Stan and Ann in the Fifth Wheel travel blog

After 2 months and change, we are finally back.

From Gallup we traveled on Monday to Amarillo and again stayed in the KOA. It was very strange to pull in during July to temps in the 70s. Usually we use Amarillo as a transition from Colorado to the 90s and 100s and are miserable. This was a pleasant change.

On Tuesday we completed our journey. We again remarked how strange it was to pull through Childress and Wichita Falls with temps in the 70s and pouring down rain. The rain was a challenge at times and slowed us down, but it was such a pleasant drive temperature wise we didn't complain. We parked at the storage lot about 4:00, packed up our leftover food, clothes, laundry, etc. and were at the house by 5:00.

I think at this point it might be a good thing to reflect on our Grand Tour, more specifically I'd like to pass on a few things I learned about California.

1. Driving in California especially LA is a challenge. The "highways" are old and there's just not enough either lanes or highways to support the number of vehicles that try to use them everyday. Those that have been renovated with new surfaces tend to make you feel like you are a James Bond Martini (shaken not stirred). The older patched surfaces actually ride much smoother. Curious...

2. Getting on a highway especially at what they consider to be peak times and may actually be anytime of day is regulated by red lights similar to those Dallas had on Central Expressway that didn't help traffic. These don't either. There are still lines of cars waiting at the red light then racing to the end of the ramp only to have to wait for an opening in stop and go traffic.

3. Motorcycles drive between lanes all the time-especially when traffic is backed up. Scarey!

4. Drivers in LA are aggressive and expect you to be aggressive. They have no patience for those who change lanes at a normal speed. Add to that the tourists who are usually lost and drifting and the experience is often unique.

5. Everything is CROWDED. Beaches, major attractions, roads...Where do all these people come from?

6.Costs in California are higher, but not on everything. Tourist attractions and restaurants are over the top. The RV parks fancy themselves as resorts and charge accordingly. BUT groceries and fuel, for the most part was on par with Dallas. Only when we were out by the beach in Santa Monica and Malibu did we pay over $4 for diesel. Some places even thought $4.89 was reasonable. Not.

7. Many of the people at places like Disneyland and Universal Studios don't look like they could put two dimes together. Yet they stand at the ticket counter and count out their penny jar to buy tickets for several family members. Glad they can have a day of fun, but the mother in me thinks about priorities.

8. The beaches south of LA are gorgeous...crowded but gorgeous. Malibu Beach not so much...not that there aren't areas that are gorgeous in Malibu, but the beach is not as nice.

9. The wineries in Temecula are fabulous. The only advantage I see for Napa Valley is that they have been established so much longer and now have their wine sold around the country. I hope Temecula gets there soon. Their wine is too good to keep under wraps for long.

10. California is all about outdoors. San Diego in particular, but LA as well. Everybody is out enjoying the fabulous weather everyday. Definitely my kind of place.

As I sit in Plano with temperatures beginning to climb to the mid 90s with promises of 100s by next week, I miss the mild CA sunshine. But it's good to be home.

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