Trip Start Aug 15, 2008
90Trip End Aug 14, 2009
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Onward down Highway 17 to Santa Cruz, a sandy beach resort at the north of Monterey Bay. In the 60's Santa Cruz was a hippy hangout & there are still a few ageing hippies hanging around (but enough of us).
The beach still has a boardwalk & amusement park with the famous 1924 wooden "Giant Dipper" roller coaster similar to that at Coney Island. The town is not too touristy but is looking a bit faded now.
We stopped overnight at Monterey which has loads of historic sites & buildings - but we found a cosy looking pub on Cannery Row & stayed there all evening drinking "wife beater" (Stella Tortoise), so we skipped the historical bit.
The next morning we went to our favourite beach, Carmel (where Clint Eastwood used to be mayor). It has quaint (expensive) boutiques & cafes on the main drag leading down to a lovely sandy beach which overlooks Pebble Beach Golf Club - It's the only golf course that I know that has all the fairways mowed in stripes (just like Wimbledon).
After lunch, before the inevitable afternoon fog rolled in from the sea to engulf Carmel, we drove down Highway 1 "Big Sur", the rocky coastline which extends for 20 miles south from the Carmel River. The road winds its way along the very rugged coast with many "Vista Points" where you could take photos of the sea fog.
Our next port of call was San Simeon where William Randolph Hearst built his hill-top "Castle" [see separate entry]
Morro Bay was the next town down the highway - its a little fishing village & popular weekend resort named after Morro Rock, a distinctive conical shaped rock sticking out of the harbor.
Morro Bay has pelicans, seals & fishing boats - all very picturesque, if smelly! The weather was not too good (foggy) so we decided to press on.
San Luis Obispo (SLO)- 29 October
Or "Life in the SLO Lane"
Colin, you could do with one of these !
Higuera Street has an abundance of good restaurants - pity we couldn't sample them all. This area is also the fastest growing wine area in California, producing some excellent & cheap wines (it also currently ships 80% of its grapes to Napa for them to produce their "local" wines!).
San Luis Obispo is inland, so we had an expedition to the seaside resort of Pismo Beach.
It has a pier, a prom, lots of cafes & a long beach. There were several surfers in their wet suits (the sea is still very cold) trying to catch a wave. As the waves were only 2 ft high it hardly seemed worth it.
Santa Barbara - 1st November 2008
We worked our way down Highway One via Solvang, a village built in the Danish style, all windmills & pretty pastel coloured houses - the Danish Pastries were lovely.
Our next port of call was Santa Barbara, another lovely beach resort with a wooden pier.