Drive up the California Coast

ChelsDS

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I'm looking to drive up the California coast because I've never gone further than Santa Barbara. There are some places I would like to hit on my way up but I know there are more places out here that are well worth visiting. Not sure when I will be doing this trip but for sure in the next 6 months.

I'd primarily like to stick to PCH/101 route as most of the places I'd like to visit are there.

  • Hearst Castle
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Napa Valley
  • Half Moon Bay
  • Coastal Redwoods
  • San Fransisco
  • Laguna Seca (is it open to public tracking on certain days? Wasn't able to find that on the website)

Not sure where to go for the Redwoods but I think Eureka is a great place from what I've been seeing online. Anyone in California or someone who has driven up the coast before let me know any other places I should hit. Oh and I am looking to camp my way up the coast or stay at very cheap motels with my dog. Though having my dog with me would be problematic for places that do not allow dogs.. hrm.
 

LP

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Big. Sur.
 

ChelsDS

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Been to Big Sur and Yosemite before, both are booty-a-ful but something off PCH/101 is more preferable.

Rawr.
 

MadCat360

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  • Laguna Seca (is it open to public tracking on certain days? Wasn't able to find that on the website)

Sadly, no. You'd have to find and register with a track day company. Laguna's schedule is filled up with Skip Barber schools and pro events. They have very limited schedule for track days and club racing unfortunately.

To add insult to injury they have no 2012 schedule. Even the SCCA has no clue when they will be able to run events at Laguna next year.
 
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ChelsDS

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Booo. Ah well. Thanks for letting me know though :) that crosses off a detour!
 

NecroJoe

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If you are doing Hearst Castle (which is really cool) I also strongly STRONGLY suggest the Winchester Mystery House in Santa Clara. :) Also, the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk CAN be fun, it it can also be boring...depends on when you go, and who you're with.

I LOVE the Montery Bay Aquarium, though. Especially when there's something cool there like the jellyfish exibit or when they had the great white shark.

If in San Francisco, I would spend the time to go up Coit Tower, and drive down Lumbard street. Both can be fit into your day, only about an hour or two, and easily worth it. Alcatraz maybe?
 

Kiki

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If you're stopping at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, check out Carmel and/or Pebble Beach (17 mile drive). Good scenery before heading up to SF.
 

NecroJoe

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"Carmel by the Sea" is hilarious. I've shipped things to customers there, and some people have shipping addresses like "Blue house on the NW corner of XXX & XXX" and "2nd red house after the church on Ocean View Road." :lol:
 

Kiki

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Yeah, tell me about it - I've visited there since I was a child due to close family who live inside Pebble Beach. They finally got a P.O. Box now, so that makes things a bit easier since I can never remember their address.
 

NecroJoe

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I used to live in La Honda, and our UPS address was "### Route #2, Box 9. Leave behind old truck."

There was about 20 mailboxes lined up, because once you got past those, there were dirt roads, home-made bridges and no more addresses. Near the mailboxes, there was an old shed and a just-as-old truck, just abandoned there. Everyone had the UPS guys just leave there packages there so at least they were out-of-sight from the road.
 

ChelsDS

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I've been in Coit tower, that was really fun but crowded. Didn't get a chance to see/drive Lumbard St up close but I did see it from the tower! Not so sure I'd want to do Alcatraz but I would like to see the Golden Gate and the Victorian Ladies (the row of homes) while going through SF. Last I was there, Aug 2010, everything was so expensive that I don't want to stay there long at all -.-

I thought of Pebble Beach and Carmel, Carmel mainly because they're dog friendly but then having my dog would seriously prohibit me going to see places so I would definitely be going alone on this trip. Le sigh.

Winchester Mystery House in Santa Clara? Never heard of that but I will definitely check it out :)
 

Kiki

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I used to live in La Honda, and our UPS address was "### Route #2, Box 9. Leave behind old truck."

There was about 20 mailboxes lined up, because once you got past those, there were dirt roads, home-made bridges and no more addresses. Near the mailboxes, there was an old shed and a just-as-old truck, just abandoned there. Everyone had the UPS guys just leave there packages there so at least they were out-of-sight from the road.

