Spring Break Tour 5: Big Sur, divine beauty of CALI

My travel brings me along the coastal line between Santa Maria and Santa Cruz. You will hit stunning cliffs, turqouise water and massive big waves along shore. A deep forest of redwoods and eucalyptus and lots of wildlife. On a good part of the trail the country looks like Ireland and since it is spring, there are blooming flowers all over the place…

The night was too short. I feel ill and crawl out of the bed. Another trip of around 200 miles lies in front of me. It’s probably the most scenic route of the trip, the Pacific Highway US-1 (PCH-1) along the coast and I will pass Big Sur, the most well known region there, known for its divine beauty. My destination is Santa Cruz. I have heard about Santa Cruz about one year ago, when a Professor of the Institute of Chemistry of UCSC was talking in Fulpmes and since this day I am totally eager to find out about that tiny city at the coast. The first place I hit this morning is Pismo and it’s a cute little village by the sea.

I haven’t had any Internet service during my stay at the crappy Motel so I decide to stop and find a cafe to get some breakfast and to my surprise I find the best breakfast of my trip, and of my time in the USA. The place is called

Old West Cinnamon Rolls, the name of the cafe, in Pismo at the coast offers true Espresso, cinnamon buns and everything else a European heart would desire for a great breakfast. The experience is so great, that I need to report on it and if you ever hit this area, make sure to grab you breakfast over there. The Wi-Fi access is granted with the password cinnamon by the way… 😉

I continue the trip and the ocean is wild and merciless. The coastline changes every once and a while, every turn you make along PCH-1 reveals a different scenery. There is not much traffic and the picturesque landscape forces you to stop often and enjoy the views. My music pushes me even more, the windows down, a black and mild cigar in the ankle of my mouth, the spume of the ocean stroking my skin, delivering an unique and incomparable scent to my nostrils. This is how freedom feels and just California offers it in this way. I luv it!

This whole landscape is a theme park of earth porn. You stop the car here and there, have a look down to the beach and see splendid of wildlife. A massive group of elephant seals just lies around and chills. It reminds me of obese German / Austrian / American tourists, taking a sunbath in an all inclusive hotel. Just chilling there, without moving most of the time and when moving just shoveling sand on their fat bellies. Have never seen a stranger animal alive so far!

You certainly have the feeling of a small creature, if you experience the coastline and its power. Building up PCH-1 in this surrounding must have been a challenge, taming this nature will probably never be possible… And every once in a while the sea has gotten a piece of land and the highway is broken apart into the deep. Impressive!

The heart of this coastal strip is called Big Sur and the colors, the sea brings up are like in the Carribean. Nothing more to say, just enjoy the pictures.

And when you leave behind those turquoise lagoons you will hit a deep forest of redwoods. It goes hand in hand. You will find the scent of Eucalyptus as well. The tree came there as an endemit from Australia and causes lots of trouble to the settled specimens… Soon I hit Monterey and all too soon this trip is over. Before I can lay back on the shore of Santa Cruz I have to face the traffic and that is the non-appreciable experience of the day…

Spring Break Tour 2: Los Angeles, Malibu, Santa Monica, great names, huge city!

L.A. is my next stop and it is vast! Many people said they have been disappointed, I am not so far, albeit from the parking tickets I got issued. It’s a lively city with awesome beaches and lots of great things to discover, those 20 hours I will remain here are way too short.

I start at Kirsten’s (my airbnb host) place much later than actually planned. I wake up at 3:30 a.m. and fell asleep again. You know that kind of deep sleep you hit when you already woke up, no chance of realizing the alarm at 5:00 a.m. that was actually the time I intended to leave. Doesn’t matter, it’s vacation right? I start at 9:45 a.m. after yet another round of splendid scrambled eggs from Kirsten’s hens and two decent coffees. The night before I got instructions by one of her friends, to leave as early as possible because of the horrific traffic. Yeah whatever… out of San Diego everything is fine, I make a good mileage but 40 miles towards the greater L.A. area I hit the first CF – would that be nice to be on that passing Amtrak…

Unbelievable to see a train in the USA! I leave interstate 5 at Dana Point and take US-1 PCH (Pacific Highway), great thing to do, but you need time! I see many splendid beaches, one of the most beautiful close behind Dana Point, with dozens of Beach-Volleyball courts in the fine sand.

From there it takes basically 3 hours to Malibu, 2 stops included. Malibu – most likely known due to Charlie Sheen and the TV Series Two and a Half Men – might be great, the cribs are for sure, the accessible beaches aren’t too beautiful tho and the one that probably is has access only for members or a $30 entrance coverage… WTF – officially covered as parking fees, since it is not allowed to close beaches for the public in California.

I decide to proceed to Santa Monica beach, after i have dinner at Malibu Seafood, pretty decent. Half an hour later I’m finally there and go jogging first, about 3 miles directly at the beach, thereafter some workout, great! And afterwards I take a bath in the Pacific, again although it’s pretty cold today. But still so  rewarding!

The sun starts to set as soon as I finish and it’s awesome! I stay there for another hour although it’s freezing cold in the meanwhile. Then I climb the steps up to the Santa Monica district and Palisades Park. It takes me longer than thought but strolling through a beautiful neighborhood never hurts, right?

