Published: October 16th 2009October 13th 2009
Not the best breakfast but it did taste nice
The morning we left San Fran we went to the airport to collect our car (which we booked very last min thanks to the crappy internet connection at the hostel). We had booked the cheapest and smallest car, which by British standards is probably a medium sized car, but on arriving at the car port there were no economy cars left, so we had to choose something else!!!! Yippee we got a bigger and nicer car (I think) a bright blue Chrysler cruiser (my choice), probably doesn’t do good mileage and yes looks like a hearse from behind but its bright blue!!! Nath reckons it’s like driving a dodgem car, and I must admit it has all these elaborate dials inside that look like a toy car would have or some ancient aeroplane! We’ve just notice the license plate says “925 sxy” - it was obviously meant to be!! (but Nath just wanted to get out of San Fran and quick!)
Now driving in America is ok as long as you realise in California especially no one indicates and everyone loves their horn. We tried ours and it turns out that you “punch” it once for on and again
The motel room
for off otherwise it keeps going. And yes I mean punch, it’s really hard to get it to stop once it’s started. Bar the usual looking over the wrong shoulder and remembering to put the car in drive mode not reverse (Nath ) it has been ok and a god send for our trip down the coast. Nb - we have now named the car “Eddie” after Mr Izzard and his “sexy tour” from a few years ago.
Unfortunately the weather has not been in our favour and it seems we are due rain and cloud for 4 days now till we get to LA - what about this California weather we had heard so much about!! The coastal drive down was great, would have been amazing with some sun but we still managed to get some nice shots. The roads wind quite a bit and at times Nath veered a little too close to the right for comfort whilst still adjusting to everything being the opposite way round (he still keeps looking over his left shoulder for traffic). So between him making sure we are in reverse and not drive mode and me reminding him to take
Check out the little "escape" window
the hand brake off (although the car still drives with it on anyway!) we will make it to our next destination I’m sure. (Nath- I think someone will be walking home!!)
We made it safely to our first over night stop at Monterey at this great little motel. Nath loved that it was just like in the movies; complete with cockroach in the shower (only joking) and tiny escape window in the bathroom for when the “bad guys” come looking for their money yo yo yo. Overall it was a good room, did what it needed and had a nice little Chinese takeaway over the road so we settled in for a cheap night of one set meal for one between us (knowing what the sizes are like now). Next morning the complimentary breakfast (coffee and a muffin yipeeee) eaten we headed to our first coastal stop of Carmel by the sea. An expensive little town full of boutique shops and cafes and what would have been a nice off white coloured beach had it not been for the weather. So we dipped our toes for the first time in the freezing Pacific ocean and quickly covered back up
Eddie is "9 to 5 sexy" and so are those who roll with him
to continue our walk along the coast. Bar joggers and dog walkers not a lot to say about it really, lots of elaborate beach homes, which must have cost a mint, each with their own little Mexican gardener no doubt. On the way back to the car we passed “ye olde English candy shoppee” where you could buy English candies! So we had a quick look and very soon decided that $3 - £2 for a crunchie bar and £1.50 for a curly whirly was not worth it! We grabbed a salmon bagel (with the most amount of salmon I have ever had in one sandwich it was awesome) and headed for SLO.
On the way down to our hostel at SLO we passed over ancient bridges dating all the way back as early as 1930. Further along we passed what looked like torpedo shaped white rocks all over the beach which turned out to be Elephant seals. It was so weird to park up and be able to just walk over to them to watch them fight and fart (which they did a lot) and scratch themselves (they looked like people in seal suits when they did that!!).
Run Forest run!!
There was some naturist guy there telling everyone about them, he obviously loved his job and said they were only here for a couple of months a year to mate so we were lucky to have arrived this time of year - animal humping season, excellent that’s what I came to California to see! We took some photos and film, and were both disturbed by how similar the wobbling movements of these seals was now much like our own having been in the US for over a month!!
On arriving at our hostel, it looked just like a little wooden house with a porch, where granny would sit with her shot gun. I fell in love with it straight away when I realised they had cats!!! Two of them asleep on the porch swing (a tabby and a blue point DSH) I decided straight away to name them meow meow and pooky!! Unfortunately they weren’t allowed in the hostel so I had to have my cuddles outside but it was worth it. The hostel was quaint and fairly quiet expect for the huge number of “staff” that seemed to be working/hanging out there. Our room was ok, bunk beds
We were too slow the first time!!
as is the norm and we thought we were clever by choosing the wooden ones that actually had a side guards, proper steps and didn’t rattle like the metal ones - however that night was the most uncomfortable sleep so far. Both bunks only had 3 wooden slats underneath, so my legs fell down the end of the bed whilst my back was supported by one piece of wood (same for Nath), so we both slept featly so to balance on what support we had - never mind.
The town of SLO is a very young and hip town, certainly in the summer, full of clothing stores, cafes and pubs. Not much else really to be seen as we walked around the area looking for a grocery store. It seems people here are dressed well and like to party but when it comes to eating they just say - nah why bother. The next day (Tuesday) we had decided to go on a hike of the coast as it had caves and stuff (cool) whilst most people were heading to some Spanish fort (castle) that was $24 each to tour. Sod that, it wouldn’t be a “proper castle” anyway
Thats better, quick before the next wave comes
so we weren’t gonna spend money going there. However all of our plans were foiled as it had started to pour with rain pretty much since we had gone to bed and was due to continue all through the day (and by god did it, 24 hours of rain in fact) so the day was to be an organise stuff day. Weirdly the hostel shuts between 10am and 4pm so everyone has to get out regardless, but as the wifi worked in the car park we sat in the car and decided we would find a super market in an attempt to not spend so much on eating out all the time and try and buy lots of cheap microwave meals (mmmm yummy). I felt properly American as we drove to a huge supermarket and bought cheezits etc and then spent the rest of the day driving around a retail park as the rain was so bad it was too far to walk between buildings - it was literally like an episode of “Bread” driving from one side of the car park to the other. I was pleased and horrified to find in one massive clothes store that they had
“plus size manikins” showing off clothes for those that weren’t stick thin, but the scary part is they were only a size 12!! Over here I am practically considered extra large! (its all the burgers) All in all though it was an expensive but successful day (we invested in a sat nav for £30 - rather than rely on my map reading skills - gulp) and we had planned that evening to continue our immersion in American lifestyle by going to a drive in cinema!!!
However when we got to the drive in that evening (popcorn already popped and still warm) it was closed, I’m guessing due to the relentless rain. I was really disappointed so in an attempted to mimic this night out, we drove back to the hostel car park, set the lap top up on the dash board and watched a film in the dark with our popcorn for free - ha !
So now we are back in the car (after our first filling up with petrol outing where you guess how much you need and pay for it first - madness) and heading to our next coastal stop (in the rain again -
come on California) Santa Barbara, where I am planning to beg for a refund after realising that I accidentally reserved all four beds in a four bed dorm (stupid lap top scroll button) doh!!!
There are more photos below