Mid California Coast

Trip Start Mar 28, 2012
Trip End May 24, 2012

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Where I stayed
SeaVenture Beach Hotel Pismo Beach
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Big Sur, Pismo Beach

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Our last full day began with another early start. We joined the commuter traffic heading south on 101 and drove over the Golden Gate Bridge for the last time. We headed down CA1 and picked up the coast (which meant we couldn't pay homage in Cupertino)! Coffee and bagel in Santa Cruz and lunch overlooking Monterey Bay on the beach at Marina - nice. 

Knowing that the most spectacular coastal drive lay ahead of us we were eager to press on and so we were soon back on the road to cover the remaining 156 miles to Pismo Beach. We were not disappointed. The road clings to the cliff edge with azure ocean with snow-white breakers on the other side. The colours and spectacular views reminded me of the Amalfi Coast of Italy. The road was at times slow and often road works slowed our progress even more. We crossed a number of spectacular bridges that span the creeks that tumble into the Pacific Ocean. The 70 mile route, known as the Big Sur, is truly awe-inspiring and offers something unique. From all the hundreds of miles of the Pacific Coastline we had travelled, this section was without doubt the most spectacular. With clear blue skies and temperatures in the high 70's (24℃) it was a truly remarkable and memorable journey. Like so much of what we've seen, it would be easy to spend a leisurely week on this one stretch and still not do it justice.

One thing we did not expect to encounter was the Elephant Seal Colony at the Piedras Blancas Rookery between San Simeon and Cambria. As you can see from my photos, the beach was stuffed full of massive Elephant Seals - weighing in at up to 5000lbs and measuring 16' in length. the noise and the smell were something else! You can check out a live webcam here.

The coastal plain was opening up by now and we continued south through Moro Bay, passing San Luis Obispo and on to our stop for our last night in Pismo Beach. We have been extremely grateful for our sat-nav which has guided us to each location and helped us to navigate the often complex and sometimes scary junctions that American roads can have. Priceless.

I had reserved our best accommodation for our last night. We checked into the beach-front SeaVenture Hotel and I was offered an upgrade to the best room in the hotel. I managed to negotiate the upgrade down from $75 to $50 and we took it. It was worth every cent. As well as the complimentary bottle of Champagne and free wine with dinner in the hotel's restaurant, our corner room sported two private balconies. The balcony over the beach, looking towards the ocean had a hot-tub. It is the corner-ocean room on this page. As soon as the champagne arrived we we in! Sitting under the blazing sun, listening to the ocean and the sound of the tub's water jets enjoying a drink - a wonderful way to draw an exhilarating holiday to a close.

We felt we should splash out on our last night and booked a table in the hotel's third floor restaurant requesting a window seat with views over the beach and ocean. The menu did not disappoint and the food was presented and cooked with devotion and flair. We enjoyed:

macadamia crusted, with pommes frites,
bacon wrapped asparagus and lemon aioli

topped with sautéed mushrooms and shallots,
with garlic roasted mashed potatoes,
mixed baby vegetables and
a black peppercorn sauce

We both had a cocktail  before we returned to the hot tub where we turned out the lights and lay there listening to the ocean and watching shooting stars in the clear night sky. Awesome!

We both wished we had booked a week's stay in the SeaVenture, but we needed to press on to Los Angeles and the inevitable flight home.
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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