Thursday, June 30, 2011
There are different routes one can pick when driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and each has its allure. The quickest, albeit most boring drive is I-5, a straight shot at high speed, but not much else to see. A spectacular yet slow road is Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway which takes you past Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur, one of the most beautiful coastal drives anywhere in the world, plan on many stops such as for the sunset in Carmel, the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur, maybe an overnight stay at the Ventana Inn. A visit to Hearst Castle takes another few hours, and in the end you are looking at a 2-day trip. But there is another alternative, the 101, a beautiful route that takes you all the way from San Francisco to LA, via San Jose, Gilroy, Salinas, Soledad, San Miguel, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Los Alamos, and Santa Barbara. The landscape (the picture above was taken in Monterey county) is timeless, quintessential California, and stops at the many fruit stands are obligatory, as are the missions in San Miguel (pictured below with a prickly six-toed foot), and Santa Barbara. If you want to spend the night, there's no better place than the over-the-top Madonna Inn http://www.madonnainn.com/, it's worth it to have a look around, and you can stay in the Austrian Suite, or the Grotto Suite, or just continue down the coast and watch the sunset at Pismo Beach.