Trip Start Jul 12, 2006
Trip End Jun 18, 2007

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Where I stayed
The Candle Inn

Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, September 3, 2006

We stopped at a little grocery store on the way out of town and bought breakfast (milk for the cornflakes and a mega sized coffee) and drove to Pismo Beach which is little town Pacific Coast highway. We had our usual struggle to find parking but then settled on a spot at the side of the highway outside someone's house. We spent about 5 minutes searching the street for signs about parking but deducted that if there wasn't a big sign telling us we couldn't park then we'd probably be ok. We walked down to the beach and was greeted at the end of the steps with a big sign telling us what we could and could do. Lee took a picture of the welcoming sign so I'll add it to the travelpod when I get a chance. We ate cornflakes on the beach, well Lee ate cornflakes and I ate sand and cornflakes because as soon as Lee handed me the bowl I dropped it in the sand by accident. Doh! Once our brekkie was devoured we headed up the beach to the pier. We were treated to group of dolphins swimming by. It was the largest group of dolphins I have ever seen. It was a real treat. They came quite close into shore, around where the surfers were and then swam back out to sea and past the end of the pier. It was worth stopping just to see that. Pismo Beach was a lovely little town, a proper seaside place with fish & chip shops, seafood everywhere and little giftshops where you can find almost anything made of shells. We didn't stop too long as we had to get up the coast, we carried on our drive along Highway 1, stopping at all the vista points along the way. We stopped at Elephant Seal cove and saw a group of seals on the beach. They don't do very much at all apart from laze in the sun, but it was cool to see them anyway.
We headed up the coast towards Monterey and decided that we'd camp somewhere along the way but as we got close we couldn't find a campsite nor could we get through to any on the phone. I phoned a few motels in our cheap accommodation brochure but they were all fully booked. It was getting dark and the highway we were on doesn't do street lighting so we pulled off at one of the Monterey exits and phoned a few more places, luckily coming across one on Fremont St that had rooms left and it was under $100 for the night. We headed to Fremont street, getting lost once on the way and had a drive up and down the street. We saw the motel that had a accom but also spotted a few other independent ones. A few U-turns later and the spotting of an Adult book-store next to a late night bar found us a cheap motel in-between the two. The Candle Inn was our home for the night for just $69, it must have been a long day because I did chuckle when the Indian guy said the price was $69 with the adult book store in full view outside the window!

We drove to Cannery row, which was meant to be the main hub and then back out again. We've worked out that you will always have stupid parking rules near anywhere good. So to get around them, you just drive about 4-5 blocks away and park on a residential street for free. It does need a good memory and a sense of direction to remember where you've parked (or a pen, paper and a map.) The place was lovely, lots of little shops and restaurant lined streets, a beach a few streets away and tons of people everywhere. We had a good look around and then found a great little restaurant serving fresh seafood. You could tell it was Labour day weekend as everywhere was packed. The drive home was amusing, everywhere look so different in the dark plus Lee'd had a few Stellas and I was driving. We took a 'detour' through old downtown Monterey, which was nice enough before finding the highway and luckily enough leading us to the exit we need for our hotel. I spotted the neon sign for the adult bookstore and headed towards the thumping music and we were back at our accommodation, phew! We were back for about 10pm so we stayed up for a bit to watch some TV. I also phoned my nephew as it's his birthday tomorrow and I had signal but managed to wake the whole house up at 8am - I forgot school doesn't go back till Wednesday!

As it was my sis phoned not long afterwards to tell us that Steve Urwin had died, we were both really gutted because he was a great guy. It's such a shame and such a loss.
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