Route 66-ish Days 31/32
And so we say farewell..... to San Francisco, California and the USA. We got up just after 4 am, loaded up the car and drove to the airport (easliy found even without a working GPS as it's on the main highway that comes over the Golden Gate). We dropped off the car, which had travelled about 4,100 miles with us, and checked in for our Virgin USA flight to Chicago. We enjoyed finding that SF airport has a yoga room (in the Recompose Area - where else?) SFO is a very laid-back kind of airport: the announcements chasing people who were late boarding sounded more like something from The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy than the normal peremptory list of names. Oh, and Virgin's onboard safety video is hilarious - which of course is a great way to ensure people watch it.
I was pleased to see that on our Chicago - London flight there was a lady wearing a hijab. Excellent, I thought, all those Islamophobic bigots will have run screaming from the terminal and we can all fly in peace. And despite what we'd been led to expect, the security screenings in the USA were neither lengthy nor ill-tempered. I can't see why so many people complain about them. (The one in London was worse, to be honest, and we were predisposed to be irritated by that one as we were already late for boarding our flight.)
So there you are. 32 days of travelling, just over 4,100 miles of driving, twelve states (Indiana only by accident, but still....), meeting Joe and B, meeting Aric Clark, staying with Chip and Eddie. Seeing four major cities and a few smaller ones, encountering black, Hispanic and native American culture up close and personal. Riding trains, buses, streetcars, cablecars, subways, helicopters, boats and of course cars. Fifties neon, retro diners and motels, fancy hotels, fine dining. Catfish, collard greens, pancakes, eggs over hard, bagels, bread pudding, frozen custard. Wolves, white tigers, blue whales, elephant seals, condors, hummingbirds and a roadrunner. By the time we left San Francisco it was beginning to seem a very long time since we had arrived in Chicago, all wide-eyed innocence.