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cacofonie May 8th, 2011 07:04 PM

LA to SF, an itinerary around the landslide
Hi everyone,

My girlfriend and I planned this wonderful trip to spend 3 nights in LA, 2 nights in Santa Barbara, and then take our time driving up Big Sur to Monterrey for a night and into 3 nights in SF before flying back home to Canada.

We were *really* excited about the Big Sur, but, thanks to the recent landslide thats closed off the entire Big Sur from the south (which was reported literally HOURS after we booked our tickets), we've had to reconsider our trip.

We were thinking that we would scrap Monterrey, but we are split between booking a night at Pismo Beach, or rearrange to add an extra night near Manhattan beach just to chill out at the beach (we thought about Santa Monica but it looked like too much of a carnival for us).

So.... two questions: if you had to chose between a night near MB or pismo beach, which would you choose? Or is there anywhere else you would recommend?

Second, is it reasonable to drive from Santa Barbara to Hearst Castle, take a tour, and continue to drive up the 101 into SF in one day? Or is that overly ambitious?

Michael May 8th, 2011 09:31 PM

You could see if the Lucia lodge has room: and from there go over the mountains to the Hunter Liggett Military Reservation and then 101 (Google map Lucia and then look for the closest yellow road south of Lucia going over the mountains). That would be after visiting Hearst Castle.

janisj May 8th, 2011 09:43 PM

You can easily get around the slide area -- leave hwy 1 at Cambria and popover to 101 and up to Monterey. This is a less scenic leg but gets you to Carmel/Monterey faster. Then you can drive south quite a distance on hwy 1 to see Big Sur.

I'd stick w/ your original plan.

cacofonie May 9th, 2011 05:41 AM

Thanks for the responses!

I think Ill try and avoid the mountain roads.

Is it reasonable to do Monterrey - Big Sur and back to SF in one day?

ansh May 9th, 2011 07:16 AM

We are also planning to visit same route in later June, so i have done some good study of area.

I would advice to stick to your plan, too. If possible try to stay 1 night around Monterey or Santa Cruz. Landslide would cost you may be couple of hours only, you can still follow your plan.

You can of course do Monterey-Big Sur-SF in one day, but depends what you wanna do/see in those area. If you're planning for beautiful hikings in big sur, beach/aquarium in monterey, carmel downtown, santa-cruz boardwalk etc - then you should stay at least 1 night in that area.

wishing you good time in california, and looking forward to your trip report soon.

sf7307 May 9th, 2011 08:41 AM

Here's a report of a day trip my DH and I took a couple of years ago. We live a little south of San Francisco.

MichelleY May 9th, 2011 02:15 PM

Stick with your plan. The road may be all the way open by the time of your trip.

hopingtotravel May 10th, 2011 08:15 AM

We are planning to do some of that (in reverse) in a couple weeks. Last report I read it didn't sound like the road would be open.

I'm considering driving south from Carmel as far as the Naciemento-Fergusson road which is north of the landslide then taking that road over to 101 to continue south to Santa Barbara. Supposedly the road has hairpin turns and precipices. Have any of you actually driven it?

On the way back we have an overnight in Cambria. I'm wondering about the possibility of going to Hearst Castle in the a.m., then going back that 10 miles or so south to Hwy 46 to turn east, then get back to SFO the same day. Is that too much? We aren't flying out, but would turn in car, then go into the city.

spirobulldog May 10th, 2011 09:58 AM

I am going June 23-27. Any word on when the road might be open? We were planning on driving down to Hearst Castle from Monterey.

SAB May 10th, 2011 11:32 AM

As of May 4, CalTrans was estimating 4-8 weeks to clear the Alder Creek Slide.

"Geologic instability and debris falling on Highway 1 at Alder Creek (Post Mile 7.5), 40 miles south of Big Sur, have closed the roadway completely in both directions to all public, including motorized vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. THIS SECTION OF HWY. 1 REMAINS EXTREMELY UNSTABLE SO THE CLEAN-UP OPERATION IS PROCEEDING AT A SLOW BUT STEADY PACE NEARLY 300 FEET ABOVE THE ROADWAY. Two spyders (like a backhoe) and two bulldozers are removing slide debris and work crews are installing netting protection. Due to the physical constraints of this very difficult operation, the estimated opening date (subject to change) is now four to eight weeks from today."

Surfergirl May 10th, 2011 11:50 AM

I agree with Janis -- that is almost exactly what I'd do. Because continuing all the way up from Santa Barbara to San Franciso, then drive back down to Monterey, then Big Sur, then back up to SF will be mostly spent in the car.

It's a 30 minute drive from Monterey to Big Sur, and I have done this drive at least 20 times in all kinds of weather. And it is a beautiful ride, it really is.

So, my suggestion is to continue up from Santa Barbara on the 101 going past the loveliest of towns, San Luis Obispo, up to Salinas, then off the 101 at the Monterey Peninsula signs (Hwy 68, the Monterey Salinas Highway) -- giving you a great view of the Salinas farms, then forest before it dumps you back on Hwy 1 south a few minutes to the City of Monterey. Spend the night in Monterey, then head south on Hwy 1 around 11 a.m. to Big Sur for lunch. You can even stop at Point Lobos State Reserve before that if you feel so inclined.

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