Road Trips Revisited: The Road to Hell

The remaining leg of our road trip south to San Diego unfortunately took us through the enormous sprawl which is Los Angeles. I was not looking forward to this part of the trip and if I hadn’t been the driver I might have kept my eyes firmly shut. However, we did have a treat in store – an overnight stay on the Queen Mary which is berthed at Long Beach.

Ventura Highway

I managed to miss the turn off to the PCH which would have taken us through Venice Beach, and instead found myself on the vast network of freeways that encircle and cross this city. I wasn’t going to try and find my way back though.

On the Queen Mary liner

And after a lovely night on board this wonderful old liner we had a pleasant drive down the coast to Dana Point in Orange County where we had to join the Interstate 5 freeway into San Diego. At this point we were driving on fumes so I didn’t attempt to take the longer route into the city along the coastal road.

So if you are not already car sick, then please join me on the last leg of this road trip into San Diego where you can have some free time. The Final Leg of the Journey

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Road Trips Revisited: The American Riviera

Our next stop along the PCH road trip was in Santa Barbara. Located about 90 miles north of Los Angeles (City of Angels) the stretch of coast along the southern stretch of Santa Barbara County is often referred to as “The American Riviera” presumably because its climate and geography are similar to the north Mediterranean coast in France known as “The Riviera“.

California Condors

We set off amid blue skies wishing we could turn around and head back to Carmel to see those incredible views we had missed yesterday. But we had no time to do that as the OH was due in San Diego in a couple of days time. So once again we delayed breakfast aiming to visit the little town of Cambria and find some of the olallieberry pies we kept hearing about.

Keep your eyes peeled along this stretch of the PCH as it runs very close to the ocean.  The American Riviera

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Road Trips Revisited: The Big Sur

a rugged and mountainous section of the Central Coast of California between the Carmel Highlands and San Simeon, where the Santa Lucia mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. It is frequently praised for its dramatic scenery. The Big Sur has been called “the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States”, a “National Treasure that demands extraordinary procedures to protect it from development” and “one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world, an isolated stretch of road, mythic in reputation.” Wikipedia

With a description like that is it any wonder that I wanted to drive along this road?

Bixby Bridge

Leaving Carmel behind we continued down the PCH heading for Deetjens where we had a delicious late breakfast at the Big Sur Inn. The scenery along the way is stunning. Despite cloud and rain and fog enshrouded cliffs it was still stunning.

What are you waiting for? Get into the car and lets explore the Big Sur

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Road Trips Revisited: The Pacific Highway

Once upon a time and not so long ago I was a much more adventurous spirit. On my first trip to the wonderful state of California I decided that instead of flying between San Francisco and San Diego we should hire a car and drive down. I say ‘we’ but in fact it is me as I am the only driver. Looking at a map I also decided that the fun way to do this would be to travel along the original Pacific Highway and not the new and quicker route the 101.

The PCH (Pacific Highway) is one of those iconic drives that should be done in a pink Cadillac convertible with the top down making the most of the azure blue skies and brilliant Californian sunshine with plenty of Beach Boys and Mamas and Papas CDs on board. In reality this was February and an open top car was not an option.

I planned several stopovers along the route so we didn’t have to rush down and could have the opportunity to stop along the way and visit places, admire views. I hadn’t really taken into account the February weather. Even in California the sun don’t shine all the time.

Pelicans flying over Halfmoon Bay

So, if you fancy a road trip then fasten your seatbelt and let’s get going to Carmel, where once Clint Eastwood was the mayor. San Francisco to Carmel

Small Courtyard
Small Courtyard at the Carmel Mission

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Monthly Photo Challenge: September

One thousand, nine hundred and seventy-five miles and I am finally back home in Cornwall. Not spent enough of this month at home to do a challenge post on the Cornish blog, so here is a summary of my September elsewhere in the UK.

Colchester Castle
Colchester Castle

Starting with a wedding in Colchester, Essex and then winding slowly northwards along the eastern side of the country to Edinburgh, where I met up with the delightful restless one – fellow blogger Jo who has now retreated to her home in the Algarve for a rest. Finishing with a relaxing week in the “Country of the Big Trees” – Perthshire and a brief stopover in Shrewsbury to visit the mother-in-law.

The wedding went off fine, a lovely bright and sunny day after a couple of humid and grey ones so the ceremony and the buffet were held outdoors. A beautiful cake made up of dozens of flower-iced cupcakes, unfortunately I prefer my cake to have more cake than icing and this wasn’t the case. Looked incredible though. And neither the bride nor her father managed to trip over on the uneven flooring!

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Weather-wise it was a pretty good month. Began with hot and humid in Essex, a wet day in Norwich, sunshine and clear skies in Lincolnshire, back to hot and humid in Durham followed by a couple of days in the murky fog and damp, before becoming sunny and bright once more in Scotland. Rained pretty much all the way home, but you can’t have it all!

Glamis Castle, Scotland
Glamis Castle, Scotland

I will write about each of the places we visited in turn, once I have sorted through the hundreds of photos and caught up with stuff back home – not least the garden which appears to have gone wild during my absence.

[the header image is of the skyline in Edinburgh – for some reason the skyline caught my eye there more than anything else – all those spires and chimneys]

The Cardinal is continuing his photo project throughout 2016 – a blogging event, a monthly photo challenge. Read his blog for the new rules this year (he is running two versions) and to view his interpretation and those of other participants.