American Road Trip part 10 – End of The Road and ‘The Big Finish’

Familiar Faces in Far Off Places.

For Lucie x

By Mandy.

Just north of Cambria is the town of San Simeon, the starting point of the “Big Sur”, a 90 mile section of coastline where the Santa Lucia mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. With its stunning scenery and dramatic twists and turns it’s incomparable to anywhere we had travelled previously. The 90 mile stretch ends in Carmel, a town known for its fairytale cottages and Clint Eastwood who served as Mayor from 1986 to 1988.


As I have said previously this part of the Californian coastline is a far cry from what I had imagined, we compared it to certain coastal roads in Cornwall, an almost Celtic feel to the whole experience. Hugging the coast with spectacular views of the ocean had a calming effect on both of us and we hadn’t spoken for over an hour.


The mixed feeling of wanting to do everything and nothing at all was ever prevailing. One simple but memorable moment for me was at Bixby Canyon Bridge, near the end of The Big Sur if you are heading North. We stopped at one of the many Vista’s to breath in its air and take advantage of the visuals. It’s one of the tallest single span concrete bridges in the world. Built in 1932 and at 360ft it also has the longest concrete arch span on the California State Highway System. It transports you from craggy rock to craggy rock over Bixby Creek and the Pacific Ocean.


We’d noticed there were a lot of younger people cycling the route and the road leading up to the bridge was arduous and winding.

“Hey, has anyone ever told you you look like the Dude?” Coming from a guy with thighs of steel, and the stamina and determination of The Hulk when things aren’t going his way.

“Yeah, well that’s just like your opinion man” Was Ian’s reply

“Ha ha cool, he looks like the Dude” and steel thigh Hulk man proceeded to high fine Ian before continuing up the slope.

“Well that’s just like your opinion man, where did that come from?” I asked

“The film”

“Which film?”

“The Big Lebowski”

“So what’s the bloody Dude?”

“No, who is the Dude?”

“You apparently”

“I’ll show you when we get some wifi”

Back in the car.

“So do you actually look like this Dude bloke?”

“It’s Jeff Bridges, kind of scruffy, lazy, long hair, dirty beard and a bit overweight with a cardigan”

“You don’t wear cardigans”

We booked ourselves into The Sea breeze motel in Pacifica at around 5.30pm, trying to come to terms with it being the last stay of our trip, it was bitter-sweet. The stunning location, right there on the beach was enough to keep us smiling. The guy at check in mentioned we were lucky, rooms were selling very quickly. There was a huge baseball game going on, National League champions San Francisco Giants and American League champions, Kansas City Royals.

I know not the first thing about Baseball, but got the impression that this was something big.

There were two double beds in our room and I felt it only right to tell the check in guy that our daughter would be joining us the next day..

“Would this be an extra charge” I enquired

“Excuse me?”

“An extra charge for our daughter, she’s arriving tomorrow?”

“I didn’t hear a thing, I know nothing”

Like this would happen in the UK.

Priorities, firstly check out this “Dude” guy and laugh hysterically, secondly upload some photos onto Facebook for my dad who had wanted to come with us but settled with my suggestion of keeping him updated about our roadtrip every step of the way in the form of photos. That way he could follow us on his map. He didn’t have a computer or phone so we settled for him borrowing the landlady’s on one of his many visits to the pub. I remained dedicated to this agreement every step of the way. He well, he forgot.

Trading at car shows and events up and down the country here in the UK for the last 16 years we have got to know a lot of people, some have become lifelong friends others we will recognise as being friends of friends .

As I’m flicking through my Facebook Newsfeed that evening I notice two guys that we see regularly at various events but had never spoken to. They were in the US and had been struggling to find accommodation in San Francisco for that evening, having only managed to find a place by the airport at a ridiculous price they were far from happy.

“Hey Ian you know the guy with the pink Mohican from the shows, he is in San Francisco with his mate, a bit pissed off at how much the prices have gone up because of the game”

“Pink mohican?”

“Yeah he used to go out with the girl with the legs. Hearses, they both have hearses”

“Oh him, that’s not pink it’s Purple!!”

“Ah ok, I’ve only ever seen him from a distance or at night, shall we mention to them that there are rooms here at a good price?”

“You could”

So I did and they thanked me and that was that, for then.


Lucie was on her way to us from Chicago, around a 4000km 50 hour train ride and we hadn’t had any contact from the point of her leaving.

Her travels across the eastern states  of the USA had made for a great story so far. Just over two months for her, it seemed strange that we were going to become part of that.

