Road Trip California

Trip Start Apr 08, 2007
Trip End Dec 22, 2007

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, January 24, 2008

3rd - 14th December 2007.

Our time in San Fran was at an end so we pointed the PT Cruiser south and headed down the famous Highway 1 scenic coastal highway. This road trip had been talked up by all the Californians we had met on our travels and we had been looking forward to it. Unfortunately, the weather decided not to co-operate. The ocean was a foggy stone grey with overhead cloud and drizzle. Not the most ideal conditions. It was still pretty spectacular though.

Our destination on day one was the small surf town called Santa Cruz. Late in the afternoon the swell was beginning to build. Quite a few surfers were out all wearing thick wetsuits, hoods, and boots. The water temperature was a frigid 11 degrees. Bbrrrrrr.

By the next morning the swell had built considerably. 12 to 15 foot waves crashed into the cliffs that are a feature of the coastline here. There were a few gutsy surfers out there taking it on. I had sold my only board as we left Costa Rica to avoid the ridiculous surfboard freight that airlines are charging these days, so I couldn't surf..... I probably wouldn't have gone out anyway, it was, er, a bit, er, small still for me!!! We drove around the nearby coastline checking out all the surfspots, some were big, some more manageable, all were cold. The swell peaked that afternoon with some massive sets and hundreds lined the coastline viewpoints watching. Watching fog that is, because all day the fog had been getting thicker. Through the soup you cold barely make out tiny surfers dropping into big waves.

Our next stop down the coast was Monterey. This area is a golfers paradise, a rich golfers paradise anyway. Home to a number of spectacular golf courses, including one of the most well known golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach. We drove the 17 Mile road that winds around the golf courses and along some stunning coastline. A thick sea fog hugged the exposed coastline but when we swung around the point and headed towards the protected bay that Pebble Beach is situated in, it cleared leaving us with a picture perfect day to watch some of the wealthy enjoy their round.

The next morning we took off down the coast heading for Santa Barbara, visiting a beach with a colony of elephant seals en route. More than 100 oversized ocean slugs lined the beach, sleeping and snoring away the day. We arrived in Santa Barbara late afternoon and were followed down the coast by some very cold winter weather. Icy winds started blowing that night. A lazy morning was followed by a walk into town, then out onto the pier. The walk on the pier was fairly short lived due to the cold.

The weather warmed up a bit the following day as we headed further south. We made a brief stop in Santa Monica to pick out a new board from our friend from Mexico, Spencer, who works at a surf shop there, before finding our new home at San Clemente. We found a motel with rooms right on the beach for $100 a night. It also had a kitchen so by cooking for ourselves we actually saved money. I went for my first surf on my new board at Oceanside but the waves were very small and the water very cold. We are spoilt with our water temps in Queensland.

One of our other friends from Mexico, Mikey, lived nearby. He came down for a surf the next morning but the tiny swell had all but disappeared. We couldn't find anywhere to surf so settled on breakfast instead, followed by a walk out onto the San Clemente pier.

We spent a few more days here cruising, taking in the relaxed Californian beach lifestyle. The weather was perfect, blue skies, light winds and warm sunshine. The waves even picked up slightly on our last day.

Our next and final stop was Fiji.....
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