Our Central California Coast Itinerary

I will write this for those who need an idea of how long it takes to drive from L.A. to San Francisco mostly on the coastal Rt. 1 and see something interesting on the way. We started in L.A. day 1st. and visited Simi Valley during lunch time, then reached Santa Barbara, spent some time there and came to Solvang around 4 pm CA time. I remember that because at 5pm they close all the little stores in Solvang, but they keep the wine tasting places open till 6pm, so we had a chance to taste some 9 sorts of wine. The next morning we spent a couple of hours in Morro Bay, then stopped in Cambria and reached Hearst Castle around 2 pm. Each excursion there takes about 2 h. So after watching the big screen movie they show in the visitor’s center we rushed out to drive as much as we could in the daylight. The sun was setting down pretty fast, remember – it was mid December…So by the time we reached Big Sur – it was totally dark. Ant it is not advisable to come to Big Sur in the dark – hard to find a place to stay. On day 3 we spent some morning time hiking in the State Park by Big Sur, then had lunch on one of the Piers in Monterey, had no time for the Aquarium…Drove to Santa Cruz and walked a little in its Downtown, the Pier and by the time we finally found the Mystery Spot in the redwood forest by SAnta Cruz, it was getting dark. We reached the Lodge on the North side of SC in complete darkness. Good that the lodge had a sauna and a jacuzzi tub, it helped to relax after this hectic trip. On day 4 we enjoyed some morning sunny time on the rocks by the ocean on the northern part of SC and then drove towards San Francisco with short stops. We reached Golden Gate Park around lunch time and had some of our food in the beautiful settings of the park on a table by the lake. After looking around the park we reached the Chinatown area and found a parking there around 4:30 pm. So we hade some daylight still. The next morning it took us several hours to investigate the Piers and Ghirardelli Square and then the Golden Gate bridge area. After driving north and turning East towards the wine country we reached Napa Valley in twilight. On day 5 we drove a lot, in the fog at first and then in the sun until we reached Yosemite NP, spent there a couple of hours and reached Bakersfield for supper and night.