When I drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I usually take I-5. Which usually takes me around 5 hours to do the drive. I have done it so many times that the length of the trip doesn’t really bother me anymore… except that the trip is simply… boring. Not much to see except hills, fields, cows, some dessert, and mountains. I have been told that taking 101 straight is more scenic and not that much longer.
On this trip, since I wasn’t really under any time constraint, I decided to take Highway 1 most of the way. I was not expecting to be travelling for 13 hours. I could have drove from Manila to Ilocos Norte in that time.
View San Francisco to Los Angeles in a larger map
I decided to take my time. My route took me down south via 280, then I got on 85 as a shortcut to Gilroy (then stopped at Gilroy to pass by the GAP outlet) then through 101 then 156 to Monteray. Stayed in Monteray for while then took Highway 1 (Cabrillo) to Hearst Castle… then 1 until San Luis Obispo back to 101 the straight through to Los Angeles.
Highway 1, which stretches north to south along the western coastline of the United States is indeed beautiful. I was treated to miles and miles of the the scenery below with winding roads twisting and turning through mountains and hills along the coast.
San Francisco to Monterey was quick. I was there in under 3 hours of driving, again, past scenic mountains and small towns. I only planned on two destinations while I was there. I parked at at the Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey Bay. Walked around and had lunch.
The beach had a few surfers trying catch some waves.
A multitude of boats docked…
Then it was time to eat
I might as well take some seafood. So I started with a nice cup of clam chowder.
Followed by good old, British-style Fish & Chips fried in beer-laden batter.
Lunch was so delicious. Yum.
I proceeded to walk around Fisherman’s Wharf, taking in the scenery and entering the shops. What I found quite odd was that this was roughly around 1pm on a Sunday… there weren’t a lot of people. Well, at least not as much as San Francisco’s own Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39.
A view of the numerous boats docked just off the pier. They probably didn’t have their own “parking.”
From there I decided to go further down to the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Fans of Star Trek Movies would of course recognize it as the Cetacean Institute in Star Trek II or better known as “The one with the whales.”
I decided that since I was still heading off to Hearst Castle, I didn’t have time to enjoy the Aquarium. But then again, I had already been here many years ago. I decided to just admire the view of the Pacific Ocean from the decks at the back of the Aquarium.
From the aquarium, I walked around Cannery Row a bit…
As I was walking, I was “pulled” into a nice little café which wreaked of chocolate… Nestle Toll House
The aroma beats the smell of burnt bean you would get a Starbucks.
I couldn’t resist. I just rationalized that I didn’t have dessert. So I ordered a Macadamia and White Choco Chip Cookie
And… a Vanilla Malt Shake! Oooo,,, YUM!
Aaah… I then proceeded South on Highway 1 bound for Hearst Castle.
What’s in Hearst Castle? Read here: http://www.hearstcastle.org/
Anyway, this is where my miscalculation caused some snafu for the trip. From Monterey via Highway 1… which was the only logical way to get to Hearst Castle. Was Faaaar. Around 2 hours… not so far if you think about it except that I had left Monterey at around 3pm after having enjoyed the area.
I had just been in California at the end of Summer in September where the nights came late. This particular day, the sun set by 5pm…
I did get to Hearst Castle. I was closed. It was so dark… I didn’t even bother to try to take pictures.
From Hearst Castle via San Simeon then to San Luis Obispo… through Los Angeles and eventually to my final stop Newport Beach was another 5 hours. Something I did not expect.
Anyway… it was an interesting drive. And still quite an experience. Mental note: Never do this again… hehe. Next time, I will just take 101 straight or back to the old reliable I-5.