Trip Report: Highway 1 and Monterey

Old Apr 2nd, 2010, 12:13 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 69
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Trip Report: Highway 1 and Monterey

I've lived in California my entire life but had yet to take a drive up Highway 1, so over a recent long weekend, I finally embarked on this scenic drive myself.

Day 1/Friday:

I didn't want to drive all the way from Los Angeles in one day, of course, so I started off by spending the early afternoon in Santa Barbara, one of my favorite cities in Southern California. Lunched at The Andersen's Danish Restaurant and Bakery (1106 State Street) prior to visiting the Santa Barbara Museum of Art ($9), where I enjoyed the current special exhibition, "Delacroix to Monet" (running through May 30, 2010).

I drove to Pismo Beach later in the afternoon, arriving in plenty of time to have an early dinner at Giuseppe's (891 Price Street) and, later, to photograph the sunset near the pier.

Overnight at the Motel 6 South in San Luis Obispo. Clean, convenient, and cheap (at $50/night inc. taxes). Friendly staff at check in and check out. Rooms facing east toward the 101 come with some traffic hum, but to my ears, it wasn't so bad that I couldn't fall asleep fairly easily.
Doubletee is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2010, 12:54 PM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 69
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Day 2/Saturday:

Certainly one of the pleasures of a road trip is departing when you're good and ready. So setting aside my original plan to get up extra-early, I slept in a bit and waited until after sunrise to head west for a brief stop at Morro Rock Beach to photograph that awesome seaside rock.

A great deal of winter rain has made the hillsides especially green, so the entire drive up the coast was quite splendid. I stopped at the visitor center at San Simeon to use the restroom before continuing up the highway to Piedras Blancas for a stop to photograph the swathe of pups and female seals drowsing along the beach below. I hadn't incorporated it into my itinerary initially, but I'm very glad now that I stopped. I got a number of great shots using my 70-300mm Canon zoom lens.

It was after departing Piedras Blancas that I started encountering the frequent tailgating by a variety of SUVs and BMWs that soured my trip enough that I remember those encounters more than I do the drive itself (or, I should say, significant stretches of it). I made use of turnouts liberally, since I realize nobody likes getting stuck behind a gawky driver. Still, it's Highway 1. Relax, people! Or, even better: take the 101 or the 5.

Anyway, my next stop was Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. I parked and walked out to the overlook above McWay Falls. I was there when the falls were in shadow and the beach/ocean in sunlight, so my photos didn't come out as nice as if they'd been evenly lit in shadow or sun, but a couple of very mellow, hammy blue jays posed for excellent photos along the path.

After about half an hour, I continued north to the Big Sur Deli for a sandwich. It was definitely a good value: $5.95 for a vegetarian sandwich that could have easily fed two people.

Farther up the highway, I pulled off to photograph the Bixby Creek Bridge from a variety of angles before making the drive to my final stop along the coast that day, Point Lobos State Reserve. I arrived mid-afternoon, and parking was already pretty tight nearly everywhere. I eventually found a spot near Mound Meadow, photographed out by the beach a bit, continued on to China Cove for some pictures, and then found a parking spot at Piney Woods. I was happy to discover the hike from there to Sea Lion Point Trail/parking area was short (and flat!). It was a warm day, though, and since Sea Lion Point looked so exposed to the elements, I opted to take a shady stroll through the lovely Allan Memorial Grove (which affords nice views over toward Sea Lion Point and Headland Cove in one direction, and across Cypress Cove in another.

By late afternoon, I felt as though I'd seen A LOT of coastal scenery. The promise of a comfortable hotel room was calling. I'd booked a room for two nights at the Best Western De Anza Inn in Monterey. I must rave about the experience. I was greeted warmly upon check-in (noting the pleasant lobby with a number of areas to sit and read or relax) and given the key to my third floor King. It was a spacious room, with a sitting area w/couch, chair/footrest, and a coffee table. There was even a hint of Monterey Bay in my expansive view from the large windows.

With plenty of time until sunset, I drove out to Pacific Grove and enjoyed the views from 3-Mile Drive. I opted to park near above Asilomar State Beach to watch the sunset as waves crashed against the offshore rocks.

After the day's long drive and dealing with so many aggressive drivers, I wanted something familiar and reliable for dinner, so I drove to the Del Monte Center off Highway 1 for a bite to eat at California Pizza Kitchen.

