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Published: June 17th 2013
Highway 1 to Ventura
How lovely. Blue sky had returned when we woke which was great news as the plan was to drive all the way down the coast, down Route 1, with the car roof open as that is just what our car, the Mustang, was designed for.
A little chilly at first and Bob turned the heating on but quite soon the sun warmed up and so did we.
A wonderful drive and I don’t think we have ever before made so many stops to admire the views. It had been suggested that the best way to do the drive was South to North but it was far better the other way going south as all stopping spots are on the right, coastal, side of the road and therefore far better accessed when driving on that side.
The coastline is dramatic and beautiful. The first half of the route goes through an area of high rocky cliffs with little access to the sea and beaches below. All along the shore line the kelp which grows in abundance is visible. A wonderful feasting area for the sea life but not good for swimming.
We stopped for breakfast at a delightful spot, Big Sur River Inn. Ate breakfast outside on the terrace where we were entertained by noisy Stellar Blue Jays. There is a river below the Inn and the banks were quickly filled with families and their picnic gear on Sunday outings.
We saw several other Mustangs as we drove along and often met the same people at the frequent viewpoints where we stopped, as everyone was doing the same thing, driving a little way then stopping to take photos of the wonderful views.
We realised half way along the drive that the coastline had changed and instead of high cliffs and a crashing sea below we were driving far more at sea-level and the cliffs had been replaced by fields. These fields are all more yellow than green because of the lack of rain.
We had a ‘magic moment’ at Piedras Blancas which was totally unexpected as not mentioned in our supposedly up to date guidebook. Hundreds, no make that thousands, of Elephant Seals breed on the beaches here and today they were there en masse snoozing on the beach, arguing, bellowing, dragging their ungainly bodies up the sand,
throwing sand over themselves with their flippers and generally making a wonderful spectacle of themselves. We stayed to watch for quite a long time, as they were hugely entertaining.
At San Louis Obispo we changed from Route 1 to Route 101 and lost the coastline for a few miles. I wanted to stop at Pismo Beach as recommended by Lynne. We did find the town but didn’t get to the bit of seafront with the pier I wanted to see as there was too much traffic and we were running short of time.
We took Route 154 instead of following the 101 for a few miles and this was a lovely road. More so because the 101, main highway, was by this point very busy and our alternative 154 much quieter and a far more scenic route up through the mountains.
Back on the 101 just before Santa Barbara we hit traffic and crept along for the next 10+ miles. We passed a couple of ‘incidents’, one a horse box with its cab on fire, another car with a squashed-in bonnet but still the traffic didn’t get moving and we were well past Santa Barbara and into
some roadworks (where the road went from 2 lanes to 2 lanes !) before suddenly everything moved freely again. By this point I had phoned the hotel to let them know we were delayed and it was just after 7 before we pulled up at Crowne Plaza, Ventura Beach.
Excellent view to the beach from our 11th
floor room. The 101 road, and the railway both go past the hotel so not the quietest of places but we will keep the balcony windows shut. Far too late to explore so just time for dinner and a walk outside round the hotel.
We will have time to walk along the beach tomorrow as our last drive, back to Los Angeles, is only 70 miles.
Tot: 2.605s; Tpl: 0.051s; cc: 34; qc: 148; dbt: 0.0904s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.6mb