The last Facebook message from her  had told us where to be and when.

Just to mention how proud I am of this hippy child who has been travelling solo since around the age of 17, she’s 30 next month. Stories from her travels are told on her brief trips back to the UK. I’ve learnt that it’s not always the best idea to be aware of events as they are unfolding.

Next morning we headed 24 miles north to the Emeryville part of San Francisco and the Amtrak station. Being early we were able to check out a nearby Market. Maybe it doesn’t happen everywhere but the few markets we had encountered had been a great combination of wares, hot food, music and alcohol. Here in particular we also had a ‘Jenga’ of second-hand furniture, placed high on top of pick up beds, simulating precarious product placement and numerous possibilities to win the game. However on closer inspection there was an ingenious interlocking of chair and table legs creating an invisible force field holding all solidly in place.


The California Zephyr has been called one of the worlds greatest trains. I was feeling it to be an honour and a privilege to be in its presence, reason alone for a rise in emotion I wasn’t fully expecting. It slid gracefully into the station in the style of Jane Torvill just before she collapses triumphantly onto the ice. Gleaming stainless steel carriages featuring no fewer than four vista domes for sightseeing!

I’m usually fine up to that point, that moment when I see for the first time the mode of transport that is either taking Lucie away or bringing her back. Today there was a definite increase in my emotional instability. The train and its incredible journey together with Lucie’s own undeniably unique story, my own pride at the adventurer in her and her strength to never give up no matter what, were all contributing factors resulting in emotionally charged and irrational behaviour.

So there I was, holding Lucie’s little face to make sure it was still connected to her head properly. Checking out her tiny little body to see if she’d lost or gained weight, studying what she was she wearing, were these her own clothes or those of a moonshine runner named Troy from Tennessee?

“Where’s your luggage?”

I was bloody right, she didn’t want to worry us, she’s lost everything!

“Erm, I’m not sure”

“You look so tired”

“No haven’t slept much, the seats weren’t the best so slept on the floor under this guy’s seat”

“Which guy?”

“Just a guy, this guy”

And there he was , kindly placing her luggage at her feet, thanking her for her company over the last couple of days, brief hug, knowing nod, gone.

What was happening to me? I was once this cool!


Back in the car and she’s talking but the words were only being heard intermittently, “Horses, sun rise, sunset, viewing carriage, rivers, mountains, no food”

One sense at a time, I am still doing a full body scan with my eyes my ears will be available soon.

“No food, you haven’t eaten?”

“Well kind of, but the food on the train was really expensive!”


Our motel, as I’ve said, was in a great location, the building itself is set back from the ocean, rooms all on ground floor level opening up onto the car park which leads to the seafront. On that day some of the cars parked out front were taking on quite a bit of sea spray from the waves crashing up against the rocks. Pretty cool car park too, a good 50/50 balance of classics and modern.





The room was fine, basic but everything we needed although when Lucie arrived it was as if we were showing her around the luxury home of an overpaid footballer in Cheshire’s golden triangle!

“Is this mine?” Whilst gently stroking the “Retro” quilted finish of the double bed throw.


“All of it?”

“Unless you’ve got someone stashed away in your luggage”


Her eyes lit up

“Do we have wifi ?”




“Oh and there’s a TV and a shower, does it work?”

“Luce where have you been staying?”

“Nowhere as luxurious as this”

I received a message of thanks from the guy with the purple hair and to say they had checked in and maybe we would meet up later.

Nick’s restaurant and bar is part of the Hotel complex and specialises in seafood, it reminded me of the large room where you would be served breakfast during your stay at a Bournemouth hotel in the seventies. Unintentionally retro, but classy at the same time with great food.

Myself and Ian at this time were in two completely different places in our heads, he was listening to the screaming coming from different locations around the building. We had concluded it could only be the result of the type of tension that exudes from men of a certain age who follow competitive sports.

I however had locked onto part of a conversation Lucie was having with her new boyfriend in the UK about travelling to San Diego in the next few days.

“Yeah San Diego, not sure how I’m getting there yet, doesn’t seem to be an affordable direct route via public transport”

“Ian, Ian” He was outside attempting his best impersonation of Inspector Clouseau whilst staring through motel windows striving to confirm the source of the riot.


“Lucie is heading to San Diego in a day or two and she’s not sure how she’s going to get there”

Stepping away from the window he placed his back flat against the adjoining wall of the two rooms and invited me to do the same.

“How far is San Diego?”

