We had to be at the car rental shop in Anchorage at 7:30am the next day to hand back the keys. We were 137 miles away so this meant a very early morning for us. Luckily when we woke up, it was still light! We jumped in the car and on we went…for a few minutes. I got pulled over by the police. Ok, I may have been going a few miles above the speed limit and he was probably right in stopping me, but we had a schedule to keep. He told me to slow down and I was allowed to continue. He didn’t mention the fact humans might be walking about; it was because there may be moose on the road. Priorities.
We got to the rental company to find that they had told us to get there for 8am. That extra 30 minutes we could have had in bed! As we were waiting by the gates, Stef saw a sign that said they didn’t open till 10! I wasn’t doing too well at times in Alaska. To make matters worse, we had to wait till 5pm for our flight! After a healthy McDonalds breakfast, we handed back the keys and got to the airport.
As we had about 6 hours to kill at the airport, the free Wi-Fi helped a lot. Stef kept up to date with the latest adventures of the Kardashians (Hollyoaks actually! -Stef) and I wrote a blog. We boarded the flight and it was quite uneventful apart from when they called out for a doctor. I was going to put my hand up just to be curious but a real doctor got there before me – damn you and your education!
Now the next 6 months was going to be the biggest adventure we have taken up. We planned to drive through the remaining 48 states. I’d planned a rough route to take whilst at work (thank you tax payer) and was excited to put it into play.
We had arranged a rental car for the whole 6 months. It wasn’t cheap but at least everything was included such as insurance and recovery if anything went wrong. After making it to Alamo in LAX, we approached the desk and spoke to a man called Marvin. He was a very cheerful man and as it was 11pm, it was a pleasure to speak to him. When he saw that we had the car for a while, we explained to him what we were doing. He was very interested and I showed him the route we were taking. I had booked a premium car. It wasn’t quite the massive Cadillac Escalade that we had a few years prior, but it was still better than a standard car. After the checking in process was complete, he said to us that he would sort us out with an upgrade. Brilliant. He led us into the car lot and we were surrounded with many types of cars. Straight away I saw a brand new black Chrysler 300. This thing was beautiful. Big chrome wheels. Big front grill. If I were a pimp or drug dealer, this would be my car of choice! I’d say you could put about 3 bodies in the boot.
He asked if we wanted an SUV but I gently slipped in that I liked the 300. He walked to it and started writing it up. I was like the Cheshire cat with a smile from ear to ear.
After getting into the car, we were greeted with an amazing sight. It was pure luxury. It had a massive screen with an in car computer. It had built-in sat-nav with Sirus Satellite Radio. On the screen it can tell you film reviews and where to watch them, global weather, where the cheapest gas is and even the scores on your favourite sports team! I must say that the radio is the best. You always get reception – even in the middle of a desert. At the moment we are addicted to listening to Howard Stern. The man is so funny and rude. The car has some other amazing features such as making the seats and steering wheel hot or cold. One of the best things ever though is the cup holders. Got a cold bottle? You can make the holder ice cold. Got a coffee? You can make it hot! There are so many good things about this car and it will be a pleasure to have for the next 6 months.
Thank you Marvin. You are our hero.
We drove off the lot in to California and headed to our first hotel, Backpackers Paradise Hostel in Inglewood. It was cheap and was just so we could have a little sleep before the next day. I pulled in and it did not look like a good area. I really did not want to leave the car outside – I was prepared to sleep in it. But Stef went and got the keys while I parked up. Both shattered, we went to bed. There were no gunshots heard at night, which was a relief. It was a nice room though but nothing to write home about…Paradise is wasn’t!
The next day we decided to go to San Diego to visit their world famous San Diego Zoo. It had been in one of my favourite films, Anchor-man, so I couldn’t wait. To be honest, it wasn’t one of the best zoos we have been too. Sure it was a nice zoo, but I guess we’d seen so many of the animals in other zoos, it just wasn’t that special. We’d hunted for bears the whole time in Alaska so seeing them in a caged habitat was going to be a sure thing. Unfortunately, there was only one of them out and he was hiding in a cave! The highlight of the zoo was definitely the panda bear and toucan. I still think zoos are cruel. The animals always look so sad but at least they looked they they were treated better than the ones on Thailand.