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Driving the PCH

Take your time

20150104 San Luis Obispo (2)

20150104 San Luis Obispo (2)

20150105 Morro Bay (26)

20150105 Morro Bay (26)

20150106 Pacific Coast Highway (30)

20150106 Pacific Coast Highway (30)

20150107 Monterey (1)

20150107 Monterey (1)

We have spent the past 4 days driving the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Ronnie and I completed this trip back in 1999 over 2 days, which was way too quick, so this time we decided to stop and enjoy more of the sights so are giving ourselves 4 days in total. Although it's only 400 miles between LA and San Francisco it's best to break the trip up and enjoy the drive.

We left LA via the Santa Monica highway and then North past Malibu (no star sightings). The road is generally double lane however there was some roadwork along the way and we were diverted to Thousand Oaks over the Santa Monica Mountains. We were so glad of this side-trip. Beautiful vistas and a number of tunnels to drive through as we made our way to our first stop, Camarillo and their Premium Outlet Shops to pick up some additional clothing. After a couple of hours shopping we continue North where the road becomes very windy so the travel is slower, but much more enjoyable as you are driving next to the Pacific Ocean.

We overnight in San Luis Obispo (SLO) for 2 nights. SLO is the self proclaimed happiest place in the USA and it certainly is a quaint little college (California Polytechnic University) town. The town is also close to Morro Bay and Morro Rock which is actually the plug from a volcano. Essentially all the loose matter around the volcano has eroded and washed away over the years leaving the imposing rock. There are 17 similar rocks in the area on the West Coast. Seeing the sun set over the Ocean was a great sight for a family that lives on the East coast of Australia.

Leaving SLO we had to first fuel the car with gas. You have to swipe your credit card at the bowser to allow you to fuel, however this failed as it does not accept foreign credit cards. After Ronnie speaks to the attendant and leaves her credit card with him, we start refueling. At $40 US to fill up, I was pretty happy as we had travelled 400 miles at this point.

The drive from SLO to Monterey where we are staying for the next 2 nights is easily the most enjoyable of the journey. Although this stretch is about 130 miles, you can take most of the day stopping at Hearst Castle, Piedras Blancas and the Elephant Seal rockery, a few spots to see whales breaching and Bixby bridge (famous from a number of movie scenes). Additionally, just South of Monterey is the small township of Carmel where Clint Eastwood was once the Mayor. Carmel is home to Pebble Beach golf course and the 17 mile drive around the headlands that includes the famous Lone Cypress tree a few hundred years old.

Monterey is now a tourist town but was previously a large fishing village and home to Cannery row, which was the epicenter for the sardine canning industry in the 1950's. It is also home to the creator of Dennis the Menace who created a playground that Alyssa enjoyed for a lazy couple of hours. Additionally we spent some time on Cannery Row and got lured into the Mirror Maze, apparently the latest craze from the UK where you walk through a maze of mirrors with 3D glasses, flashing lights and loud music. You are literally restricted to walking with your arms outstretched to feel your way through. Alyssa has a great time, made us do it 4 times in total, both forwards and backwards.

So, we are about to venture further North today, firstly through Santa Cruz on our way to Stanford, just South of San Francisco to stay with friends for the next week.

Posted by V3USA 08:37

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Is that chewing gum decorating the wall? What a novel idea :)

by vyrene smith

sure is, it's called 'Bubblegum Alley'. It was gross and I think you might even have been able to get a gentle waft of chewed gum every now and then.....

by V3USA

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