ROAD TRIP!!

Trip Start Apr 07, 2013
1
160
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Trip End Oct 07, 2013


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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

OK so it got to 5:30am and we hadn't slept a wink so gave up and went in search of a coffee and hot chocolate before getting the shuttle to the Advantage Car Rental office. Here we had a nasty shock as our very reasonable bargain quote that we had accepted was suddenly almost doubled when they added on the compulsory insurance. We stood a while arguing and managed to bring the price down a little but it was still way more than we had originally agreed with. With little other options for our intended exploration of the National parks, we had to reluctantly just bite our lips and go for it.

So, we now have a Dodge Avenger and all the freedom in the world! It's an automatic and for reasons unknown AP decided to use left-foot breaking. After our heads had bounced off the dashboard a few times, he did sensibly revert to the standard peddle usage. Without any sat-nav or the like, we immediately got a little lost and had a detour of driving round some bits of LA before we finally found the Pacific Coast Highway and properly hit the road!

We passed Santa Monica and then Malibu, which reminded me of bay watch with the lovely beach and lifeguard cabins! The surf looked great all along the coast and was really beautiful. It was also great that we could drive mostly right alongside it and pretty much always have a coastal view. We also went through Santa Barbara and Santa Monica before continuing up all on the Pacific Coastal highway 1.

Feeling extremely sleepy we pulled over in a parking bay next to the beach to get some air. There was a beautiful fresh breeze and we had a little stroll down to the water and along the beach. I ran around chasing seagulls for a bit, happy to be out of the car for a while, and with a lack of seashells to be found I collected a few stones instead. They are actually really beautiful colours and kind of marbled. Then we got back in and continued our drive (but now more awake!)

A little further on I noticed a sign for an 'elephant seal view point' so curiosity caused the need for investigation. Pulling in to the parking lot we could see it was quite busy. We walked along to the end with a boarded viewing platform overlooking the beach. Sprawled out on the sand below there were hundreds of elephant seals! They were mostly in clusters having big group cuddles and their size and quantity was quite staggering. Some moved up the beach which is entertaining to watch as they kind of do 'the worm' forward shuffle and all their blubber ripples along with them. Lots were also fidgeting and flicking sand over themselves so it was very fascinating and enjoyable to observe. And of course their noses are ridiculous.

So moving on we entered the Big Sur territory where the road just got even more incredible. We wound up and down the sides of woodland mountains right on the edge of the coast, with stunning views on every single turn. It is a seriously beautiful stretch of coastline and for sure the most scenic drive I think I have done. Bellies rumbling we pulled into an Inn which served some pretty tasty grub. We enquired into a room... at $170 a night it was a little out of our price range!

So back in the car we continued driving this dream road until we reached Monterey and some civilisation. Here we managed to find a Days Inn motel and pulled in to get a room. OMG it was like luxury!!! We had a huge queen sized bed with big comfy pillows, a properly clean and modern bathroom with fluffy towels, and even a fridge, microwave and TV. It is very sad and ridiculous how excited I was at this comparative luxury. I jumped up and down in a joyous flap and immediately ran a bath. Aaa bliss!
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