I had already checked.

“500 miles!”

“She’ll work it out, these guys are watching the game, it’s mental!”

“Why is she going to San Diego?”

I hadn’t wanted to be too intrusive on her conversation but,

“I think it’s something to do with dogs”




We headed over to the restaurant and the purple guy was nowhere to be seen or his mate, the place was busy. Dinner was outstanding, and as we finished up the crowd dispersed and I spotted his mate across the room. I smiled and he looked at me as if I was planning to steal his main course and down his pint.

Oh this isn’t going to be easy. Turns out it was probably the easiest 8 hours I have ever spent with virtual strangers. Ok it wasn’t 8 hours but it flowed great.

It’s interesting how much you can learn about a person by listening to their travel stories. I guess a person’s choice of road trip is a personal thing and there were so many similarities in choice and future plans it was a weird kind of comforting and helped to justify my life time need to just keep moving.

I learnt that the next day they were driving down to Los Angeles and my alcohol consumption was enough to instigate a cunning plan. I excused myself and made my way back to our room where Lucie had disappeared to speak to her boyfriend.

“We keep getting cut off mum”

“Luce you’ve got to come back in, purple guy and his mate are heading to LA tomorrow”


“Get back in there and seduce their butts off !”


“I heard you were struggling to get to San Diego”


“I know but if you can get to LA you’re nearly there, come on!”

She unwillingly came back into the restaurant and dropped a few hints about her struggle. My drunken mum intuition could still sense she was more than a little bit uncomfortable.

I bonded with purple man and his mate that evening in a way that only happens I think when you are sharing your experiences and dreams, I’m convinced it’s not something that would’ve happened over a drink in the UK. So on top of everything else thank you America for giving me the opportunity to hook up with a couple of genuine like-minded crazy folk.

Lucie didn’t get her lift to LA, she hadn’t asked outright but talking to these guys at a later date they knew exactly what she was hinting at. They had a loose itinerary but that definitely hadn’t involved the 24 year old blonde daughter of a couple of people they had only just met . I got that.

Next morning we said our goodbyes to purple guy and his mate, I was envious of what lay ahead for them, it was near the beginning of their trip and ours was drawing to an end.

It was another beautiful day in northern California, cooler than we had experienced in most other places but we were lucky to not have had the fog which is a common weather phenomena in the San Francisco bay area and has apparently acquired the nickname “Karl”. The name derives from a Twitter account set up my an anonymous user. For years the fog had received bad press taking the blame for ruining social gatherings, and generally setting a mood of indifference and lethargy.

Strangely giving the fog a name has helped residents embrace its presence. Karl has 400,000 followers on twitter, an instagram account and is a published author with a book of photos and wisdom!


Lucie was itching to drive the hire car so we headed down the coast road to Half Moon Bay with her at the wheel.

When did she ever get to be a grown up ? When did I ever think that I would be sitting in the back of a Mustang on the Pacific Highway with my daughter in charge of whether we stick to the tarmac or do a “Thelma and Louise” over the cliff into the ocean below.



People who had been following our trip on Facebook were realising that it all was coming to an end, some were asking for a big finish, others were insisting on it.

“Something mind blowing needs to happen today or tomorrow” I was starting to feel obliged to provide an entertaining finale.

“Let’s run naked on the beach!” This was Lucie

“Keep going to Mexico” Ian

“I’m up for that. I could really eat a meat pie” enthused Lucie

“A Mexican one?”

“No, one from the chippy in town”

“Oh yeah, with thick gravy and mushy peas”

I wasn’t sure if it was the drop in temperature where we were or our brains sending out signals to our bodies to start storing up the fat reserves as it was November and bloody cold in the UK.

We pulled over to take in some spectacular views of the ocean and contemplated food, lots of it.

The plan was to drive and pull over at the next visibly obvious place that would satisfy our ever-increasing need for stodge, chips and a pint of something dirty.

Back in the car, heading south and simultaneously we spotted something magical, however our level of surprise was expressed quite differently.

“Shut the front door !” This was Lucie and translates as; I can’t believe what I’m seeing/hearing.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha” This was me, quite hysterically if I remember.

“They’re flying the Union Jack!” Ian, the artist and observer of the finest visual detail, always.

Cameron’s Pub! Cameron’s British pub even! Cameron, a guy who had moved to the US when he was 10 years old. His family are well-travelled but their roots lie in Newcastle upon Tyne.

We were each as equally excited as the other, a little emotional even.


