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My Pacific Coast Highway vacation w/photos & details


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Did this the end of last month w/the other half. Pics are linked below. Must have had a great time as we took over 1,000 photos combined. We were out there for a little over a week.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/192269686@N05/albums/72157719550116449


Our last hotel stay was in Petaluma. Lame scene there lol, but the food was good. The town was dead after 7-8ish PM. We would not go back.


Also hard pass on Sonoma again. What a bunch of snob wineries. We stopped at several at got told we are full by most of them. We found one, Jacuzzi, that was gracious enough to let us buy a bottle & go drink it on their outdoor patio. One of the places told us we had to pay $100+ each to come in & we get their cheese plate & I guess a bottle for that. Wow!!


We drove through the city portion of SF as fast as we could. Reminded us of Philly. NO THANKS! Almost got into a car accident there too.


We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Ventura on night one. Great view of the ocean & the food at Lure was excellent.


Next night we stayed across the street from the beach in Cambria at Moonstone. Nice rooms, but no AC & paper thin walls. Hardwood floors so we heard every step of our neighbor upstairs. That was hell.


Then it was a night staying at the Bella Notte in Santa Cruz. Was quiet, but room is very outdated. We didn't do anything there other than walk the beach. That's where I got the sailboat w/the lighthouse photos. The local corner store only took cash. It's 2021, people!


Then we stayed at The Inn Above Tide in Sausalito right over the Golden Gate. By far our favorite hotel and town of the trip. We just planned to stay 1 night there too, but liked it so much we stayed for two. It's right on the bay. Was well worth the splurge of $500 per night. You can select a nice breakfast every day that is brought to your room. Every night at 5 they bring you a cheese & crackers plate & a bottle of wine as well. Then we even drove back down to Sausalito on our last day and got some clothing, ate at Scoma's again, got more ice cream, ate at Copita again. We ended up staying there most of the day & going to the airport from there.


We really enjoyed the town & food as well. Copita & Scoma's were delicious! Had the best ice cream of my life @ Lappert's.


We tried to hit Muir Woods for the redwoods, but always booked up + they charge to park AND admission? No thanks. We saw them at another park for free. The name escapes me. We also went to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, but most of it was closed & the big waterfall attraction was a let down.


Carmel by the Sea was nice & the beach was excellent. Had a delicious chicken sandwich at a little Italian place there as well. We skipped driving 17 mile drive when we saw they wanted $10 to do it.


We also drove up to Collins Beach by mistake thanks to GPS. It was packed, even though not free, and it was pretty damn cold. Then we had to backtrack to get to the Elk Reserve. Collins Beach is as far north as we went.


Obviously, the best part for me was driving PCH and the scenery. Just look at all the pics I took. We rented a vert and it ended up being a 4 banger new Mustang. Was glad to get home & drive my Hellcat after that. The fast & stark temperature changes in CA are something, that's for sure! I did not bring a jacket so I had to buy a sweatshirt during our trip. Also, the liquor prices in CA vs here in PA where we only have state run stores for liquor are insane!!! For example, scored a couple bottles of Crown Royal Peach @ Target for $24 each while there. You cannot even find peach here, but it would be north of $40 per bottle here!


We spent a couple hours or so in Tiburon. Beautiful & very quiet. Nothing really to do there but walk & enjoy the scenery & relaxation.


I'm leaving out a lot, but this is what sticks out of the top of my head. I can understand why people want to live in CA now. PA scenery is boring now...

We actually looked at home prices & such to maybe add certain parts of CA to our list of places to move, but looks like even tiny places are at least $500kish. No thanks. Anything decent is 7 figures it seems. Am I wrong? We prefer Southern California to north. I wasn't even looking at homes on the coast. God knows what they cost.........


We live in Lancaster County, PA right now. Tired of winter. Problem is her finding a teaching job somewhere 1st so we can go. She is an ESL teacher. I work remotely so I can go anywhere.

Edited by Helaire-ious
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30 minutes ago, Helaire-ious said:

Then we stayed at The Inn Above Tide in Sausalito right over the Golden Gate. By far our favorite hotel and town of the trip. We just planned to stay 1 night there too, but liked it so much we stayed for two. It's right on the bay. Was well worth the splurge of $500 per night. You can select a nice breakfast every day that is brought to your room. Every night at 5 they bring you a cheese & crackers plate & a bottle of wine as well. Then we even drove back down to Sausalito on our last day and got some clothing, ate at Scoma's again, got more ice cream, ate at Copita again. We ended up staying there most of the day & going to the airport from there.

Glad you a good trip... I was born and raised in Sausalito, so its nice hearing about it in a positive light. Great place to grow up, but its changed a lot with the influx of all the money. My moms still there and we have a memorial bench to my dad not far from Scomas, right on the water.

