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West Coast Help

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by SoSueMe, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    The better half and I are planning to drive the coast from Vancouver, BC, Canada to Los Angeles.

    Obviously Interstate 5 will get us there quickly, but it seems pretty inland. Looking at maps, Highway 101 looks to run right along the coast - I assume this is the way to take if you're going to soak up the scenery?

    Also, what are some stops (restaurants, cities, towns, famous landmarks, sites, oddities) we should make along the way?

    Anyone done this stretch? Any advice, ideas, etc. would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    101 is fantastic. Along the Central Coast, stop to see the Hearst Castle. San Luis Obispo is a cool college town. Pismo Beach and Arroyo Grande. There's a butterfly park near Pismo; worth the stop. Spend awhile in Santa Maria and try the tri-tip BBQ; best meat in the world. If it's the right time of the year, Lompoc has the tulip festival. Santa Ynez has Dutch festivals all the time. The drive from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara, along the Pacific, is beautiful. If you drive at night, the full moon illuminating the sparkly ocean waters is glamorous. So many other sights. I'll let other West Coasters chime in.
  3. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

  4. WazzuGrad00

    WazzuGrad00 Guest

    101 along the Oregon Coast is breathtaking.

    If you're heading from Vancouver, you'll want to take I-5 south to Longview and follow the Columbia River out to Astoria on the coast.

    The coast in Washington is great too. Less commercialized, but a little bit more difficult to get to. The way to do that would be to take a ferry (either from Victoria to Port Angeles, or Keystone to Port Townsend) and take 101 through Forks and Aberdeen (the best part of the coast is between these two cities).

    In California, you'll have to take Highway 1 to stay along the coast. It'll take some time, but it's beautiful as well. I've only driven portions of it (I was in a bit too much of a hurry). You can always cut inland to 101 to make up some time.
  5. Grohl

    Grohl Guest

    I once drove from the Bay Area to L.A. along the coast on 1 and 101, over two days. It was probably the best drive of my life, just for the sheer beauty of it. I don't think I'll ever forget a particular stretch near Santa Barbara, with the ocean on my right and the hills on my left, blue skies and sunshine above, and "Jessica" by the Allman Brothers blasting from the speakers. Sublime.

    Anyway, the whole coast is amazing. I stopped and looked at several points, just to admire the view. I remember being impressed by the cliffs at the beginning of the trip, somewhere south of the Bay Area, and by the beaches near L.A. I also remember eating lunch outdoors at a sweet little Italian joint in Carmel, which seemed like a nice town to spend some time in. In that same area, 17 Mile Drive is worth seeing, even if you're not a golf fan and don't care about Pebble Beach. The scenery is still fantastic.
  6. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    If you want scenery and a memorable, tell-the-grandkids drive, you HAVE to take 101.

    Xan got you off to a good start, but he forgot to tell you the 101 takes you over the Golden Gate Bridge, IIRC. So, you'll cruise through the heart of San Francisco, which is never a bad idea.

    The Central Coast is an awesome drive. SLO and Pismo are must-stops. Have a meal at the Madonna Inn, just south of SLO and make sure you go to the men's bathroom before you leave. You'll thank me later.

    Depending on how much time you have and your sense of history, you can take a brief detour off Highway 46 (just south of Paso Robles) about a half-hour/40 minutes inland to the flea-spit burg of Cholame -- better known as the place James Dean met eternity in his Porsche Spyder. There's a plaque there commemorating the burg's reason for being.

    Into missions? They're lining the coast and you'll have your pick.

    North of Santa Barbara and just off the 101 at Buellton (known primarily for the Pea Soup Anderson's) is the Danish village of Solvang. Detour there and spend a day cruising around. Spend the night if you can; there are some great B&B's and restaurants there.

    On Highway 1, a.k.a. Pacific Coast Highway, in Malibu, is Gladstone's 4 Fish. It's right on the water and you have to eat there.

    Enjoy. You're taking a great, great trip.
  7. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Bird, you described things much clearer than I. Great job. I've been out of Cali for 15 years and forget every stop along the way. The Getty Museum in Malibu is right next to Interstate 10, IIRC. Another good stop.
  8. Hustle

    Hustle Guest

    I'd recommend a stop at the Rogue Brewery in Newport. You can get a nice second-floor seat overlooking the Yaquina Bay and the 101 bridge over the inlet.

    That part of the Oregon coast is spectacular though, as Claude alluded to, pretty commercialized.
  9. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    Thanks, Xan.

    I also forgot that the 101 takes you through Gilroy, pointed out on the Jobs board as the Garlic Capital of the World. You'll be able to smell the place before you get there and if you're a garlic aficionado, make sure you stop off at the garlic store/warehouse right off the freeway; name of which escapes me now. But you'll see it.

    They have every type of garlic product known to man, including garlic wine, which is really good with pasta.

    And speaking of wine, north of San Francisco on the 101 is the Sonoma Valley. Enough said. On the Central Coast, around SLO and going south to Santa Ynez, are some of the most underrated wineries in the country. If you're into wine, you'll come back with crates after this trip.

    Actually Xan, what you're describing is the Getty Villa, which is on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu -- actually not far from Gladstone's. It is a nice stop, although not nearly as comprehensive as the Getty Museum, which is off the 405 in West L.A. The Villa is more geared toward ancient art.

    And Grohl has a point about Monterey/Pebble. If you stay on Highway 1, take the 17 Mile Drive. Incredible. If the weather is clear, take Highway 1 south out of Carmel through Big Sur to Morro Bay, which is just north and west of SLO. It's a long drive, but on a clear day, there is no more beautiful place in the Continental US. If it's foggy/overcast, stick to 101.
  10. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Again, thanks Birdman. The other thing, SoSueMe, make a long day of it in Long Beach. It is vast, something like 150 square miles, from Belmont Shore to Virginia Country Club in Old Long Beach (try to find "Munchkinland" if you can; yes, it's a real place).
  11. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    You guys have been great so far. This is awesome. I can't say enough about this site. Everyone helped greatly while I planned my trip to Green Bay. And this is just as helpful. Keep the ideas, stops, etc. coming.

    As an aside, I'm scared shitless of the potential of an earthquake. And no, I'm not kidding.
  12. WazzuGrad00

    WazzuGrad00 Guest

    Some helpful links:

    Washington Coast:
    The Coho Ferry: http://www.cohoferry.com
    Olympic National Park: http://www.nps.gov/olym/
    Port Angeles: http://www.portangeles.com
    Kalaloch Lodge: http://www.visitkalaloch.com/
    Ocean Shores (resort town): http://www.oceanshores.org
    Long Beach, WA (another resort town): http://www.funbeach.com

    Oregon Coast:
    Oregon State Parks: http://www.oregon.gov/OPRD/PARKS/
    Tillamook Cheese Factory: http://tillamookcheese.com/
    Seaside, OR (resort town): http://www.seasideor.com
    Sea Lions Caves: http://www.sealioncaves.com/
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