The bed at the De Anza Inn was so, so comfortable, and I slept very well.
Doubletee is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2010, 01:24 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 69
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Day 3/Sunday:

I'd purchased my ticket for the Monterey Bay Aquarium online ($29.95), so I slept in a little bit, had a nice continental breakfast in the lobby (cereals, baked goods, bananas/apples, juice), and then headed out.

I still had time before the aquarium was due to open, so I parked at Fisherman's Wharf and made my way over to some of Monterey's historic buildings such as the Custom House.

I parked at the Cannery Row Garage, which charged a $10 flat rate rather than the first hour free/$1.50 per half-hour quoted in the parking link on the aquarium's website. Ouch. But, it was covered parking, which I liked (it was another warm day).

Even at 10 a.m., the aquarium was a zoo (heh); the sustained level of noise from the combined screams, cries, and shouts of countless excitable children is something I've rarely encountered. I suspect that had this visit come in the summer, I'd have suffered a complete nervous breakdown on the spot. I wish that I could say that the exhibits helped to remove me from the chaos, but they didn't. I just don't see what all the fuss is about, honestly. I've seen good exhibits of jellyfish, penguins, fish and other sealife elsewhere. (And, yes, I recognize that I'm in a clear minority in this opinion.)

I had a quick lunch (peanut butter & jelly sandwich and cupcake) at the aquarium's Portola cafe and headed out to Pebble Beach (via Pacific Grove gate) to do the 17-Mile Drive. I'd been hesitant to spend $9.25 just to drive the roads of a wealthy enclave, but, really, that's money well spent. I think my favorite pull outs were for the aptly named Restless Sea (#6) -- watching the waves move toward the beach from opposite directions and then cross was awe-inspiring, truly. The Lone Cypress (#16) was busy but not too crowded, so I hung out there for a little while until continuing down the road to The Ghost Tree (#17) and Pescadero Cove (#18). I returned later to watch the sunset near the Lone Cypress, although on the drive back I saw that watching it from Pescadero Cove would have been even nicer.

I had a very nice meal at Piatti down in Carmel that evening. It's at 6th and Junipero. (I found easy and free parking along the median on Junipero between 3rd and 5th.) The dinner special was $20 -- I selected a refreshing mista salad, a spinach & ricotta ravioli with lemon cream & citrus gremolata, and strawberry gelato for dessert.
Doubletee is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2010, 01:30 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 69
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Day 4/Monday:

After another satisfying breakfast at the hotel, I headed home.

I didn't want to just head straight down either the 5 or 101 to get back to L.A., nor did I want to retrace my drive on the 1, so I drove up and over to lovely little San Juan Bautista and its eponymous California mission. I didn't dawdle too long in the town, just enough to sort of get a nice eyeful of its quaint streets before continuing east along the gorgeous CA-152 (through emerald green rolling hills) to the San Luis Reservoir's Romero Overlook Visitor Center. It was nice and breezy, perfect for getting one's bearings prior to the long drive down the 5 to L.A.
Doubletee is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2010, 01:56 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,504
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Very nice report! Thanks for posting it.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2010, 05:17 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,088
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great report with some very nice tips.
How was Giuseppe's? We will be staying overnight in Pismo Beach at the end of the month.
ronkala is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2010, 06:59 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 69
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, ElendilPickle! My pleasure.

ronkala, Giuseppe's is open for dinner nightly from 4:30 - 10 p.m. (Until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.) I didn't have a reservation, but I was seated promptly when I got there around 5 o'clock. However, by the time 5:30 p.m. rolled around, there was a wait of about 20 minutes to half an hour for those without reservations. So I'd advise making a reservation to be on the safe side (805) 773-2870. They have a website, too.

The service was attentive. The bread was delicious, and it's served with a really nice dipping sauce they prepare at the table before your order's taken. I had a margherita pizza ($12) and a Sprecher root beer ($4). If I hadn't been driving, I would have had a glass from their extensive wine list or a beer.
Doubletee is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
nspotz
United States
7
May 30th, 2013 07:46 PM
lacohn
United States
2
Apr 30th, 2013 07:39 AM
Doubletee
United States
6
Mar 22nd, 2010 08:41 PM
jd_denver
United States
10
Dec 20th, 2005 07:26 AM
lmavolio
United States
10
Jun 16th, 2005 08:58 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:02 AM.