees.  Phoenix must be really nice in the winter for so many people to endure the heat.

The drive was going well until we hit the California state line and the speed limit dropped way down.  That coupled with lots of road construction dashed our hopes of making it to Hermosa Beach in five hours.  The slow down and anticipation of completing our drive really made us weary.  For the first time in a week, we were suddenly fed up with driving. 

As we got closer to the greater Los Angeles area, our progress was further impeded by an increase in traffic and multiple highway interchanges.  The last seventy or so miles was the roughest.  It seemed like it took us two hours to drive that last stretch but by 7:15, we were unloading all of our luggage into Garrett and Nicoles apartment in sight of the Pacific Ocean.

At 2,261 miles, our drive was complete!  We've come a long way: only one week earlier we were doing our final packing in Memphis and beginning this journey.

Garrett and Nicole's freezer had stopped working the day before and they were forced to cook their frozen Cajun food that they had acquired on their last visit to Louisiana.  Darn!  We ate some fantastic chicken sausage, crawfish and crab pies and crab cakes.  It was a great way to end our trip!

After dinner we were understandably exhausted.  Garrett and Nicole had work in the morning and we had some final business to take care of Wednesday so we went to bed knowing that our time in the car was over. 

Day 7: Gilbert, AZ to Hermosa Beach, CA, 414 miles

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