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46 minutes ago, Manster said:

The Oregon Coast is a lot more down to earth, and blue collar.  You'll get treated a lot nicer too......not much of a "scene" in any of the towns though

I don't know that he was treated so badly, save for the wineries, no?

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Sounds like you hit a lot of good spots.

🍻.  I am in Sonoma county. Happy to grab a drink next time

Edited by Drunken knight
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You missed one of the best coastal towns in California:  Santa Barbara.  But sounds like a nice trip.

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Some of the lack of access could have been due to COVID limits for the tasting rooms.  Not sure if that is the case but could have been a factor (and also why the prices were so high).  I am surprised on your take about Sonoma.  My daughter goes to Sonoma St University and we have always had a good time when we have gone up there to visit.  Never really experienced the snobbery you mentioned but we tend to hit the breweries rather than the wineries.  The Russian River brewery is awesome with some great choices.  They have a couple locations in that area and never had a bad time.  

 

I concur that Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo would also be great stops.  I live right between them near the Vandenberg and love the area.  Home prices are going up but for the area they are reasonable.  

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1 hour ago, Gally said:

Some of the lack of access could have been due to COVID limits for the tasting rooms.  Not sure if that is the case but could have been a factor (and also why the prices were so high).  I am surprised on your take about Sonoma.  My daughter goes to Sonoma St University and we have always had a good time when we have gone up there to visit.  Never really experienced the snobbery you mentioned but we tend to hit the breweries rather than the wineries.  The Russian River brewery is awesome with some great choices.  They have a couple locations in that area and never had a bad time.  

 

 

Not sure if it is still in effect, but since covid started... if the wineries have been open, they have been by reservation and limited capacity.  Plus staffing is a major problem right now in hospitality.  

We do not go as often as we used to, but we have enjoyed jacuzzi and viansa...strictly due to a wider range of italian varietals.

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17 hours ago, MAC_32 said:

Sorry to read about Sonoma. If you go again check out Calistoga. The northern part of wine country was much more our style. 

As others have said, I wonder if it's COVID related. When I've been to Sonoma, people were mostly very welcoming and it was easy to get in anywhere, sample wine and often chat with the owners. 

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$10 for the 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach is worth it, IMO.  Love that area ...Monterey, Pebble Beach, Carmel.  Very cool to walk to the beach with a small crowd of others to catch a sunset.

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21 hours ago, Helaire-ious said:

Did this the end of last month w/the other half. Pics are linked below. Must have had a great time as we took over 1,000 photos combined. We were out there for a little over a week.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/192269...57719550116449


Our last hotel stay was in Petaluma. Lame scene there lol, but the food was good. The town was dead after 7-8ish PM. We would not go back.


Also hard pass on Sonoma again. What a bunch of snob wineries. We stopped at several at got told we are full by most of them. We found one, Jacuzzi, that was gracious enough to let us buy a bottle & go drink it on their outdoor patio. One of the places told us we had to pay $100+ each to come in & we get their cheese plate & I guess a bottle for that. Wow!!


We drove through the city portion of SF as fast as we could. Reminded us of Philly. NO THANKS! Almost got into a car accident there too.


We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Ventura on night one. Great view of the ocean & the food at Lure was excellent.


Next night we stayed across the street from the beach in Cambria at Moonstone. Nice rooms, but no AC & paper thin walls. Hardwood floors so we heard every step of our neighbor upstairs. That was hell.


Then it was a night staying at the Bella Notte in Santa Cruz. Was quiet, but room is very outdated. We didn't do anything there other than walk the beach. That's where I got the sailboat w/the lighthouse photos. The local corner store only took cash. It's 2021, people!


Then we stayed at The Inn Above Tide in Sausalito right over the Golden Gate. By far our favorite hotel and town of the trip. We just planned to stay 1 night there too, but liked it so much we stayed for two. It's right on the bay. Was well worth the splurge of $500 per night. You can select a nice breakfast every day that is brought to your room. Every night at 5 they bring you a cheese & crackers plate & a bottle of wine as well. Then we even drove back down to Sausalito on our last day and got some clothing, ate at Scoma's again, got more ice cream, ate at Copita again. We ended up staying there most of the day & going to the airport from there.


We really enjoyed the town & food as well. Copita & Scoma's were delicious! Had the best ice cream of my life @ Lappert's.


We tried to hit Muir Woods for the redwoods, but always booked up + they charge to park AND admission? No thanks. We saw them at another park for free. The name escapes me. We also went to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, but most of it was closed & the big waterfall attraction was a let down.


Carmel by the Sea was nice & the beach was excellent. Had a delicious chicken sandwich at a little Italian place there as well. We skipped driving 17 mile drive when we saw they wanted $10 to do it.


