Travelling the Pacific Highway, Los Angeles – San Francisco

It’s hard to believe we have been ‘on the road’ travelling the Pacific Highway in the USA for just over a month now. It feels like our first three nights in LA’s Disneyland was a long time ago – but then isn’t that what it’s always like when you’re travelling and having fun? Meeting the locals, staying in new places, experiencing new and wonderful things – travelling is most definitely all part of ‘broadening your horizons’.

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Having said that it’s been a balancing act trying to squeeze in a few hours of work in between driving along the Pacific Highway, one of the most scenic drives in the world, but I managed it. Signing up six new Australian clients in June and dealing with a number of travel advisory enquiries has been a challenge (thanks Katie for looking after Tom & Reilly as much as you have thus far).

Anyway, this article gives you a snap shot insight into what its been like travelling by car between these two contrasting US cities. For Tom (5) and Reilly (3) Disneyland was most definitely the highlight, especially the ‘Rocky Mountaineer’ railroad roller-coaster (even if Reilly was an inch or two too short!) You should have seen their little faces when the parade began, not to mention the evening fireworks – the money they spend on this spectacular finale everyday is probably more than most countries would on New Year’s Eve – amazing!

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Visiting the Danish village of Solvang and enjoying probably the best pancakes we have yet tasted is a must do experience.  We also found ‘Cecco’ an excellent Italian restaurant with child friendly menus and garden outside. The Village is only 132 miles north of LA, 297 miles south of San Francisco and 382 miles west of Las Vegas.

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Which reminds me, where were you when Germany won the World Cup?! Germany or Argentina…not an easy choice if you’re a ‘Brit’ but I was supporting for the Germans myself and what a match! The winner of last months competition about who you thought would win was Mr. David Marriott who lives in Dulwich, London. We found ourselves in a child very friendly bar in Monterey and had a ‘birds eye’ view of the TV screen as most Yanks weren’t interested!

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Hearst Castle – It’s fascinating history begins in 1865, when George Hearst purchased 40,000 acres of ranchland. In 1919,William Randolph Hearst inherited what had grown to more than 250,000 acres, and was dreaming of ways to transform it into a retreat he called La Cuesta Encantada—Spanish for “Enchanted Hill.” By 1947, Hearst and architect Julia Morgan had created Hearst Castle: 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways—all built to house Hearst’s specifications and to showcase his legendary art collection.

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Chilling out by the pool in the hot tub – well, after a hard days driving and sightseeing, it’s just got to be done!

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Classic steam train ride Santa Cruz – Back in the 1880s, steam locomotives transported timber from California’s coastal mountains. Roaring Camp Railroads, a recreation of a logging town preserves and promotes this snippet of history by inviting passengers aboard these trains where conductors share fascinating stories as they pass through towering redwood forests to the San Lorenzo River gorge before making their way to
Santa Cruz Beach. We had a fantastic few hours on this wonderful train – I would recommend it to people of any age.

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Broadwalk funfair rides Santa Cruz – Over a century-old, the oceanfront Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has attracted generations of visitors with its thrilling and tame rides, arcade games, food stands and eclectic events, including the first Miss California pageants and the more recent Movies on the Beach series. I can only say that Santa Cruz was certainly a highlight – the people, attractions and choice of restaurants made it feel like we were in an authentic (even though a bit touristy) US town. Santa Cruz County is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States.

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San Francisco – is a definite must see destination for anyone holidaying in California for the first time. We enjoyed one of the many ‘hop-on hop-off’ buses that got us around the city quickly and economically. We actually stayed close to ‘Fisherman’s Wharf’ as there were so many attractions close by and walking up to the Italian & Chinese quarter was an easy stroll too. San Francisco is a great city for at least three nights, but right here, right now, I could not possibly tell you all about it – you’ll have to visit the place yourself to find out.

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Next stop – Portland, to visit our old Kiwi friends, Ollie & Kirsten…

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