Tag Archives: Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway: Los Angeles

As we leave San Diego heading north, the PCH follows Interstate 5 for quite some time. Interstate travel doesn’t really feel like the adventure we were looking for, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil. Trying our best, we stayed off the highway along the coast, and north into Oceanside. It was about this time that Kelli and I were ready to eat, and a quick search pointed us to Ty’s Burger House. Perfect choice. Great menu, excellent beers, and an incredibly comfortable atmosphere means that if we are anywhere near here again, we will be back. Highly recommended! It might be worth a trip to Oceanside alone.


San Onofre State Beach. Long boarders paradise. I’m going back one day!

Out of Oceanside, and back onto I-5, we head past San Onofre, another iconic surfing spot, and head into San Clemente. While not officially US 1, we at least got off the interstate, and into local businesses and the everyday life of the people that live there. Slow moving traffic, and tons of small shops eagerly enticed us to stop and shop, but alas we had a schedule to keep. Maybe another time San Clemente. We definitely need to go back.


North of San Clemente, we entered Dana Point, and rejoined the PCH on our northbound tour of the west coast. Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, all places I have wished to visit for so long.

Once we get to Seal Beach, the PCH heads inland away from the coast until we reach Santa Monica, and our stopping point for this segment of the drive.


Second Stop: Los Angeles



Los Angeles is one of the most popular cities in the United States (I’m sure you already know that), and a place that we needed to see for ourselves. From the freak-show fun of Venice Beach, to the elite hideaways of the Hollywood Hills, we wanted to get a small taste of it all.  With only a day and a half to see it all, we played the full-on tourist role and made the best of what time we had.


Santa Monica


The PCH at the western end of I-10 entering/leaving Santa Monica. We have now driven both ends of Interstate 10. It connects from Jacksonville, FL to Santa Monica, CA.

Just after checking in to our hotel (and hours of being in the car), we decided to head out for a walk to check out the surrounding area of Santa Monica. On foot, we crossed the PCH over toward Santa Monica Pier, and then south toward Venice Beach. Along the way, we saw people walking their dogs, their birds, and their snakes. Tons of rollerbladers, bike riders, and skateboarders all telling pedestrians that we were in their way. We passed muscle beach (nobody was there), street performers and artists along the way. The souvenir shops were closing up as we approached sunset, and so we turned and began heading back north to the hotel.


Sunset over Santa Monica Beach. Yup this shot is my wallpaper now.

Before calling it a night, we decided to explore Santa Monica Pier a bit. We had no idea that the pier was the western terminus of Route 66! Cool! The pier would be a great way to spend most of the day. There are plenty of places to eat as well as play games, and ride rides. It felt like a carnival with an incredible ocean view.


Santa Monica Pier just after sunset.


Looking down the pier at the end of Route 66.


View looking down 2nd St, the route we walked to get to the 3rd St Promenade.

Just up the road from our hotel was the Third Street Promenade. It’s about four blocks of Third Street open only to pedestrian traffic and designed just for shopping. There’s food for every taste, and stores for every style. Live music echoing from every direction, and the smells of outdoor dining overwhelm the senses. We highly recommend visiting here. You could spend the entire weekend (maybe longer) without a car here walking the Promenade and the Pier, as well as Ocean Front Walk.


Hollywood Boulevard


No Trip to LA would be complete without a visit to Hollywood Blvd. In true tourist style, we did what we had to do. We braved the traffic, and headed in to see where stars are made.

It was exactly what we expected. Bumper to bumper cars, shoulder to shoulder tourists and people waiting to be “discovered”. There were people jumping around in homemade costumes. Some good, some bad, some just terrible (think brown Spiderman wearing a fanny pack). If they see a camera, they put on a performance hoping you snap a photo so they can suggest a “thank you” for their efforts. There are people selling things, others very politely asking for money, and a few pushy types trying to get you to go into their souvenir shop.

The strange thing is, there is magic in the air. For some reason, while we were there, we felt a strong urge to find an agent, and try acting as a new career. You really feel as though there is a chance you could become famous overnight while you walk down this street. It is definitely a crowded, hectic place to be, and we truly enjoyed it.


Beverly Hills



Just another Rolls parked in a “red zone”. No big deal.

