Ann wanted to get home RIGHT NOW. The best way is non-stop flight from LAX to Charlotte. Yeah, we know the hurricanes are zoomin’ around the Carolinas. We carefully checked this out. Charlotte is over 150 miles inland, as the crow flies, from the coast. And a whole bunch of rain in Belmont, NC, spinning off a coastal hurricane is a heap better than California desert temperatures in early September. We know the Bakersfield area desert temperatures can get a lot hotter. They don’t have to. We’re all ready to leave anyway. Trust us on this.We drove with Jerry and Ann to LA last night and stayed in a sweet old Travelodge Hotel next to the airport. Travelodge’s Sleepy Bear’s image is still on the soaps, the paper, the bill, and the signs. Our ground floor rooms opened up onto little patios surrounding the pool courtyard, ornamented with huge jade bushes and banana trees under the palms. We ate our breakfast together outside and read the paper awhile. Then we loaded up into Jerry’s truck and drove the one mile to the USAIR terminal. Debbie hopped out and helped Ann and Jerry get to security before she gave them both big hugs and sent them off.
I’d been dreading, all night, the drive out of LA on I-405. This is an incredibly crowded and jammed-up piece of six-lane (each way) highway, and confirms what we believed anyway. We don’t want to commute anywhere. People who do this (I apologize if you do) either are, will be driven, nuts by this kind of environment. Our blessing is the timing of our departure. We left LAX at 1000 hrs and had the rubber-band or yo-yo traffic jams, where everyone goes fifty mph then five then up again then not, until we were out near Van Nuys. Despite this we made our 110 miles in just over two hours to return to Bakersfield. Well heck, I could commute too, right? No way! I was so glad when traffic opened up and we could set the truck on cruise and tie a rope on the steering wheel and take a nap. Well, we could have, the road became so straight once we came out of the mountains and north of Lebec.
What a difference one hundred miles makes. And not so much the distance as the benefits from irrigation. We left the green green grass of LA’s homes and businesses and headed up through the mountains and down again, heading north.The landscape became very stark and forbidding. No houses and the trees are only in a few pockets out in the distance. The panorama is mostly a set of nutmeg browns with a few accents of grey stone and charred desert grass areas on the hills.
We’re back in Bakersfield for the night after a surprisingly easy drive today. Ann and Jerry have made it to Belmont, NC. Debbie and I went to the swimming pool for a little while this afternoon, relaxing before our three long driving days to Vancouver, BC. We’re glad to have traveled into, and out of, LA without incident. We may return, but we don’t know why we would. There are so many other areas more inviting to RVs than the LA highways. One day in LA is enough.