After a bittersweet final breaky with the H&SCA team at the famous ‘Sears’ in San Francisco, Carol and I bumped out of Hotel Monaco with a blur of happy memories on board.

Sears in SF

Sears in San Francisco

Carol was going north to see her brother so she kindly drove me out of the city, across the extraordinary Golden Gate Bridge, to San Rafael where I had a hire car waiting. I was shaking in my boots a little about driving on the wrong side of the road without Coach Carol by my side – it’s been a while.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

We messed with the maps and my GPS for a bit then had a big hug and were on our way. I lasted precisely 5 minutes before taking a wrong turn (mishearing the GPS) and cursed loudly as I watched Carol sail up the Highway 101 on ramp with a distressed look on her face. Hilarious! I rectified the error and, within a couple of minutes, I was on her tail again. We parted company at Sonoma and I continued to Route 128 West towards Mendocino. I was in for a super treat!

It’s six hours later and I’ve just pulled into the funky seaside town of Eureka after many exquisite hours winding through the giant Redwoods and along the wild Northern Californian coast. My hire car is small and nippy, and took the corners really well. Bernard Fanning, The Paper Kites and The Pre Sets (among others) provided the soundtrack.

It was a shame not to have someone else there to enjoy it with me, but I don’t think it would have been a comfortable ride for a passenger.