Malibu and Santa Monica via Hwy 23!
Trip Start Dec 19, 2010
66Trip End Apr 13, 2011
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We didn't realize just how rugged the coastal mountains are along this part of the coast. Although the pavement was good, it was just two lanes and the switchbacks started almost immediately as we climbed and climbed through a fairly rugged valley. Before heading into the heart of the mountains we had some wonderful views back towards the valley, a prime agricultural area surrounded by development. Once in the mountains the road twisted and turned as motorcycles and trucks passed us, turned around, came back towards us and then passed us again
We spotted the Pacific long before we reached it. The western slope of the mountains is quite steep and we spent a long time working our way down through a series of switchbacks - the sharpest ones just before reaching the coastal highway. By this time it was 2:30 and we were looking for lunch so pulled into the first 'likely looking' spot for seafood and were pleased to discover that we had stopped at Paradise Cove, the site of the filming of the movie Gidget and the TV series Sea Hunt. This was beach-comer heaven back in the 60's. Today it is a very pricey access point to the beach. Fortunately we weren't fighting summer crowds. We even had to pay to park at the restaurant - part of which was refundable with proof of an order of $20 or more! I imagine they have a lot of people trying to use their parking lot to access the beach as it is one of the only access points for the public along this section of the coast. Lunch was good. I had a selection of several different kinds of seafood, Don played it safe with a hamburger! The drive through the mountains had delayed us enough that we didn't have time to stop in Malibu or Santa Monica - a disappointment for me but Don is a little fed up with the traffic in this area. I think he is ready to head to the desert.
We headed back through LA in late afternoon traffic and it was quite busy but moving well. There is so much to see and do here I think you would have to visit a number of times to follow-up on even a fraction of the things that would interest you. This is one place that I think it might be worth paying the money to do a whole day city tour.