From an early age I would immerse my overactive imagination into various travel scenarios and as a child I would act them out, each one with a Lee Marvin “Wandering Star” ending. Cindy’s beach buggy heads west to the foot of the wardrobe, I’d look back and wave at Bungle, Pippa Doll and a small French style ornament I’d named Sabrina, all whilst planning my next adventure from the end of the bunk bed.

As an adult and way more sophisticated, no more Cindy beach buggies for me, I made a promise to never indulge in the obsession of searching for the comforts of home whilst exploring other cultures. We had been here for almost 6 weeks though so surely it was allowed, I reminded Ian of this as justification for what we were about to do.

“You were craving Christmas dinner in Vegas, stew in Utah, we had it for breakfast remember? And I thought you were going to pass out with excitement in Arizona when you spotted self-serve homemade soup!”

“Oh yeah, it must just be in my DNA then, you can’t mess with that”

Cameron’s pub is quintessential of all that a British Pub used to be before they turned into just glorified eating places where you can purchase an alcoholic drink. Somewhere where it’s still OK to sit at the bar on a tall stool passing the time of day. 19 beers on tap and an impressive display of empty cans from around the world, a collection that apparently exceeds over 2000!


A vast and eclectic mix of typically British memorabilia adorns the walls and ceilings inside, whilst outside in the garden sits their very own vintage double-decker bus. Without discussing we jointly decided that’s where we were headed, but first, of course, the menu.

“They have pasties!!”

“Sausage and Mash!”

“Shepherds Pie”

“Fish and Chips”

Sensibly and so much out of character we discussed the sourcing of the ingredients. Would they be English style sausages? Would the Shepherds Pie have gravy like your granny used to make ? And then the fish, we were on the coast it was a no brainer. Looking back that was such a sensationally impressive display of willpower considering the overwhelming inner pressure for shortcrust and Bisto!


So would that be my attempt at a “Mindblowing” end to the story for all who were asking and following our Trip? ……… Pfft, I don’t think so.

Did we have an adventure to end all adventures when we, on our last day had to drive Lucie to San Diego? ……….. Nope, not that either. She managed to piece together a trip that involved numerous trains and buses, all at times that meant she wouldn’t be hanging around in dark places for too long. Result! Result that happened at 3.30am after 3 exhausting hours of exploring hundreds of options.

I had tried to go to sleep about 1am, which was about as successful as trying to have just “Five more minutes” when your alarm has already gone off seven times!

Twice I had opened my eyes to her little furrowed brow twitching in the glow of her laptop screen.

In a whispered tone, “Mum I’ve done it, finally”

“Brilliant what about tickets and stuff”


Immediately I felt a huge relief and then a weird emotion which comes with wondering if she’s going to be ok.

“When you leaving?”

“Tomorrow morning, same station you picked me up from. Are you OK to drop me off?”

“Yeah of course”

“You Ok?”

“Yeah where you off to after that?”

“I’m home for a while remember”

“Oh of course you are”, and at that I went to sleep.

We had already discussed the dogs. She would be working at a Dog rescue centre in San Diego. Like I shouldn’t have guessed that one.

“Do they put you up?”

“Yeah of course, I’ll be sleeping in the back of a Chevy Van”

“Chevy van, like a Dayvan you mean?”

“Yeah pretty much like the old one we used to have”



The train was late the next morning, the guy at the Kiosk had, I thought, recognised Lucie from somewhere when looking at her travel papers he announced.

“Lucie!” ……….. proceeded by

“In the sky with diamonds” The station was small and old style, the guy was too.

“Bet you hear that all the time don’t you” he grinned back at her.

“Yeah quite a bit” whilst sending an approving grin right back at him.

“The train is going to be around 25 minutes late” says the guy, at the same time making an announcement over the speakers to the platform warning of the same delay

“Train is going to be late, don’t get on the next train that stops at the station, it’s not yours. You’ll end up somewhere ya don wanna be”

I wondered how he knew that all the people stood on the platform were waiting for the late train. What about the people who did want to get on the next train that was going to stop at the station?

He looked at us.

“Look at them, they aren’t listening” and at that he offered to escort Lucie to her place on the platform whilst advising her on connecting trains.

“You don’t need to go out there yet do you?” I asked

“Best to be safe” he advised.

I checked her face was safely on her head and she was gone.


That day we washed the car at an all American super efficient hand car wash in the city, it was covered in sea salt to the point of having that collapsed “M” mark on the windscreen where you have tried to clear the screen, entirely for driving visibility purposes. The mark that we get here in the UK from dust and grime. The interior had somehow managed to accumulate a few kilos of beach too.