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Unfortunately  a ticket is waiting for me, for just being 20 min. late at my car. A sweet ticket of $53 for disobey of the night parking prohibition. They charge you $6 parking fees for the whole fucking day, no matter when you arrive, total amount and if you are a couple of minutes too late you get busted. That sucks! Santa Monica beach is great tho and the walk along Ocean Drive just after sunset was a pleasure. I’m pretty done and try to find my way to my place. I.e. time for espresso at Starbucks (Wi-Fi-access for free)…

After a good hour “at home” I start again. Make my way to the Griffith Observatory before closure and it’s totally worth it! You know what? L.A. has several skylines and it’s just humongous in size! While I digitalize some of my impressions about 2 dozens of coyote start howling to the moon which is just newly born, yet just a sickle. What a great mood, directly under the sign of Hollywood!

And thereafter? Right now I’m in the Satellite at Silverline Blvd, today is Monday, they are free of charge and Monday means there is a chance for yet unknown artists. And this place is known as a great location where unknown rock stars were born! I listen to some guys while I blog, couldn’t be better :-), The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers are a tad weird and pretty much country, they sing about Jesus, but somehow gotta say it rocks bad-ass, interesting anyways and they are absolutely real, like devoted to their band’s name.

The guy, Rich Aucion, who’s the last one of the night is crazy, but I really like his style, he knows how to get the people going, although he is a bit scary. His song Push still sticks on my mind!

End of the night for me, still another 45 min. to ride home, L.A. is stretched out! And when I come to my car I find another ticket, this time for $68 for wrong parking, because there was a sign I have overseen… Parking tickets suck, no matter if in IBK, Montreal, Toronto or over here in the US. I just get the feeling they are really cheap in Europe compared to the US. It’s kind of a mean tourist fee, that’s what it is…

Spring Break Tour 1: San Diego

One full day in San Diego offers a lot if you have a car. The beaches are stunning, the wildlife is so close that you can get in touch and the smell of pines fills the air. This certain smell which reminds you of vacation at the mediterranean sea or the Bahamas. It mixes with the smell of the Pacific, a great combination that guarantees a comfortable feeling.

My first night in San Diego already starts good. I hit the Waterfront Bar & Grill in San Diego’s midtown as soon as I have claimed my rental. It is a neat area of the city, right in the center. The phone is going to die soon and I have basically no directions how I get to my place…. I order fish and chips and have a Guinness, very British. Awesome! It takes some time until I finally find my place and first of all I have a power nap. But it’s still early, like 11 p.m. (for me it feels like 2 a.m. eastern time) and it’s my only night where I can have a look at San Diego’s nightlife so I decide to hit the gaslamp district and enter the club FLUXX, and that’s a great show… 🙂

I’m in bed at 2:15 am Pacific time and of course I wake up at 8 a.m., which is 11 a.m. eastern time, I’m crushed and sleep another 2 hours, it rains anyways. My host Kirsten offers me fresh eggs from her hens for breakfast, awesome! I decide to start following her recommendation and get a tortilla with seafood at a little RV in the neighborood, it’s so tasty! Then I have a look over San Diego at Balboa Park, but I decide not to access the zoo since a single ticket is $47 and even if this is the biggest zoo on mother earth and even if they have pandas and everything, there are limits in my point of view which should be obeyed in pricing and my budget is limited as well.

I continue to Coronado an island in front of San Diego, protecting the city from the ocean, forming a bay, and it is really cool, have a great view on the cities skyline and visit beach where the Grand Coronado Hotel is. A massive power the Pacific has today after the flooding, those waves are at least 7 m high without overexaggeration!

But there is much more I’d like to see today so I drive to Point Loma on the northern end of the city, a piece of land which reaches even further into the Pacific. There are plenty of graves of fallen soldiers, the area is not accessible which is a pity and to access the tip you have to pay $5 park entrance fees, that sucks so I continue to La Jolla. And what I get to see I just awesome. First of all I go all the way northwards to world’s famous golf yard Torrey Pines and to the Black’s Beach to its “feet”. This beach is pretty secluded and wild and the cliffs over the beach with the width of the shore are breathtaking!

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I observe some tough surfers and wish I had a board and some more practice… I barely came in touch with surfing but when I see this, I want more! “Maybe it’s time to hit the sea, after 5 years of mountains…”

That is my thought of the moment and so I decide to take a dip, better than nothing… 😉

I get back into my clothes, there is still plenty to see for today so I head off to Children’s Pool Beach. This beach is called like that because of a colony of seals who live there and get their babies over there.

They are protected and chill out at this beach, very close to civilization and in direct neighborhood to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the whole Scripps campus. What a great place to work and live!

While I take my pictures, three nice American ladies come by and ask me if I could take a picture of the three of them. Sure! In return they take a really good one of me. All easy in the US. Hi girls!

Time to continue it’s getting dark and I want to reach Mt Soledad over La Jolla, before it is totally dark. The way up there is plastered with cribs worth billions of dollars in a sum or at least millions, if you look at every villa individually. But they are most beautiful and the location is nearly perfect so close to those great beaches!

I reach the summit and my reward is a great panoramic view over the greater San Diego area at night. Absolutely recommendable!

I decide to finish this awesome day in a Mexican Restaurant in San Diegos Old City. This is probably one of the parts of the city which is not really necessary to visit – for my humble understanding – since it just focusses on tourism. Was still good to be there… I’m glad what’s next!