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Unread 19 Jul 14, 06:02 PM  
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geoffa
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In the footsteps of Lewis & Clark - Day 10

DAY 10 High Noon at Carmel.

Monday 30th June 2014

Its time to leave the City by the Bay we have had such a great weekend. Yes, weve left our hearts there but then again we have also left bits of them in other US cities. I always recall the lady , who, on the cable car, said: Dont lean out. Whilst we want you to leave your hearts here, we could do without any other body parts!"

We adore this city - it has to be our No 1 choice in the USA. There is something about its laid back atmosphere that is so appealling.

We head south passing the gloriously gilded dome of the Civic Centre.



We vow to take a tour one day they run them every day of the week. I'd just love to see the office where Harvey Milk worked (first openly Gay activist politician in USA). Sean Penn played him in the film. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, another city supervisor who had recently resigned but wanted his job back. The Plaza at the top of the Castro is named for Harvey Milk.

Joining the 101 south we pass out of San Francisco and into Daly City past the most gigantic bill board I have ever seen. It is advertising the new "Planet of the Apes" film. We continue down past Candlestick Park. The stadium was the home of the San Francisco Giants up to 2000 when they moved to their new home at the AT & T park. It is also the venue where the Beatles played their last concert. It is to be demolished and developed into..nobody really knows.

On past the turning for Half Moon Bay.



There is a house there with our name on it once the lottery comes up trumps. White picket fences, clapboard church and in autumn, fields and fields of glorious orange pumpkins. One slight problem. It lies just to the left of the San Andreas fault! Another amazing fact - the fault runs exactly parallel to the state road 101 !

On and on, past San Jose (Do you know the way to... ?) All together now - Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa Whoa .OK back to the trip report.

We head for Pacific route 1 which will take us through Big Sur. However, we first skirt Monterey Bay. Its here that many come for whale watching at the right time of year.



Although we don't call in this time, I thoroughly recommend a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. For me it's worth every cent of the $40 admission price. They do some serious conservation work especially with orphaned sea otters who always look like very wet teddy bears. I can sit for hours just gawping at the shoal of sardines that move like one huge silvery-blue creature back and forth in a relaxing rhythm. Or the jelly fish - my favourite being the "poached eggs" which are aptly named.

We carry on to Carmel where we stop to have lunch and browse the shops. It's taken just over 2 hours to get here from San Francisco and it is exactly 12 noon! We have driven past this town many a time and everybody has always said we must visit. We head towards the beach down a fairly steep road which is lined on both sides with beautiful bed & breakfast places, shops and quaint houses.



At the beach we take photos and also collect a handful of the sand.



Yes - it's an odd hobby I have. They conveniently supply plastic bags at the beaches. They are meant for doggies (Mutt Mitts) but are ideal for sand collection. Incidentally, the bins for doggy do's, should you need one, have a shark's fin on top!



I have jars of sand at home from beaches Ive been to around the world and no, it is not banned by Customs that I'm aware of. The sea currents are extremely strong here and whilst it is ideal for surfers it is not recommended for casual swimming. Life guards are on duty all along the stretches of sand.

Lunch is at the Porta Bella which for all intents and purposes could pass for the 7 dwarfs cottage. Yes, its Italian but with an ecletic mix of food.



The Maitre D' (who we think was the owner) is a delightful chap and he asks about our travels. We sit in a back courtyard shaded from the sun. (Inland it reaches 101F today).

We have bruschetta to share for starters.



Then I have the most delicious Monterey Bay dipped dabs. These are like little soles and are lightly floured and fried.



They come with green beans and mashed potatoes.

Darrins choice is Tuna Nicoise salad.



And, yes, the tuna is cooked properly. Any more and you ruin the texture and the taste.

We dont want desserts and our drink was just bottled water the Welsh one that comes in that blue bottle!

We call at the Post Office to buy more International stamps Global Forever and at a souvenir shop, which is like an Aladdin's cave, where we get a sand dollar ( also known as sea cookies) - it's the calcium carbonate skeleton of a kind of flat urchin which has been printed with "Carmel" and a picture of a sea otter. Great for the souvenir Christmas tree. We have also noted a place to stay in the future called the Lamp Lighter Inn. The cleaning maid had left the door open on one unit and we could see inside:





Isn't it adorable? That confirmed our decision. We are staying here next time we visit. Just a note Carmel by the Sea is the place where Clint Eastwood was once the mayor.

We now head tothe stretch of roadknown as Big Sur.This is the most spectacular piece of coastline on the West Coast of America. Giant rocks rise from the ocean and patches of lower rocks hide beneath the surface of the waves - treacherous to shipping.





The road twists and turns and sometimes in winter it falls into the sea. On our last visit in 2012 a fortnight after we had had driven over a section of this road it plunged into the ocean below! I just happened across a news item about it when looking for something else that was going on in the USA. We pass over the famous Bixby Creek bridge and pull over to get the photographs of it.



