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  1. #1
    SoCalSmithie Guest

    Default Up The California Coast

    Hi everyone!

    I'm planning a week-long road trip up the California coast, Los Angeles to San Francisco (farther up too if possible - perhaps, Mendocino) and back down to L.A. I'll be going sometime in the first two weeks of January 2006 with a friend who hasn't been to CA before (I live in San Bernardino and have been up north, but not for substantial periods of time. And, I've only driven the I-5 up). I'm driving a 2001 Ford Mustang (hard top - shame, but it'll be chilly, anyway, right? :) ). I've also bought the Lonely Planet California Coast road trip book and have been reading through that.

    I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions for places to go/see, any routes to take, other books/literature to look at, any vehicle precautions (esp. since the trip is in January). We're also two college age women, so any advice about where to go/where to NOT go (a.k.a. danger) would help too!

    Any help would be great!

    Thanks so much!
    Krystal

  2. Default Big hello

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    Among my favorite spots on the northern coast is Fort Ross -- a former Russian settlement north of San Francisco. When we think of the settlement of North America, most people think of England, Holland, France and Spain -- but the Russians played a role as well. Fort Ross is a place to learn about it.

    If you are interested in the 1950s "beat" scene, a not-to-be-missed landmark of that time is still there for you to see on the edge of Chinatown in San Francisco -- the City Lights Bookstore, where the beat poets held forth regularly.

    I also really enjoyed the evening tour of Alcatraz -- they fill up though so make reservations ahead of time if you are interested in that.

    For your vehicle, stop by to see your mechanic and tell them to check it out for a road trip -- they'll know what to look for and it shouldn't cost much (if you are a regular customer, they may not charge you at all) -- basically it's just a normal 15 or 20 point safety check.

    Bob

  3. #3

    Default

    Hi there,
    Not sure what you like to see or do, but here's an itinerary that
    I came up with of things that I've done and enjoy seeing. You'll have
    a great time exploring.

    Check your windshield wipers. Weather can be unpredictable in January
    but always interesting. I've seen everything from Santa Ana winds
    resulting in clear blue skies and warm weather to rain and fog.

    Day 1
    San Bernadino to San Luis Obispo.

    Stop along the way at Santa Barbara or Solvang for lunch.
    Explore either or both towns.

    Take a bathroom break at the Madonna Inn. The Madonna Inn is famous
    for their unusual themed rooms and bathrooms.
    http://travel.discovery.com/fansites...athrooms7.html

    Proceed to San Luis Obispo.

    Explore downtown SLO.

    Day 2
    San Luis Obispo to Monterey
    Drive to Hwy 1.

    Stop at San Simeon. Take tour of Hearst Castle.
    http://www.hearstcastle.com/

    Stop to see elephant seals near Piedras Blanca Lighthouse.
    http://www.pelicannetwork.net/sansimeon.html

    Proceed to Monterey via Hwy 1.

    Stop at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see McWay Falls.
    Iconic waterfall along the Big Sur coast.
    http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=578

    Take a break at Nepenthe. Sit on the deck and enjoy
    a refreshment.
    http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/

    Arrive in Monterey.

    Explore Cannery Row.

    One place I've always wanted to stay at is Asilomar. It's part of the
    California State Parks system. Call them as soon as possible for
    availability.
    http://www.visitasilomar.com/index.html

    Day 3
    Go to Monterey Bay Aquarium. Some hotels have packages with lodging
    and admission to the aquarium.
    http://www.mbayaq.org/

    Spend afternoon doing:
    Point Lobos hiking
    http://pt-lobos.parks.state.ca.us/
    Explore Carmel
    17 mile drive
    See Monarch butterflies in Pacific Grove
    http://www.ci.pg.ca.us/monarchs/default.htm

    Spend another night in Monterey.


    Moss Landing near Monterey on the way to San Francisco
    Day 4
    Drive Hwy 1 to San Francisco.

    Sights to see in SF.
    Alcatraz
    Coit Tower
    Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39/Embarcadero (Ferry Building)
    Marin Headlands/Golden Gate National Recreation Area
    Presidio
    Fort Point/Crissy Field/Golden Gate Bridge
    North Beach
    Golden Gate Park (The new De Young Museum)
    Ride cable cars
    Muir Woods

    Day 5
    Drive to Mendocino via 101. Not sure I'd recommend this because it's a rather
    long drive out and back. Rather than do this, I might suggest another
    day in SF.