Oh wow, small world - I didn't know that. La Honda (and La Ducati Day during that special weekend of the year) was our old stomping grounds. I can picture the line of mailboxes like one you mentioned there. Highway 84 is one of the sweetest roads for motos in the country (also highly recommended for a day outing in the car as is a stop at Alice's Restaurant).
 
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NecroJoe

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He he...the people I lived with HATED motorcyclists. :p They had a camaro and a F-150, and never left the house on the weekends. Too many "power rangers" on the roads.

Red Rock curve? Hell yeah. Skyline, Old La Honda road, Alphine...all fine roads, for sure. Skip Alice's Restaurant, though. I get it...if it means something to you, but...eh...if it doesn't, it won't.
 

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Winchester Mystery House is off of 880 (If you are taking US 101, it goes along side San Jose which hits the 880 interchange). Your pretty much in the Bay Area (South Bay specfic) once you hit that area. Its quite interesting and weird with all its kooky and crazy rooms...

If your planning the PCH/101 route, id suggest San Luis Obispo after Santa Barbara, lots of things to see and eat (Downtown, Cal Poly, Mission, Madonna...) Also if your going that route you will hit Morro Bay which is before San Simeon/Hearst Castle.
 

NecroJoe

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Winchester Mystery House in Santa Clara? Never heard of that but I will definitely check it out :)

The wife of the founder of the Winchester gun company went nuts after he died, and spent their (enourmouse) fortune just continually building onto their victorian house to appease the ghosts of people killed by the guns, and belived that she could never stop building.

The tour inside the house is about a mile and a half. There are windows in the floors, doors leading to nowhere, stairs leading to the ceiling, flights of stairs that switch back 7 times and have 44 steps, but only rise 9 feet since each step is 3 inches tall....cool shit. :)

"Alcatraz After Dark" tours are pretty neat. Really incredible views of the city from the island. Also, if you are into cemeteries at all, check out Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland. More amazing views of SF from this area.

Oh, and the "ladies"...I just don't udnerstand the appeal. :p They are anything special.
 
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Kiki

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He he...the people I lived with HATED motorcyclists. :p They had a camaro and a F-150, and never left the house on the weekends. Too many "power rangers" on the roads.

Red Rock curve? Hell yeah. Skyline, Old La Honda road, Alphine...all fine roads, for sure. Skip Alice's Restaurant, though. I get it...if it means something to you, but...eh...if it doesn't, it won't.

Ayup, tensions have always been high there. And agreed - Alice's is more of a motorcycle mecca, but there are times when some good cars show up.

+1 on visiting the Winchester Mystery House - it's an amusing place.

If you're planning on going north of the Golden Gate Bridge, there is always Point Reyes to visit. You can see some gorgeous views of the coastline from up there.
 

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My grandparents and I took a trip like this a few years ago. We visited Hearst Castle and Winchester Mystery House... Both are very interesting, especially if you like learning a bit about history and stuff like that. If you've heard rumors or people talking about a lot of walking, those are definitely true. When I went to Hearst, I went on two tours- One that was a shorter and more general tour and a longer, more comprehensive tour. The longer tour was a lot of exercise and walking- so keep that in mind. It was definitely worth it because you see a lot of cool rooms on the tour that you don't otherwise see on the shorter tours. Winchester is so freaky- so many rooms that go to nowhere and the reasoning behind such odd rooms.

Monterey Bay is really cool- the Aquarium is nice, I liked the Manta Ray petting pool (I think the visitors feed them, because they seem to beg you for food when you walk up and when new people walk up they will move on to beg those people.) and the sunfish/jellyfish exhibits. I have always found sunfish very interesting since they are rather large and flat.

The coast north of San Francisco is nice- the smaller coastal towns are a nice diversion. There is always Santa Cruz, most of my old high school classmates loved going there and to the pier and all that. I haven't really been there, but I'd probably go check it out since boardwalks are different (to me). Eureka is also a nice place to visit and the coastlines near Eureka are really nice scenery-wise. Also, the Redwoods are rather nice to drive through- but from what I remember there is also a real tourist-y place where you can drive literally through a redwood tree which may or may not still exist.
 

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Lots of great stuff and photographic opportunities for you

Hearst:

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Pebble Beach & 17 mile drive

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Big Sur

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