(Library picture)

This stunning piece of man made construction is a reinforced concrete open-spandrel arch bridge. What a mouthful! Prior to the opening of the bridge in 1932, residents of the Big Sur area were virtually cut off during winter due to the often impassable Old Coast Road that led 11 miles inland. At its completion, the bridge was built under budget for $199,861 and was the longest concrete arch span at 320 feet on the California State Highway System. It is one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world and one of the most photographed bridges along the Pacific Coast due to its aesthetic design and location. Along the route we pass by the" log cabins" we stayed in a few years back by the Sur river. We are doing quite well on time until we get stuck behind some dawdling motorist who manages to create a convoy tailback of about thirty cars. After about 20 minutes of this both ourselves and several other cars overtake the said motorist on a nice straight stretch as most of the route is double yellow lines at the median (the Crown). OK, the limit is 45 but that is not an excuse to be doing 20. You can still admire the great scenic views whilst driving at a reasonable speed.

Mid afternoon we pull over at Ragged Ridge for a restroom stop and to get an ice cream.
Chocolate flavour for me and coffee flavour for Darrin. Its hot out there and the sea mist is starting to pull inland causing misty patches along the road and whacking up the humidity. We are glad to get back into the air con atmosphere of the car.

We reach San Luis Obispo around 5:20p.m. and by 5:50 we are installed at the Seaventure Hotel at Pismo Beach.



We have stayed here previously but in a standard room. Tonight is in a spa room.



The Jacuzzi is located out on the balcony overlooking the sea. No red sunset tonight unfortunately. The mist has obscured the sun but there is an amazing effect on the horizon caused by light rays making silver on the water. However, the hotel provides a complimeantry bottle of chilled cava and we enjoy this out on the balcony:



We have a little wander around the immediate area to get postcards and such and have a walk on the pier (Wharf).

We decide to eat at the Seaventure restaurant as most eateries around here can be very greasy spoon not offering much more than pizza, fish and chips (poor quality) or bars. It's a shame because the area itself is so seaside-y. We arent snobs but Id rather know I start tomorrow without food poisoning.

The restaurant is above where the balcony rooms are and offers an amazing vista of the bay well, it would if the sea mist hadnt rolled in. Foodwise we start with scallops in bacon for Dar and a prawn cocktail for me the sauce is piquant to say the least!
Mains are both a petit filet mignon and lobster tail. We enjoy glasses of Wolff Chardonnay.Nophotos as we left the camera in the room.

Before bed, Darrin opts for the Jacuzzi and he sits and broils for half an hour or so.



I carry on with this report. We are both zonked out by 11 after listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach which are like a lullaby. (It's a warm evening and so we left the balcony door open with the mosquito door in place.) We sleep like logs in a grate. It must be the wonderful fresh sea air.

Car mileage today San Francisco 122 miles and Carmel to Pismo Beach 157 miles. Total so far this trip: 1346 miles

Trip Report INDEX: http://DIBB.in/9823405
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Edited at 07:40 PM.
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Unread 19 Jul 14, 06:26 PM  
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Eeyore rocks
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Another great day...Carmel looks like an English village.
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Unread 20 Jul 14, 08:24 AM  
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Lamplighter is on my list now along with the seaventure! Want to stop off in carmel next time too. Dinner outside looking over the Pacific is just unbeatable, and the food looked stunning. What am I going to do when this report finishes?
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Unread 20 Jul 14, 09:05 AM  
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Originally Posted by parisdisneyfan View Post
Lamplighter is on my list now along with the seaventure! Want to stop off in carmel next time too. Dinner outside looking over the Pacific is just unbeatable, and the food looked stunning. What am I going to do when this report finishes?
We enjoyed this holiday so much that we have decided to stick Japan on a back burner and go back to California next year. We want to spend a long weekend in San Francisco - about two nights in Carmel and maybe time in Santa Barbara which we had to miss this time. Also its Dsneyland's 60th next year so want to be there on July 17th for the big celebrations.
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Unread 20 Jul 14, 10:10 AM  
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Originally Posted by geoffa View Post
We enjoyed this holiday so much that we have decided to stick Japan on a back burner and go back to California next year. We want to spend a long weekend in San Francisco - about two nights in Carmel and maybe time in Santa Barbara which we had to miss this time. Also its Dsneyland's 60th next year so want to be there on July 17th for the big celebrations.
Think we are going to head back next year too for my birthday! But as I work in a school it will have to be then end of July beginning of August. Want to add Hawaii in too but unsure of Disney - I love the ambience etc but we don't do many rides and our first visit without kids last year, I hate to say had something missing Although would like to re visit LA to see more of Griffith Park, Getty Museum & Villa and head back to San Diego for more than the day we did 2 years ago. Better start planning!
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Unread 20 Jul 14, 01:11 PM  
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Just loving this touring with you! We visited Carmel many years ago and your trip report has got me thinking! I've been trying to get my DH to do the Napa/Sonoma trip-some of hotels/tours look amazing-but he isn't keen on the driving now (says he won't see anything! ) and neither of us want a coach!? Think i'll make him look at your pics! Thank you, Linda
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Unread 20 Jul 14, 05:36 PM  
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Lovely day Geoffa, many memories of the drive down the coast. I have the same photo of the bridge! Pussycat
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Unread 22 Jul 14, 12:48 PM  
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Fabulous day, we are whale watching in Monetery, here's hoping we spot some beauts!

I have also planned dinner on our drive into Pismo as I have heard that the food on offer there isn't amazing.
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