    Stop at Anderson Valley Brewery for a taste at least for the non driver.

    Things to do:
    Explore Mendocino.
    Hike Stornetta Public Lands, newly acquired by the Feds. The trailhead
    is along the road to the Point Arena Lighthouse (Lighthouse Road).
    Visit Point Arena Lighthouse.
    http://www.pointarenalighthouse.com/default.html

    Day 6
    Drive to Napa Valley.
    Explore wineries.

    Day 7
    Drive Hwy 5 back home (6-7 hours).
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 12-25-2005 at 05:19 PM. Reason: Add a photo

  4. #4
    SoCalSmithie Guest

    Default Thanks!

    What a great help! Thanks so much! :)

  5. #5

    Default

    Have a great trip. Let us know how your trip went.

    I've always loved the coastal route between LA and SF, ever since
    I was a kid on family vacations. I especially enjoy it during the winter
    and spring seasons when the hills are covered in green.

    The towns along Hwy 101 from Santa Barbara, Solvang, San Luis
    Obispo, and Paso Robles are very quaint. It's wine country all
    along the central coast too, if that's your interest.

    A short cut route option from Hwy 101 in Santa Barbara would be
    Hwy 154 which cuts into the mountains past Lake Cachuma
    and reconnects to Hwy 101. It's a two lane mountain road, but
    cuts some time off the trip. Another small town along this
    route is Los Olivos.

    Exploring the back roads between Solvang and Santa Maria is worthwhile
    too. Stop at a winery and have a picnic lunch.

    Consult a map to find your way around and drive safely.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A Must Stop

    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalSmithie
    I've also bought the Lonely Planet California Coast road trip book and have been reading through that.
    Krystal,
    One of the places that Paige discusses in her book is the seal lion sanctuary. Be sure to plan to take some time -- the docents are very knowledgeable and the antics of these massive critters are quite fun to watch. Here is a photo from my recent visit there. Plus, this thread has a bunch of local information about this region.

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by roadie
    Check your windshield wipers. Weather can be unpredictable in January
    but always interesting. I've seen everything from Santa Ana winds
    resulting in clear blue skies and warm weather to rain and fog.
    Great ideas. I'm looking into doing a similar trip in the hopefully near future. What temps are we looking at in January? Will there be snow anywhere along the coastal route of California?

  8. #8

    Default

    Syv,
    No worries about snow along Hwy 101 or Hwy 1 between LA and
    SF. It would be a freakish event if it snowed. Towards the North
    Coast in the more mountainous areas, I'm uncertain about the
    likelihood of snow.

    Mostly you need to be prepared for rain. Temperatures are pretty moderate,
    lows in the low 40's and highs probably in the mid 60's. Rain can vary in
    intensity from drizzle to Biblical.

    On some rainy years you might have to alter your route due to mudslides.

    Last year there were major slides in La Conchita just south of Santa
    Barbara. I don't recall if Hwy 101 was closed, but it did cause
    traffic delays.

    Some rainy years, Hwy 1 can also experience road closures, in particular
    around Big Sur.

    Parts of Hwy 101 north of Willits can also have road closures due to
    mudslides.

    You'll have to check with Caltrans or CHP for road closures.

    Snow along I-5 at the Grapevine (south of Bakersfield) is not
    unusual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Syv
    Great ideas. I'm looking into doing a similar trip in the hopefully near future. What temps are we looking at in January? Will there be snow anywhere along the coastal route of California?

  9. #9

    Default

    Another place to see elephant seals in at Ano Nuevo State Reserve:
    http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=523

    It's along the San Mateo Coast. I've never been there, but it's on
    my list of places to visit. It's 55 miles south of SF.

    I believe you need to make a reservation to take a walking tour.


    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    Krystal,
    One of the places that Paige discusses in her book is the seal lion sanctuary. Be sure to plan to take some time -- the docents are very knowledgeable and the antics of these massive critters are quite fun to watch. Here is a photo from my recent visit there. Plus, this thread has a bunch of local information about this region.

    Mark

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by roadie
    I believe you need to make a reservation to take a walking tour.
    Not really necessary -- docents are around most days

    Mark

    [Correction -- I had the preserves mixed up -- yes at Ano Nuevo State Reserve you do need those reservations]
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-13-2006 at 04:45 PM. Reason: correction of info

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