Hi all, I'm back again! After much consideration of the advice y'all gave me on my proposed Two Week Spring Roadtrip a couple of months ago, hubby and I decided to scratch that idea for now. Instead, we're doing a little over a week in Cali this year (and I'm going to roll over my vacation days and hopefully we'll do a THREE week Spring Roadtrip covering the western states and national parks next year!).
We're flying into SF on Friday evening April 23 and have prepaid 5 nights @ the Holiday Inn Fisherman's Wharf (couldn't pass up $73/night on Hotwire!). We'll spend Saturday-Monday in SF exploring, etc (restaurant recommendations appreciated if you know of anything - good but not necessarily expensive, but not necessarily cheap either). On Tuesday, we'll pick up our car and spend the day exploring a little further out from the city (we figured since the weekly rental was cheaper than Wednesday-Monday, we'd take advantage). We're driving across the Golden Gate (can't do SF without that, right?) and hubby wants to visit Muir Woods. Other than that, we still haven't decided. We thought about doing Muir Woods for a little while, then heading back south and hitting the Santa Cruz Boardwalk (rides only open from 12:30 to 5 that day), and taking a circuitous route back up - possibly through Big Basin? Suggestions on that would be appreciated - we plan on picking up the car at 8 am, but would like to call it a night relatively early, as we're planning an early start the next day.
The next morning we're planning to leave SF and head south towards the LA area along the coast. We'll take 1-2 days driving there (probably 2). We are planning to stop for lunch and lots of pictures, but really have no interest in doing Hurst Castle or many of the other "attractions" along the way - this is really about the scenery for us. We plan on playing it by ear as far as the time factor - we'll stop for the night when/if we feel like it - we're staying with family in the LA area and we can be there whenever.
Once in the LA area, we don't have any real plans except hanging out and doing whatever floats our boat. We're planning on either leaving Sunday afternoon, driving back to SF (via I-5) and getting a hotel near the airport, or leaving super early on Monday morning (to miss LA rush hour) and driving back to SF to catch our Monday evening flight home.
We have a couple of different options for routes south, and I'd love advice on which would be best. We've heard Nacimiento-Fergusson road is a great detour through the Santa Lucia Mountains, so two of our options include that, but the 3rd bypasses it, as it takes us away from the coast.
First Route: I280->CA 85->CA 17->CA 1->Nacimiento-Fergusson, then from there take the 101 down (either all the way to the 405 or detouring through San Marcos Pass) - Least backtracking while including Nacimiento-Fergusson, but bypasses San Simeon, Cambria, and Morro Bay since we'd spend the rest of the trip on the 101.
Second Route: I280->US 101->Local/Nacimiento-Fergusson->CA 1, hooking back up with the 101 around San Luis Obispo, then following the same route as before to the LA area. I'm thinking this one is probably out because we miss Big Sur altogether and seem to be along the coast a lot less than the first route, plus we're backtracking going northwest on Nacimiento-Fergusson.
Third Route: CA-1 to San Luis Obispo, hooking up with the 101 and heading to LA. This route is about an hour shorter in driving time, and follows the coast most of the way, so those are both plusses.
What think you? Is there a route I'm missing? Are the views from Nacimiento-Fergusson worth detouring away from the coast? Must stop points or must see things (keeping in mind that we're mainly looking for scenery along the drive, no "attractions" per-se)?
Any help is apprerciated!