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Day 52

July 21, 2010 10 comments

Location: Santa Rosa, CA

Miles Driven: 525

Total Miles: 13,151

Taylor had to head out to work early, and my plan was to be a bum for the better part of the morning.  I took advantage of the continental breakfast, relaxed for a bit, and then got some exercise before getting ready.  I made it a point to shave the beard that had been growing on me for about two weeks, and man, that took a long time.  Thanks again to Taylor for letting me treat his hotel like my own.

Around 1PM I was on the road and making my way north along Highways 101/1 along the coast.  It was a beautiful drive, and I had good views of the blue Pacific.

Farmland near Hearst Castle

Big elephant seals on the beach

The only bad thing was I got hit with some overcast skies as the drive went on.

One of my last glimpses of the sun

Winding turns along Hwy 1

Looking back along the coast

I had underestimated how long it would take to get north via Hwy 1, as at some points you need to travel fairly slow going around the turns.  Before I knew it, it was dark, and I wasn’t even close to San Francisco (and the heavy clouds didn’t help).  I eventually veered off of Hwy 1 around Monterey, and made a beeline towards Santa Rosa.

In Santa Rosa lives my buddy Kevin, a guy I knew back in college and became friends with thanks to us being assigned to the same project team in a class.  Haven’t seen the guy since a reunion with that professor several years ago.  So I’ll hang with him for a while, check out San Fran, and enjoy the nice company in Northern CA.

joe

Day 51: The other side of the country

July 21, 2010 1 comment

Location: Santa Clarita, CA

Miles Driven: ~370

Total Miles: 12,626

Despite the 90 degree heat, I woke up fairly comfortable in the car and had a good night of rest.  Hit the road before 7AM and made my way southwest towards San Diego, first destination of the West Coast.  I had never been to southern California before, and the landscape was pretty interesting.

The swing in temperature from inland as I got more towards the coast was pretty dramatic.  By the time I was on the outskirts of San Diego, the temperature had dropped to 70 degrees.  I made my way towards the downtown area, then west towards the beaches.  And the trip’s first views of the Pacific Ocean….

Hmm, looks probably a bit more dismal than the Pacific Ocean we all think about in our heads.  It was a cloudy day near the water, and a bit chilly. I didn’t need a jacket, but the water was freezing.  Don’t know how people were swimming/surfing.

I walked along the beach for a while, and made my way to that long pier.

a view from the pier

At the end of the pier

Well, it wasn’t the bluest Pacific I had seen years ago off the coast of North, but still pretty cool to be out on this side of the U.S.  Strange to think it wasn’t that long ago I was on the shores of the East Coast.

So I made my way back to the car and decided to push north towards the Los Angeles area.  It wasn’t a bad drive – less than 3 hours, I think – and I headed towards Manhattan Beach.  There, my well-traveled friend John (and former host in Georgia), recommended I hit up an Italian restaurant called Mama D’s and order their chicken penne with pink sauce.  He described this dish eloquently to me – “if you put it on your forehead, your tongue will beat its brains out.”

A great dish. Thanks John

After that filling meal, I headed towards the beach area to hang out.  Now if San Diego was slightly cooler than inland California, Manhattan Beach was downright chilly.  I could’ve used a jacket.  But the sun was out, fortunately.

Manhattan Beach

After hanging out for a bit, I left the beach, got back in the car, and made my way north to Santa Clarita where a friend was staying.

Taylor and me

Taylor just moved out here from Georgia for work, and was set up with temporary living at a hotel.  Taylor made me feel right at home and said I could take advantage of the place as long as I wanted.  Great to laugh again with a good friend.  He may have attended Georgia Tech, but he’s an all right dude.  Thanks buddy.

On Tuesday I’ll make my way further north towards the San Francisco area, and drive up famous Highway 1 along the coast.  Every time I read an article about “Best drives in the U.S.”, the CA Coast is always mentioned.  Can’t wait.

joe

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