We also drove up to Collins Beach by mistake thanks to GPS. It was packed, even though not free, and it was pretty damn cold. Then we had to backtrack to get to the Elk Reserve. Collins Beach is as far north as we went.


Obviously, the best part for me was driving PCH and the scenery. Just look at all the pics I took. We rented a vert and it ended up being a 4 banger new Mustang. Was glad to get home & drive my Hellcat after that. The fast & stark temperature changes in CA are something, that's for sure! I did not bring a jacket so I had to buy a sweatshirt during our trip. Also, the liquor prices in CA vs here in PA where we only have state run stores for liquor are insane!!! For example, scored a couple bottles of Crown Royal Peach @ Target for $24 each while there. You cannot even find peach here, but it would be north of $40 per bottle here!


We spent a couple hours or so in Tiburon. Beautiful & very quiet. Nothing really to do there but walk & enjoy the scenery & relaxation.
 

Best vacation evah!!

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6 hours ago, tri-man 47 said:

$10 for the 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach is worth it, IMO.  Love that area ...Monterey, Pebble Beach, Carmel.  Very cool to walk to the beach with a small crowd of others to catch a sunset.

This was my take.  I get the winery thing but not this.  Especially when the OP says, "Obviously, the best part for me was driving PCH and the scenery. Just look at all the pics I took."

I mean, you let 5 bucks a head turn you away from maybe the best stretch of the trip?  And the very thing you were enjoying most???  Buddy...

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On 7/20/2021 at 7:19 PM, MAC_32 said:

Sorry to read about Sonoma. If you go again check out Calistoga. The northern part of wine country was much more our style. 

Sebastopol used to be a nice, funky spot. Gualala on the coast too. But Bolinas doesnt exist....

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8 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

As others have said, I wonder if it's COVID related. When I've been to Sonoma, people were mostly very welcoming and it was easy to get in anywhere, sample wine and often chat with the owners. 

I'm sure it is and all we have to work with here is a few words of text from one particular sample, but reading it I compared it to what we experienced doing bourbon tours in June and our experience was much...much better. And we couldn't do tastings at just about every distillery we visited. The ones that did, great, but I think our customer service at the ones that were not offering it was great. They've got this army of people coming in wanting bourbon and they've gotta say no. Tough spot to be in and they generally handled it as well as could be expected, which seems to differ from...this.

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8 hours ago, tri-man 47 said:

$10 for the 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach is worth it, IMO.  Love that area ...Monterey, Pebble Beach, Carmel.  Very cool to walk to the beach with a small crowd of others to catch a sunset.

I'm not unhappy we did it because I'd have hated to let $10 make this an unknown, but we weren't impressed. We thought we had a better sunset view a block from our BnB. :lol: Night #2 we took a bottle of white down to the rocks with a dozen or so others and watched while the waves just crashed all around us.

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In early June, I visited my 2 daughters who moved to LA & SF in the middle of the pandemic last year. I was in SF for 5 days and we spent 2 nights in Monterrey arriving on a Friday afternoon and returning to SF Sunday night. Monterrey and Pacific Grove have some good restaurants, depending on your taste,  but you have to do some homework. We ate Friday night at a great vegan restaurant, Julia's in Pacific Grove, which had a local singer who was exceptional, David Holodiloff. He performed solo on steel drums, mandolin, and guitar, doing bluegrass, rock, folk and multiple requests, including  o solo mio and happy birthday. As the crowd thinned out around 11pm, he came to our table and I asked if he does any Spanish songs and he proceeded to sing Camisa Negra accompanied by his guitar. Just for fun, I asked if he could do Despacito and he went on to perform the entire song. It was almost like a serenade to my daughters. As we got to talking he found out my daughters have Bolivian heritage, so he performed a song in Quechua. To me, he is a musical genius and local treasure. 

Saturday, we drove down the PCH heading toward Julia Pfeifer Park and stopped multiple times to take in the great vistas. The 60 foot waterfall into the ocean is not super impressive, but would be if they allowed us to hike down the cliff for an up-close view, but the cliff is too fragile. On the way back to Monterrey, we did a moderate 2 hour hike in Pfeifer Big Sur state park, going up about 850 feet. It was a very nice 2 hour hike through redwoods, with some good views along the way. On the way back to Monterrey, we stopped at the Henry Miller library, a small place nestled in the redwoods. Miller, an uber liberal writer, had several works banned in the USA due to candid talk about sexuality.  That night we ate at a very good restaurant, this time Indian food in Monterrey. On Sunday we explored the wharf and Cannery Road, which is nice as far as tourist traps go. We saw some nude bathers (seals) and many kayakers along the beautiful waterfront. Lunch was at El Cantaro, a Mexican vegan place which impressed my vegan foodie daughter.