We drove, we floundered, we drank some stuff, we ate some stuff, we floundered some more, discussed the possibility of stealing the hire car, drank some more and slept our last sleep in the USA.


The following morning, I removed the polystyrene cool box and its stinky contents from the back of the car and placed it in the hotel room.

The obvious and most sensible thing to have done with it would have been to break it into small pieces and stick it in the trash, but it had been with us since around day three so neither of us were ready to do that. We left it on the small dressing table at the side of the TV.

The weather was a very fitting 17 degrees, overcast with a dampness to the air, breaking us in slowly for the UK. Maybe we were going to get the chance to see Karl before we left?

We shut our last door on our last motel and headed for San Francisco, it was a quite a few hours before we needed to be at the airport so we had time. The Sea had danced a special dance on the car the previous night and had offered up an extra thick layer of Salt. We had reluctantly decided on one more wash and then maybe a quick tour around the city.

One shiny car later and we found ourselves on a 432 lane highway.

“Look Ian a plane landing, we’re near the airport”

We hadn’t really much idea of the protocol for returning the car, but guessed it was self explanatory.

“Oh yeah” Ian replied.

“There’s the signs”

“We need to get out of these lanes they’re heading for the airport”

The volume of traffic made it easier to go with the flow than go against it.

“This is no fun at all, what do I do?”

“There’s the sign for Avis rental return, shall we just do it?”

A nod later and we were on the second floor of a multi story car park. A far cry from the sparkle and glamour of collection. We actually felt as if we had made a wrong turn and accidentally come in the tradesman’s entrance.

“Ian there are cleaning ladies ready to pounce, look as soon as you drive over that mark on the ground they’re on you like those tiny ninjas that live under hotel receptions”

“Oh yeah”

It’s so undignified, you don’t even get the chance to make sure its little face is still attached to its head

Ian shot me a look, I knew he was traumatised through his silence, his eyes were a very clear reflection of the turmoil going on in the side of his brain that deals with stress and makes him good at drawing. He summoned up words of a reasoning nature. I have known him long enough to be sure in thinking that the reasoning is purely for the purpose of his own sanity.

“To be fair those ladies probably know this car better than we do”

“There’s bloody hundreds of them!”

“Cars or cleaning persons?”


“The person that gets to clean this car has probably never met it before, and if they have it won’t have been a moving experience”

“Mandy we’re over the mark” and at that a tiny lady with a long-handled brush and wheeled accessories was running her fingers over my wiper whilst staring at us through the windscreen.

I turned to Ian

“I’m not ready”

“Nor me”

As both our feet touched concrete it may as well have signified a signed declaration, a Decree Absolute. The mustang was gone, after six long weeks of bonding it was gone.

Signing for its return was more complicated than it should have been. There was a lot of looking at paperwork, looking at each other, then back at us.

“What do you think the problem is?” Ian was wearing his “I’ve run out of Naples Yellow” frown.

“Oh I don’t know, maybe turning off traction control and purposely landing us backwards in a ditch, driving on unpaved roads, the lingering smell of hot stale shoes?”

Turns out they didn’t know what to do with us because we had had the car for over a month!


So I could tell you about the flight being delayed and a bit of turbulence or how this was Ian’s first ever trip abroad on a plane and how he couldn’t sleep and was pretty much terrified for the whole flight. I could tell you that on landing our taxi driver was late, a huge part of the M25 was closed, our living room window had been smashed, but luckily nothing was taken.

I could tell you about the battery being completely dead on the truck so the central locking didn’t work and we couldn’t get into the house because Ian had put the house keys in the truck.


I’m not going to tell you any of that because it’s miserable, so let’s all get back on the plane. As I mentioned Ian didn’t sleep, he needs to be fully responsive, alert and prepared for all eventualities, especially the one where the plane plummets uncontrollably through the air. Personally I would prefer to be asleep for that one.

I’m really good at sleeping, I would say it was my specialty and would most probably exceed on Mastermind with it as my specialised subject.

Ian has his strangeness and I honour his needs to cope in the best way that I can, sometimes I will poke his weirdness for my own pleasure but in all I get it.

I have my own weirdness and rules, these mostly revolve around sleeping and the definite dos and don’ts

When we first got together and shared a bed, Ian was the first to get up the following morning leaving me to sleep in.

