Thursday, June 13, 2013

Great American Road Trip - Day 7 (5/31) - Pacific Coast Highway

We checked out of the hotel around 7:45, and were in the car ready to go by 8.  I took the wheel for the first part of the journey, taking us up I-5 to San Clemente, where we hopped on El Camino Real, which turns into CA 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, at Dana Point.  The drive between there and the Los Angeles area was underwhelming, particularly due to the start and stop (and in some places heavy) traffic, but there were a few nice beach views in there.  We stopped for lunch a little before noon at Umami Burger in Santa Monica, then continued north.  Past LA, CA 1 and the US 101 freeway run concurrently for much of the drive between Ventura and San Luis Obispo, and this greatly sped things up.  Galen and I traded driving duty around 3:30 at a pit stop a little past Santa Barbara, and we continued on up the coast.

The road grew increasingly more interesting as we approached Big Sur, at which point I resumed driving at another stop.  It was after 5:00 when we went through the area.  We made a few stops at vista points along the drive, including just across Bixby (Creek) Bridge.  In addition to the great views, the roads were very winding, and I may have been accused by a certain female passenger of having a little too much fun driving them.

After the Big Sur area, CA 1 joined up with some freeway routes, allowing us to make good time.  We skipped the last part of the coastal drive after Santa Cruz and headed straight up CA 17 toward San Jose, then continued up I-880 Oakland.  We arrived at our Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Emeryville around 9:30.  We checked in, then soon after drove to a nearby CVS, getting through the line just before they closed at 10.  After returning to the hotel, Galen and I walked to the Black Bear Diner across the street to have a late breakfast for dinner.

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