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Trip Report Trip Report: Part One:Chains,rentals Yosemite and oh so many other things

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OK so here goes my first trip report, long overdue thanks to all who have helped me in the past and apologies for for taking so long.
In planning our 3 week trip 2 of my biggest concerns were my husband getting used to driving in the USA and the weather. In particular the weather for our stay in Yosemite. Hubbie adapted so well to driving that he decided to keep the car for the 3 weeks rather than giving it up after 2 and the weather was perfect.

DAYS 1-2 LA
Stayed at the Elan Hotel which I would thoroughly recommend. First day taken up with organising our rental car and buying a cheap phone. We did the Warner Bros tour in the pouring rain (It never rains in California but girl don't they warn ya, it pours man it pours!)
Tour was worth doing inspite of the rain. We we stuck in LA traffic getting there but thanks to our cheapie phone we rang Warner Bros and they put us on a later tour-very helpful and efficent.
Highlight of our LA stay was dinner at Farmer's Market.

DAY 3 San Luis Obispo
Jumped into our sexy black Impala for our drive north. Stopped at the Griffith Observatory on the way out of town and very quickly realised that you do need a car to get around LA. We were blessed with very clear skies for our trip to the observatory and so had excellent views of the Hollywood sign.
Made a few stops along the way-crafts shops and the lovely town of Solvang.
Our overnight stop was at the fabulous Madonna Inn( I can hear the groans from the Fodors veterans!!!!) We stayed in the Caveman Room and we haven't laughed so much in years. It was our 25th wedding anniversary and the lovely people at the Madonna Inn had a bottle of champagne with a helium balloon attached waiting for us in the room.
It was a lovely touch!
We took the advise I had read on previous posts and visited the men's toilet. There was a group of women loitering outside but they were too scared to go in. So I said well I'm going in to take photos and they followed. It was hilarious! You'll just have to visit to find out the secret of the men's toilet ( Caveman Room has the same facility)

DAY4 Big Sur/Monterey
Our food experience at the Madonna Inn was not a good one so we decided to breakfast elsewhere!
We drove to Morro Bay and had an excellent breakfast at The Top Dog Coffee bar. What a lovely place Morro Bay is!
We proceeded north and stopped where ever a beautiful vista called us!
One unforgetable stop was to check out the Piedras Blancas elephant seal colony to the north of Hearst Castle. Wow! So many gorgeous fat creatures lolling about and volunteer experts there happily answering questions.
Our northward journey continued my husband was starting to feel the stress of the winding road and the drops but I was loving it! We arrived at Nepenthe around 3 where we stopped for lunch. The wait for Nepenthe was too long for hubbie so we ate at Cafe Kevah instead which was fine as the food was good and the view from the patio breathtaking.
We continued north and I marvelled at how the landscape and vegetation was changing.
We arrived in Monterey in the early evening. I loved our trip along Big Sur but my husband found it tiring and a little stressful!
He was very glad to see our spacious room at the Holiday Inn Express!

DAYS 5-7 Monterey
We both loved Monterey. More lovely seals to look at and plenty of good restaurants to pick from.We enyoyed the Monterey Aquarium,Cannery row and Fishermans Wharf.
At dusk one evening we were driving and I noticed a bunch of deer just hanging around on a vacant block. I screamed at hubbie to stop the car so I could take photos. I managed to get really close to these magnificent creatures.
We made a quick trip to Carmel but this town was way too pretty for an " Aussie Bloke" so our visit was a brief one just long enough to enjoy a coffee and Cinnamon Pretzel at the Carmel Bakery. We did the 17 mile drive which is a great drive to check out the scenery.
Dinner at "Red Snapper "where I had an excellent Macadmia Crusted Halibut whilst watching the seals frolicking around the piers of Fisherman's Wharf.
The next morning we bid an all too hasty adieu to Monterey as we were keen to begin our drive to Yosemite.

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