Posted by: gardner310 | March 6, 2010

Coast Drive

Scenic viewpoint Hwy 1

You know we were off the ship for a few weeks while the ship was in Vancouver for the Olympics.  We traveled in Florida and California.

Highway 1.  What images does that summon for anyone who knows California?  A twisting road with a view?  Yep, that’s it.

We left LA and decided to drive as far as Morrow Bay or Cambria the first night.  Started off dry, ended up wet finally clearing up in Cambria about 5pm as we walked around the town.  The road is not to be trifled with, that is for sure.  It runs along the coast,  cut into the side of the mountains and is not for the faint of heart.  But the views and twists are amazing.  I will tell you that there are a lot of dead zones for cell service enroute, at least with AT&T.  That surprised me.

We stopped in Santa Barbara to look for Oprah’s house. Just kidding.  We went to the mission and drove out on to the pier but it was raining so our touring was kept to a minimum.  We did find a delightful little place, Andersen’s Bakery, for lunch.  The city has a very upscale downtown that I would have loved to shop but I am not a rainy day shopper, much to Michael’s relief.

We drove on past Hearst Castle and through Morro Bay.  Did the tourist thing and headed out to Morro Rock for photos.  Still raining so the photos? Not so hot.  Stopped for the night in Cambria a delightful town with two sections, east and west, full of artisan shops, bed and breakfast inns and cafes.  Moonstone Beach across the highway provides a row of small hotels across the street from the beach.  The town built a great boardwalk along the cliff side that provides spectacular views and a lovely place for a good walk.  By 5pm the sun was out and we enjoyed some good bar food and a glass of wine at Moustachio Petes.  By all means consider a weekend stay in Cambria.

Downtown Cambria

Cambria Coast

Net morning the sun was still shining – yeah!  Got a couple of nice shots of the area before we left.  Back on route 1 we started north again and had some spectacular scenery to gape at while negotiating the curves.  Fog settled in and we lost our view and our road on occasion.

We stopped at Big Sur, which has a history of being a place for those looking to find themselves.  Esalen Institute is located there, devoted to the exploration of human potential.  There are also some 5* resorts there like the Post Ranch Resort.  Our coffee stop was River Inn, a complex that includes a pub, gift shop, restaurant and the inn.  I was reading the bulletin board and just started laughing.  Whew s the last time you were looking for a yurt rental?  See the photo.  I thought, how appropriate for Big Sur.

Cruised through San Francisco on 19th Avenue easily and over the Golden Gate Bridge to San Rafael and our friends’ home.  It was a couple of long days in the car but the coast road is a winner.  Just do it.


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