That's a Big yes Sur

Trip Start Nov 30, 2011
1
7
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Trip End Feb 05, 2012


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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, December 3, 2011

Since reading about the coastal drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles some years ago it has been on my bucket list to drive the Big Sur. Today I got to do it.

We checked out of the Castle Inn as early as we could manage and headed out of town. First though, was a drive down the "worlds crookedest street" - that's Lombard Street just a couple of blocks from the Castle Inn and a street so steep that it descends diagonally rather than straight down. After maneuvering my way down the hill we headed for the Presidio - an area in the northern tip of the San Francisco peninsula and an ideal place to get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. As it was Saturday morning the place was buzzing with joggers and other active types. One woman stood with a group of friends and seemed to need to stretch a lot, constantly bending over in her super thin skin tight leggings right in front of us, clearly showing us her lack of underwear - not that I was looking of course.

We finally got underway and found Highway 1, which runs right down the coast all the way to Mexico. We were doing the most interesting part. Rather than taking the Google Maps suggestion, which was to run down the freeway and join Highway 1 at Santa Cruz, we took it from the very beginning at Lincoln Park all the way through Pacifica and Moss Beach and Half Moon Bay. There was some very pretty countryside and by the time we made it to Santa Cruz we were very glad we had come that way. From Santa Cruz through to Monterey the road is just multi lane freeway and not at all interesting but we stopped off at Carmel for lunch. This is a very pretty town but also very VERY touristy. Clearly an up-market weekend destination for the well-to-do of San Francisco.

Still, we had a nice lunch and headed on our way, the best part of the road yet to come. Pretty soon after Carmel the road reverted to a single carraigeway affair and became more interesting. The Big Sur stretch itself starts just after Carmel and continues right through to here at San Simeon where we are spending the night.

The views are spectacular and the coastline as rugged and captivating as you might imagine. Think of the drama of the Amalfi coastline in a setting more remote than the Great Ocean Road. We drove through wild nature reserves that decades ago was the playground of people like Henry Miller and Bohemian types. We made plenty of stops along the way, drinking in the view and so the sun was setting as we approached San Simeon. Wanting to watch the sun set we pulled in to a 'vista point' and stumbled across the elephant seal colony that lives at Piedras Blancas. It was a magical experience, the sun sinking into the western ocean, the seals just a few feet below us on the beach barking and rolling and fighting and playing and swimming. We stayed until it was almost dark and drove the last three miles to the Sea Breeze Inn where we are staying tonight. Very cheap, really comfortable place to stay. We got to have a swim and a spa in the heated pool of their sister motel and then went to a diner for dinner where we had a barbecued grill.

Another brilliant day.
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Comments

Anne Darmody on

Keep the comentary coming. It's just great following you around. Pity about the photos.

Gail Farran on

.... but I like the rollover maps so we can follow your 'tour'. Keep it coming - my virtual holiday is underway.

Lyn Hamilton on

Carmel? Isn't that the town Clint Eastwood was Mayor of ?? Did he or the locals 'make your day'?? As Gail said, our virtual holiday is well underway .. very envious of that sun-setting scene with the elephant seals!

guykb
guykb on

I have to admit, I did feel lucky...

Lubosh Hanuska on

Now Guy - surely there must be some way to get photos... should I mention it to Brian and he'll get onto it..! Otherwise you'll have to bring them back on the ipad.

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