Explore. Experience. Engage.

Pacific Coast Highway

Author: handymanron
Date of Trip: June 2007



A week prior to embarking on our trip, my wife joined Weight Watchers. This added some twists, both good and bad to the next three weeks of dining out. Having departed from our home in southeast California, we spent the first night in Bakersfield visiting friends and relatives. Leaving early the next morning well refreshed, we traveled State Route 46 to Morro Bay, where we walked less than a stones throw from the waters edge as we shopped the local stores and boutiques. One can't visit Morro Bay without having fish & chips at one of the local restaurants. Afterward, we cruised up the coast on Highway 1, Pacific Coast Highway, toward Cambria Pines where we has a cabin in the woods reserved for the next two nights. As we cruised, we stopped frequently for photo opportunities. Near San Simeon State Beach, we observed almost 100 sea lions basking in the sun on the warm beach sand. Arriving at the cabin, we wandered the lush, almost tropical grounds of the property at which we were staying. A beautifully well kept flower garden offered many photographic opportunities to put my macro lens to good use.

The next day, we toured Hearst Castle (for about the fourth time). Again, countless opportunities for pictures. With the ISO on my Canon camera set to 1600, and a fairly slow shutter speed, I was able to capture beautiful photos of the inside of the guest bedrooms, including the ornate, imported ceilings, a different one in each room. The afternoon was spent lounging on the beach and taking an occasional swim.

Moving on the next morning toward Monterey, we had a couple of traffic delays for roadwork on PCH, but none were excessive. Points of interest along the way are the elephant seal colonies and the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, and of course, the Bixby Rainbow Bridge and the Big Creek Bridge. The two look similar, but the Bixby has only the one arch. We had dinner that night at a little bistro in Half Moon Bay before moving on to the bed & breakfast in Monterey we had reserved for the next couple of days.

DO NOT go to Monterey without seeing at least the Monterey aquarium and Cannery Row. If the season is right and time permits, check out the Monarch Butterfly Capital of the World, Pacific Grove. Even if the butterflies have migrated south, you'll find this quaint little town quite interesting with its antique stores and fresh produce markets.

While we did see the aforementioned attractions and more, we had to remind ourselves that this was to be a relaxation vacation and to slow down and take it easy. Our days had been so full of sightseeing, both, places we had visited on previous vacations, and others which we had not previously had time for.

Moving on from Monterey, we spent a week at the Hilton Hotel near Union Square in San Francisco. Again, we hit all of the normal tourist attractions and talked to the locals to find lesser known offerings of the area. We toured two museums we had not previously seen and also made it down to the intersection of Haight & Ashbury Streets, another place we'd never had time to visit in the past.

The rest of the trip was spent working our way back home, down Highway 99, through the San Joaquin Valley, another very enjoyable drive, though not as much so as PCH.

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that my wife had started on Weight Watchers a week prior to our trip. During the trip, she would question the waitstaff at each restaurant as to how the various dishes, in which she was interested, were prepared. If necessary, in order to stay within the dietary restrictions, she would ask for certain entrees, such as salmon or steak to be grilled using a non-stick coating instead of butter or oil. At one restaurant in particular, they were so eager to please, that the chef came to our table and told us how she prepared each item and was eager to adjust the way she cooked the food to suit the customer's tastes. This was a place called Sears and was right on the edge of Union Square on Powell St., between Geary & Post. The prime rib was sooo thick and melted in my mouth. The best I've ever had!! My wife lost 9 pounds on our three week vacation and has continued to lose weight ever since.

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