2. My hopes of a rental car upgrade were answered! Instead of the Ford Focus, I wound up with a spiffy silver Chrysler PT Cruiser, which although I was initially sceptical, turned out to be quite fun to drive. As usual, the central locking and alarm systems baffled me a bit.
3. San Francisco was full of people complaining about how cold it was.
4. People will surf in Southern California even when the Pacific Ocean is clearly bloody freezing cold.
5. The drive up the Pacific Coast Highway from Newport Beach to Long Beach is about 50,000 times less picturesque than you might think, unless you like shabby liquor stores, dull-looking inland lagoons and signposts to military installations.
6. I drove through what I believe may be the only roundabout on the continental United States. And even took the right exit.
7. Oh yes, complaining about the second flight... actually, it wasn't that bad at all, just a little hour-plus hop from San Francisco to John Wayne airport in Orange County. They almost had to abort the landing though, as OC was socked in with fog. Southern California looked like the arctic from the sky, all covered in white courtesy of some strange weather phenomenon they call the "Marine Layer".
8. The third flight, home from LA, was tedious as a) we left over an hour late for some vaguely-specified reason involving cabin baggage; b) as usual, my headset didn't work and I couldn't hear the movie soundtrack; and c) the captain kept insisting that we were in imminent danger of turbulence, so that nobody was allowed to have laptop computers out and in operation. The turbulence, of course, never materialized.
9. There is excellent Japanese food to be had in a very boring part of a tech-park/industrial estate on Irvine Center Drive. Contact me for details if you're interested.
10. After a couple of days in California, I was despairing of seeing any interesting vehicles, but also relieved at not seeing the horrendous Scion xB like last time. Until two of them passed me, on the last day, on the way to the Los Angeles airport. But that was offset by a couple of nicely tricked-out Dodge Chargers, a handful of well-dressed Mustangs, and a fast-moving BMW M5. None of which is among the most beautiful vehicles ever, but fun nonetheless.
EDIT: I forgot to mention the Bentley Continental GT, another ugly but doubtless fun-to-drive car that whipped past me on Interstate 405.
11. Also as usual - I'm glad to be home.