On the way back to SF, we picked 3 pints of sweet organic strawberries. And we stopped at a beach which was the most impressive of all beaches we saw. Greyhound Rock County Park & Beach.  It's a steep walk down steps to the beach where we saw a big family getting ready to cook some home-made lamb sausages as the sun was setting on the summer solstice. It's about an hour south of where my daughter lives - she's plans to return with some friends for a picnic / barbecue.  

I went to Muir Woods, which I think is worth the $15 parking and small entrance fee. It has a lot of educational material along the main trails. Teddy declared it a national monument back in 1908. There are places worth seeing in SF, including the Asian Art Museum, the Embarcadero walk with a tour of a WW2 submarine. Lots of good food, but homelessness is a problem especially in the Tenderloin district. Parking is also tough in SF.

If you want warmer and affordable, consider some places in Florida such as Jacksonville and Tampa areas, even Broward and Palm Beach. Lots of need for ESL teachers. $250k can buy a nice house in Orange Park, across the river from Jacksonville. But it's easy to see why people fall in love with Cakifornia. 

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On 7/21/2021 at 9:15 PM, MAC_32 said:

I'm sure it is and all we have to work with here is a few words of text from one particular sample, but reading it I compared it to what we experienced doing bourbon tours in June and our experience was much...much better. And we couldn't do tastings at just about every distillery we visited. The ones that did, great, but I think our customer service at the ones that were not offering it was great. They've got this army of people coming in wanting bourbon and they've gotta say no. Tough spot to be in and they generally handled it as well as could be expected, which seems to differ from...this.

It wasn't just tastings...they would not even let us in AT ALL

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On 7/21/2021 at 12:54 PM, Drunken knight said:

Not sure if it is still in effect, but since covid started... if the wineries have been open, they have been by reservation and limited capacity.  Plus staffing is a major problem right now in hospitality.  

We do not go as often as we used to, but we have enjoyed jacuzzi and viansa...strictly due to a wider range of italian varietals.

COVID stuff was lifted before we got there

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On 7/20/2021 at 3:20 PM, joffer said:

:blackdot:

driving from L.A. to Bandon Dunes in 3 weeks

Are you going to play golf in Bandon?  

Having recently traveled 101 from Oregon down to the Redwoods (Richardson Grove Campground) and back, I loved the area and all its beauty.  If you're looking for a couple of suggestions for food/drink, I had great experiences at Six Rivers Brewery in McKinleyville, Seaquake Brewing in Crescent City and had one of the best soft shell crab Po-Boys at The Jambalaya House in Crescent City.  But we had 3 kids and a dog, so options were limited.  

Wish we had spent more time exploring the Rogue River - a Jet Boat tour would be awesome.  Gold Beach is neat - there's specs of gold in the sand.  And the Redwoods in person are simply magnificent.  Avenue of the Giants, Arcata Community Forest near Humboldt State and the Eel River were also highlights for us.  Enjoy!

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Beautiful - no matter how many times I see the ocean (coming from someone born and raised in the Midwest) it is breath taking - vast endless waves.  I hope those on the coast never find that image be 'ordinary'.  It is not.

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5 minutes ago, popeye said:

Beautiful - no matter how many times I see the ocean (coming from someone born and raised in the Midwest) it is breath taking - vast endless waves.  I hope those on the coast never find that image be 'ordinary'.  It is not.

+1

This Texas kid got to splash around the Gulf of Mexico a few times and while I found places like Destin or Gulf Shores to be lovely, there isn't anything that compares to the coastline of the Pacific.  Living an hour or so from the Oregon Coast makes life so much better.  Worth all the taxes to have that so close to me. 

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2 hours ago, General Malaise said:

Are you going to play golf in Bandon?  

Having recently traveled 101 from Oregon down to the Redwoods (Richardson Grove Campground) and back, I loved the area and all its beauty.  If you're looking for a couple of suggestions for food/drink, I had great experiences at Six Rivers Brewery in McKinleyville, Seaquake Brewing in Crescent City and had one of the best soft shell crab Po-Boys at The Jambalaya House in Crescent City.  But we had 3 kids and a dog, so options were limited.  

Wish we had spent more time exploring the Rogue River - a Jet Boat tour would be awesome.  Gold Beach is neat - there's specs of gold in the sand.  And the Redwoods in person are simply magnificent.  Avenue of the Giants, Arcata Community Forest near Humboldt State and the Eel River were also highlights for us.  Enjoy!

7 rounds in 4 days :pickle:

I’m in the Tesla and Seaquake within walking distance of the supercharger :thumbup:

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2 hours ago, joffer said:

7 rounds in 4 days :pickle:

I’m in the Tesla and Seaquake within walking distance of the supercharger :thumbup:

Fried avacado tacos and their flagship IPA for the win.  They sold me a 4-pack of IPA pounders on my way out for $5!  What a steal.

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