Driving in LA! OMG!
OMG I drove through LA, it was a mad experience but I loved it, by the time I got to LA I had been driving for a week in USA and worked out their driving habits and when to give way etc. Most of the cities are built on a grid system which means at every junction there is a cross roads, they don’t do roundabouts much here; anyway at these crossroads there are pedestrian crossings on each corner.
If there are no traffic lights you basically have to stop at every stop sign at every junction, not a rolling stop a dead stop, and if you don’t you will be fined, even if there is nothing coming the other way you still have to stop, which is probably why they drive automatics all that stopping and starting. Basically the person who arrives at the junction first stops and then whoever comes next gives way to the person who was there before them and that’s how it works and it works very well once you have worked out what is going on.
Obviously at traffic lights you stop on red and go on green BUT in USA you are allowed to turn right on a red provided no one is on the crossing or no other traffic is coming, so you might be sitting there waiting for the lights to go green while behind you someone is beeping you to move off. The problem is if you wait for the light to turn green this invariably means the crossing on your right is in action and on the busy streets people are always crossing so you have to watch out for them while trying to turn.
Anyway because all the cities are the same, once you have worked out the rules, then they apply in all cities. The problem with LA is it is very busy but it has this special buzz about it, the same as San Francisco really, I suppose it was exciting for me because I had seen these places in the films and now here I was driving down Hollywood Boulevard looking at the stars on the pavements watching everyone get their pics taken with the Disney stars present.
I then drove down Rodeo Drive which I had wanted to do since heading for LA, as I remember it from the film “Pretty Woman”. I borrowed a dress from Ingrid in San Francisco which is identical to the dress Julia Roberts wore in the film so I wore it to drive through LA, Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard where you can spot the Hollywood sign in the mountains and Beverley Wilshire. It was such fun driving through LA, I didn’t feel nervous at all, I felt at home driving in the US, it is very manic but it is also a huge buzz and the roads are huge with many lanes on some of the larger roads but as long as you apply the same rules you can’t go far wrong!! UNTIL YOU REACH THE FREEWAY!! OMG!!
I left Virginia’s place in Long Beach at about 10 am with the aim of driving through LA then heading south to San Diego to meet with an old friend from Cycle club back home, who had since moved to San Diego to get married.
I was supposed to leave LA about 1pm which would give me enough time to do what I needed and join the Highway number 5 heading south, BUT the traffic was manic and it took me four hours just to get out of LA, no time for stopping on the way down as I was supposed to meet Julius at 6pm at the place he works which was the Trek bike shop in San Diego as Fabian Cancellara was coming there to meet the cyclists. Fabian Cancellara is a famous cyclist form Switzerland who raced in the Tour De France so I was pretty keen to get there and have a picture taken with Julius and Fabian with my Bynea kit on, flying the Dragon of the Welsh flag! Woop woop!! How amazing is that, me and Julius who is originally from Phillipines but grew up in Wales with our “small cycle club” BYNEA jerseys on meeting Fabian Cancellara from Switzerland, all in San Diego!! What a life!! LOL!!! Living the dream!!
After meeting Cancellara, Julius took me for a wonderful Vietnamese meal!! What a day!! WOW!!