The next day, they got up early. Once the car was packed with their suitcases, Maite checked them out while Kepa went to get coffee and breakfast. It wasn’t long before they were sitting in the car, ready to go.
“So, it’s almost five hours to Santa Barbara, where Javi lives,” said Kepa. “I say we drive down the coast and stop to look at the sites. Javi isn’t expecting us until late this evening, since he had to work today. So, there is no rush to get there.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to drive first?” asked Maite as she started the car.
Kepa chuckled. “You drew the short straw. You get to navigate us out of the big city.”
While Maite was used to driving in Bilbao, with its small streets and thick traffic, driving in California was a different experience. Even early in the morning, the freeway was full of cars. Sometimes, she was able to reach the speed limit, though other cars still flew by her; she could almost feel their anger at her for going “slow.” Other times, they were almost at a standstill. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to how the traffic flowed.
“Won’t it be nice when they have self-driving cars and we don’t have to think about traffic?” said Maite as she brought the car to a halt on the freeway, traffic backed up for what seemed forever. “We can just sit back and do anything else as the car takes us to our destination.”
“What? And miss out in the joy of controlling the beast, feeling the engine rev as you hit the gas?”
“Ha! Can you even feel the engine in that thing you have back at home?”
“No, but my next car…” began Kepa wistfully.
“You keep dreaming,” interrupted Maite. “Where would you even drive such a beast back home? On those roads? You’d end up killing yourself or, worse, some bicyclist.”
Kepa shrugged. “Maybe I’ll build a little track on the land behind the baserri, something where I can take my car out for a spin.”
Maite laughed. “And maybe I’ll build a particle accelerator in my basement.”
“What basement? You live in an apartment!”
Kepa laughed as the traffic started moving again. He looked at his phone. “It seems there is no route that follows the coast all the way down, unfortunately. How about we swing over to Monterey for lunch and then back inland until we get further south to San Luis Obispo. I read that it has some interesting historical buildings.”
“That sounds good to me,” said Maite as she gave the rental a bit of gas, revving the engine as they started to move.
“See! You like it too!” exclaimed Kepa.
Maite smiled. “I never said I didn’t,” she said as she gave the car a little extra gas to swerve around the slower car in front of her.