Saturday, 9 October 2010

From San Fran to LA

No, not from New York to LA (we didn't have Patsy Gallant as a passenger) but here's some shots of our journey down the Californian coast on our recent-ish SF/LA trip! Lots of people had recommended taking Highway 1/the Pacific Coast Highway and this is what we did! It took over a day to get there - well, due to waiting in line at the car rental place we didn't depart SF until midday. We stopped over in Santa Barbara for the first night (remember the cheesy 80s soap?) then the next day set off for LA and we were there within a few hours. Here's the evidence...

Starting the long journey...I should add that Gustavo did all the driving while we there. In spite of my motoring "skills" I just felt too nervous about driving on the other side of the road and was worried I might take a turning and forget which side I was meant to be on...whereas to him it was all normal.

Have you ever driven past houses on the motorway/freeway and thought "Yuk, I'd hate to live there?" Quite nice places here actually but not such a nice vista and what about the noise...? Stating the obvious I know.

Love this great big US truck we don't get many like this over here. The map reflection is me attempting to navigate...

And here's the car we hired for our trip!! Did you know, the car hire company classed it as a "compact"?! I thought my Ford Focus car at home was big, but this took the biscuit. Americans' idea of "compact" is obviously vastly different to ours - but then as I've said elsewhere, everything over there is on a bigger scale. The car could have seated an entire family to be frank. Admittedly it drove very well and was tres comfortable (tons of leg room in the front). One thing that freaked Gu out to start with was the fact it was an automatic, which he'd never driven before (yanks don't "do" manual cars, at least not in vast quantities). However he soon got the knack.

A genuine Californian numberplate.

This was the first stop we made on the trip - Monterey. A bit desolate actually but maybe that's cos it was a weekday. Quite a lot of fishing going on...

Driving through the Californian hills...

Can you see the bridge in the distance? This was the "classic" part of Highway 1 that went on for miles and miles - the road ran very close to the sea/beach with great views. It was also kind of hair-raising in places though - very sharp bends with literal drops down to the sea which meant you really had to slow down - in places the speed limit was 25 mph or less. Most drivers were good at observing this though and I saw very little reckless driving. Thank the lord!

More coastal road views:

There were also several "vista points" where you could stop your car along the way, get out and just take in the scenery! Great stuff! At one vista point we happened upon a charming hippy couple and their friends who were very chatty - they insisted we posed with their "lucky cat" which they take with them wherever they visit:


And this is Santa Barbara, where we stayed the first night. A motel to be precise - we didn't really get to see the city itself properly as we didn't have time.

It really made me think of your classic US motels - all that was missing was Norman Bates. Probably a good thing...

I have to say our motel room was decidedly shabby/run down, but we were only staying one night and slumming it was part of the appeal. And the Fresh Prince of Bell Air was playing on TV...doesn't Will Smith look young?

A little further down the line we stopped at Malibu Beach - roughly 27 miles of beach to be exact! It's a preserved area and very unspoilt. Also loads of celebs and film stars live around here. At one point when trying to reach the beach we took a wrong turn and ended up in a "private residence" area - very impressive houses, though we sadly didn't run into any famous folk. Babs Streisand apparently has a huge compound somewhere around there. A pity we couldn't have dropped in for a nescafe, Matty would have been very jealous.

Some real US school buses! Like, wow!

We stopped and had a burger and chips here...

Some Malibu homes. Pity I didn't take more snaps...

Heading into Santa Monica...the weather got hotter and hotter the further we headed down the coast, yay. As much as I loved San Fran, a downside was the colder and sometimes foggy weather.

And finally we were at our destination - Santa Monica!


  1. So cool! Actually the "classic motel" made me think of My Name Is Earl!

  2. Steve - yeah - typical Americana!

  3. Did you just namedrop Patsy Gallant!?!?! Nice shout out to some Canadian disco!!!

  4. Alan - I did indeed. I think you should follow in Ms Gallant's footsteps!!