Friday, 20 May 2011

The central coast

Up until the beginning of this week we'd been really lucky with the weather. Not that it had been sunny all the time, but the weather did what it should do where we were when we were there.

Apart from for the drive down Highway 1, that supposedly picturesque cruise past turquoise waters through Monterey, Big Sur and down to LA.

Picturesque it was, but the water was not turquoise. In parts, we could barely see it! So here's how you do wet weather days out on the Pacific Coast...

Buy taffy, and lots of it.

Find the pretty pink flowers in Pacific Grove.

Take arty pictures of your hire car by the beach (I took this one, despite it looking like one of Ad's).

Have your photo taken on a big rock in front of an even bigger rock (Bird Rock, to be precise) that's covered in birds and seals.

Cough up $9.50 for the 17-mile drive. It's totally worth it, though the Lone Cypress is a little underwhelming, especially when two coaches unload as you park up.

See where the rich people play golf at Pebble Beach, and spend your dinner money on a hot chocolate, a coffee and a half of ale at the Lodge At Pebble Beach. You could stay in the Lodge if you had $500 to spare per night (we didn't).

Drive round to Carmel Mission and don your history hat.

Battle the rain along Big Sur.

Get your woodsman pose on in the State Parks.

Become mesmerised by the waves in the bay at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, but less so by McWay Falls at low tide (I hate to say it but it kinda looks like someone's having a big wee from behind the cliff).

Discover that you can never fully plan your route when you've driven right up into the clouds on a detour around the landslide on the way to Hearst Castle only to find out that the US army have literally just closed the road you're driving on and you've got to go back to where you started to get to where you're trying to go (a laboriously long sentence to describe a laboriously long drive).

Still, get to where you're going you will - San Luis Obispo (the happiest town in America, no less) - and stay in a swanky hotel to mark the near-end of your trip. Celebrate the fact that that hotel provides fluffy white robes, unlike anywhere else you've stayed in the past six weeks.

And finally, finally, you'll find that the sun does shine on the coast at Santa Barbara.

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