Road trip Highway 1 - California State Route 1
Replies: 24 - Last Post: Feb 7, 2011 3:06 PM Last Post By: Willysnout
Jan 25, 2010 4:37 PM
Jan 26, 2010 12:30 AM
16There's nothing wrong with Pismo aside from overdevelopment, but it's a good deal farther south
Pismo Beach is only 45 miles from Cambria. Two-thirds of the way to Pismo is the small city of San Luis Obispo. Between these three towns, the road is straight, wide, and fast, so you're talking a difference of an hour at the most. Therefore, the distance should not be a factor in your planning. Instead, choose according to the relative merits of the towns in that stretch.
They're both good stops when you are tired from driving south from San Francisco, and allow time to explore that part of the coast including San Luis Obispo the following day.
If this were my trip and I was doing it in two days, I'd stop at one of three towns mentioned here (Cambria, San Luis Obispo, or Pismo Beach). We've argued about those towns on this branch. I like Pismo the best, while others will argue for Cambria and/or San Luis Obispo. I like the old-time surfer beach town feel of Pismo, while others prefer the more refined atmosphere of the New Age boutique shops in the other two places.
Of the three, San Luis Obispo (population 43,000) is the largest. Cambria (pop. 6,000) is the smallest. Pismo (pop. 9,000) is no more "overdeveloped," and in fact significantly less so, than San Luis Obispo. At the height of the summer, Pismo can fill up with tourists (as can Monterey and Big Sur), but this will not be anything close to a problem in March, when you are going.
One good approach would be to skip Cambria and drive to San Luis Obispo. Check it out, and then drive to Pismo Beach and check that out. They are only 15 miles apart, so it would be easy to backtrack if you like San Luis Obispo better. At this time of year, you won't need a reservation in either town. There will be plenty of places to stay.
Jan 24, 2011 10:24 AM
17Hey Willysnout ,
I would love to hear your advise on best rest.
I come from Europe so fine food is a passion of mine.
Edited by: amitbarkan73
Jan 24, 2011 10:33 AM
18Best restaurant that I've been to on Hwy. 1 between L.A. and S.F. is Sierra Mar, at the Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur. I describe a meal there in my Big Sur Diary, 2006. As for "best rest," i.e., places to stay, the Post Ranch Inn is one of the five best hotels I've ever stayed in anywhere in the world, and I've been at some great ones. It's ultra-expensive. If you've got $1,000 desperately looking to escape your wallet, then get a "Tree House" room, which is better than the (even more expensive) ocean-view houses, which aren't as distinctive and get punishing afternoon sun.
In San Francisco, I had a mind-blowing meal at Michael Mina, a restaurant at the Westin St. Francis hotel. It was the chef's tasting menu with the wine, and I think it was about $350 including a 20% tip.
(I see you're a European, so I am compelled to inform you that you we tip a minimum of 15% of the pretax check here, and in top end places 20% is the usual. It's custom here, so please do it. Service isn't included in the bill here. Might even be a good idea to jokingly tell the waiter at the outset that even though you're a European, you'll be leaving an American tip. Waiters are scared of Europeans and Australians, for good reason.)
Another favorite in town is Sam's Grill, on Bush Street. A lot cheaper (maybe $50 to $75), but it's S.F.'s second-oldest restaurant and is very atmospheric. And the fish is outstanding. Charcoal grilled halibut, unbelievably great. And try their tartar sauce -- it's homemade. I also like Sushi Ran in Sausalito. I'm not a sushi connoisseur, so maybe others will have better recommendations, but Sushi Ran is the best I've had.
If you get to the wine country, you won't be able to get a table at the famed French Laundry, but Martini House in St. Helena was great. Chef's tasting menu with the wine. And you never know who you'll meet. I once got talking with some guy who, after the fourth or fifth drink, told me that he was a centimillionaire from the wine business. I'm sure it was true, because other elements of the subsequent conversation were congruent. Also near there is a great lunch spot, a drive-up called Taylor's Refresher. It will be the best hamburger you will ever eat, anywhere, and it's the only drive-up I've been to where you can order a burger, fries, and a glass of gewurtztraminer. Which goes great with that meal, by the way..
You might get advice to eat at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. I've been there a few times now, and whatever fame they once had as "the" original California cuisine restaurant is, in my opinion, not deserved. I think they are riding on their reputation, and I wouldn't go back.
Feb 7, 2011 1:51 AM
19Hope its ok to post this question here, planning a road trip from Seattle to SF in late April this yr, my problem is that i cannot find a car rental co that will rent me a convertible with a pick up in Seattle and a drop off in San Fransisco.
Maybe this is not possible but I find that hard to believe . All help appreciated,
Feb 7, 2011 11:04 AM
Feb 7, 2011 12:38 PM
21I think you are imagining a different kind of weather than you will be experiencing.
In late April, you are still in the rainy season, so you may need that top a lot. When it isn't rainy, there is a good chance it will be foggy along the coast. Even inland you may not find it warm enough to drive with the top down, and certainly not at night.
Seattle averages 13 days of rain in April. The average high temperature is around 15, low of 7-8 A lot of the rain is drizzle, rather than heavy storms.
Portland, Oregon averages 15 days of rain and highs around 16-17, low arround 7. It seems to match Dublin in June in terms of rain & temperature.
San Francisco averages 6 days of rain with a high temperature average of 18, low of 10.
Would you rent a convertible to cruise around Ireland?
Feb 7, 2011 1:25 PM
Feb 7, 2011 2:52 PM
23Ordinarily, what's above is accurate.
But it's been in the high 60s and even 70s during the day for the past month in Northern California, perfect convertible weather. It broke 80 yesterday in San Francisco and much of the East Bay.
Still chilly and rainy in Portland.
A charming restaurant close to San Francisco and on a beautiful beach is La Costanera, 10 minutes north of Half Moon Bay. Delicious Peruvian food and drinks, with indoor and outdoor seating. They own several other good Peruvian restaurants in the city.
Feb 7, 2011 3:06 PM
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