So, what do Jed Clampett and Weezer have in common? They both know that Beverly Hills is the place to be. Strolling along Hollywood Blvd, we what seemed to be hundreds of vans, shuttles, and busses just for tours of the area. We found a Beverly Hills stars tour that promised to show us where many celebs live, plus a drive down Rodeo Dr. Kelli successfully talked him down to a two for one deal for a ride in the roofless van they used. It was a perfect way to see the sights without having to worry about the crazy LA traffic.IMG_9403

Beverly Hills has some very strict rules about the tour vans, some of which restrict them to certain streets. Fans of architecture would enjoy a tour like this, as well as fans of celebrity gossip. We saw houses which are regularly used in films, and locations where some celebs made some not-so-good decisions.


Somebody famous used to live here… They probably moved to Malibu.






Towards the end of the tour, we realized that not many celebs still live in Beverly Hills. At least not on the tour route. Most of the homes we stopped at were described as “So-and-so used to live here, now they live in Malibu.” Although we never saw anybody famous, it was nice to finally see where so many stars have called home.



Now, I gotta go call my agent. I think I saw a house for sale.

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Pacific Coast Highway: San Diego

Driving a large RV can be a challenge sometimes. If the roads are too steep, you could have difficulty stopping on the way down. If the lanes are too narrow, that’s another kind of nerve wracking. If the roads are too twisty, (while fun in a car) you might actually get into a bad situation requiring assistance from a rather large tow truck.

While heading west, we stopped for a while just south of Carson City, Nevada, so we could enjoy the Fourth of July in cooler temps. We wanted to visit Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area at the advice of Kelli’s uncle. We were not disappointed. During our stay, we read more about the California laws regarding RV sizes, as well as warnings as to the hills we would need to traverse in our mobile mansion. 

Although we did not want to avoid California all together, we decided it was not a good idea to take our home into the state for an extended period of time. If we get stopped for being too big, our roving residence could get impounded. Bad idea. A better idea, park the house in a storage lot in Nevada, and take a road trip into Cali.

There are a few things we had to see in California. Among them was the Pacific Coast Highway, or US1. (We wanted to see Yosemite N.P. as well as Sequoia N.P., but they were booked full) The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) runs along the Pacific Coast. Much of it has beautiful ocean views, but a lot of it has great places to stop in towns big and small. With the help of my parents, we booked hotels in three cities along the PCH in hopes of seeing what we could, all within a week.


First stop: San Diego


San Diego, California is a place we have only heard good things about. The weather is supposed to be great year round, and it promised to have world renowned beaches. The rumors were right.

The weather was incredible. Now, we didn’t stay a full year to get a real feel of the temperature swings, but for a visit, it was absolutely perfect. No disappointment there. The beaches. Yes the beaches are beautiful.


La Jolla

IMG_9299We stayed in La Jolla, just up the street from Windansea Beach. Windansea is a world renowned surf break that has been featured in surf movies and documentaries for decades.


Just north of where we stayed is La Jolla Cove. Another place to go enjoy the beach, or go see wildlife. La Jolla Cove is a protected ecological area providing a home to many different fish, as well as mammals. The Seals, and Sea Lions are fun to watch, but man you can smell them from blocks away. Being a protected area, there are many snorkelers, and divers in the water, and places along the road where you can rent such IMG_8762things. Being that the water is protected, surfboards, boogie boards and other floatation devices are not allowed. There are lifeguards year round, so you can bring the whole family and try snorkeling in the calm water.



San Diego Zoo

IMG_9154The San Diego Zoo consistently ranks among the top ten zoos to visit in the country. It is a place I wanted to visit since I was very young, and I finally got the chance to go. It is huge. We only gave ourselves a day to see it, but you could probably take a full weekend to see everything. It is big enough that there are regularly scheduled double decker buses driving around the park to help you get from one side to the other. Hop on or off at any of the stops. There are also tour buses that travel through, pointing out the different animals, and giving perspectives that you can’t see by walking. The zoo even has a safari park which we did not have time to visit. Maybe another time.


Sunset Cliffs


IMG_8875We made sure to take a trip to watch the sun set from Sunset Cliffs. As the name implies, its a great place to enjoy such a view. It seemed quite popular by the number of people there for the same reason. Get there early so you can find parking, and when you leave, be ready for slow moving traffic. It’s a residential area, so unless you live there, there’s no reason to stick around after dark. Everybody heads out at the same time, and it feels like they are all going the same way.


All in all, we certainly enjoyed our stay in San Diego. A great place to visit, and we will visit again.

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