First rule, never ever think it’s then a good idea to come back into the room an hour later turn the light on, rip the covers off the bed and laugh hysterically. This will never be funny.

Secondly after learning the first rule never then return to the room an hour later, turn on light and hand me a cup of tea. I have never drunk tea in my life and before I can function I need to get rid of the sticky gloop that is predominantly gluing my eyelids and lips together, doing so sends an instant message to my bladder and I need a pee!

“So is there any instance at all where I can wake you up and it would be ok?” He had asked about 3 weeks into our relationship.

“Yes, only if it’s snowing or if Tom Jones is in the building”


So here we were 30,000 plus feet in the air. I’m in the most beautiful slumber and Ian had been preparing himself for every possible case scenario for the last couple of hours.

He knows not to wake me, it’s right in there deep.

I feel a slight prod on my elbow but it doesn’t compute, and then my name is spoken ever so quietly followed by another prod a few seconds later.

I was pretty sure Tom wouldn’t be taking a commercial flight to Heathrow with the rest of us riff raff, and if it was snowing it wasn’t as if we needed to go out and clear the drive. He didn’t seem to be in a state of panic so I feigned sleep until I was able to drop off once more. But the prodding was becoming more regular and insistent.

I turned to look at Ian, he didn’t speak just lifted a finger and pointed to the screen at the back of the headrest in front of me.

“Northern Lights to the left side of the plane”

What an incredible rush of emotions.

It was on our bucket list, Something we were both desperate to experience, but holidays that offer tours can’t always confirm a sighting, and they’re expensive. We had even compiled a list as to other things we could do in the blistering cold and snow in case of a “No Show” to make a “Northern Light” holiday worthwhile, we had ruled out skiing.

My head shot round to the left hand side of the plane and to all of the people sleeping and missing out.

“The crew have made a window available at the back”

A small queue had formed, I panicked that it would be gone soon. I didn’t fully understand the nature of this force.

I joined the back of the queue of just three people, the first person stepped aside leaving space for the German lady behind. She took her place at the window for just a couple of seconds before turning to me.

“Have you seen them before?”

“No I haven’t, only TV footage”

“Here take my place, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them so many times”

“No really,”

“Come on in, I’m going back to my seat, enjoy”

And there we were after the most memorable six weeks, myself and Ian sharing a window at the back of a plane, 30,000ft up, somewhere around the Arctic Circle and the most epic display of ethereal magnificence. My eyes had been subjected to some extraordinary sights over the last few weeks, some which hadn’t made an immediate connection with my brain to decipher exactly what was going on.

This was an overwhelming mix of extremes, a visual and emotionally charging showcase, a finale to end all finales.


So that’s it……. The End……. I’m finding it difficult to stop typing so I will leave you with a short poem.


So I concluded with Aurora,

Determined not to bore ya,

But what were the chances,

Of ethereal dances,

Thanks for reading, I adore ya



I was surprised to learn it has taken me almost 3 years to complete the ten parts. If you have been following since part one you will know that Ian has nagged me continuously to do this and I procrastinated for as long as I could.

Coming back together 18 years ago after 20 years apart he had reminded me how I had always written as a kid.

“That was just for me though, messing about”

Back to the recent times and Ian’s website designer had created a blog on the website with the instruction to keep it updated to keep the website “Alive”.

Initially I started writing about our road trip for the purpose of the Website only, until I started to get feedback from all of you lovely folks who were actually taking the time out to read.

Feedback was coming in in the form of reviews, comments on the website, private messages and then people I had never spoken to before begging me for the next instalment whilst trading at the different events up and down the country through the Summer months!!


I was talking to a friend recently about what makes us happy in life. I remember saying that if I could live out my years knowing that I’d made some kind of difference at the end of it then I’d be done. Not long after that I received a message out of the blue from a friend neither myself nor Ian had spoken to for a while. He had thanked me for the blog and explained how it had inspired him to do a similar “Trip of a lifetime” with his son. It was a lovely message and a great feeling to have actually inspired someone.

It has been weird, exciting, humbling, and has helped bring back to me something that probably could have been lost forever. So thank you because seriously without the feedback I would’ve given up and probably kept the website alive with simple posts of where we would be trading next, any special offers or sneak previews of paintings in progress.

So, if I’ve managed to make you smile, capture you in a story, caused you to reminisce, inspired you to take your own first trip, excited you enough to take your 2nd, 3rd or 44th then that’s me happy.

I’m done. xxx

And if you missed the beginning here’s Part 1, ‘California Dreaming’ :

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