Route 1 drive
Trip Start Jun 20, 2010
74Trip End Dec 23, 2010
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Where I stayed
Our first stop on Route 1 was Carmel and Monterey. Carmel is known for its boutique shops, antique jewellery stores, fine restaurants, art galleries and unique scenery – a sort of cultural getaway (all wasted on us except the restaurants and the beautiful beaches). We spent 2 nights in Carmel visiting Monterey bay on the second day. Monterey is known for its diving and its aquatic wildlife which includes whales, seals, sea otters and sea lions that are at home in the big kelp fields just off the main shore. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a sea otter and many sea lions that at this time of the year come ashore to malt. In Monterey we hired bikes and rode along the 17mile scenic coast line – absolutely stunning – this gets a special mention as this was the first time in 16 years that Kate had ridden a bike after a nasty accident – she made me proud!!
After Carmel we hit the road again to drive the Big Sur – this is an exceptionally breath taking drive that is about 90 miles long. The drive hugs the coast line with sheer drops into the rugged ocean. Kate was not happy as driving on the right hand side in a left hand drive car put her close to the edge of the road. There were a few moments where there was silence in the car – not for taking in the view rather Kate being terrified that she was going over the cliff (Mazza – Kate made that same noise that you made on our way to Drew’s wedding and yep – there were a few diamonds cultivated;))
Along the route we stopped off for some brunch at a place called Nepenthe (http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/) – thanks for the tip Chuck and Ash. A great place with outstanding views – but unfortunately the day was masked by a thick fog that was coming off the sea so we didn’t see everything in its full glory.
About 2 hours into the journey and we stopped in at San Simeon for the night. It is not the biggest place in the world (a population 440). The place that we stayed in definitely would remind you of those horror motels that you wouldn’t want to stay at (Amelia – you know what we are talking about), but we were lucky enough to see some Elephant Seals and were treated to an amazing sunset (although it was freezing!!)
The next day saw us journey to Santa Barbara. After San Simeon this place was like a heaving metropolis. Linda thanks for giving us advice to stop here. Santa Barbara is known as the Californian Riviera. This place was superb. Beautiful weather, a fantastic high street with amazing restaurants and shops, great beeches lined with tall palm trees (with an incredible amount of firm bodied woman playing volleyball – guess where we had our picnic lunch???), and...... our hotel was not a motel anymore – we were in heaven. After our Thai meal in the evening (the restaurant was voted best Thai Restaurant in Santa Barbara) we took a walk along the high street and ended up in a book store buying the second book of the Steig Larson trilogy for Kate. While we were there we started chatting to a guy that worked in the book store who told us of a place called Bart’s Books – in Ojai (about 45 mins drive from Santa Barbara).
So our last day of travelling towards LA involved a detour via Bart’s Books. What an incredible place to visit. This place is one of the biggest open air book shops in the world that has thousands of second hand books that have been donated and can be purchased
Our journey then ended with a drive down route 1 going through Malibu (with some Pamela Anderson action) and then on Los Angeles. We only stayed in LA for a night as the following day was the long drive from California through Nevada to Las Vegas – yeah baby!!!! One thing I have to mention here is that I have driven in some horrendous traffic and felt at ease, but driving on the wrong side of the road, in a left hand drive car in rush hour traffic in LA with 7 lanes is not my idea of fun and it was me that was popping out diamonds this time.
The next stop will be Vegas. We will either be coming home early after having lost all our cash – or ever better, having won millions of dollars – keep your fingers crossed for us (Joe – Kate would like some of your luck please!!!!)
We hope that you are all well where ever you are in the world. Keep the comments on the blogs coming – it is nice to hear from you.