From San Francisco to Santa Barbara

Leaving San Francisco and taking a last look at the Golden Gate Bridge from the Presidio Parkway

Leaving San Francisco and taking a last look at the Golden Gate Bridge from the Presidio Parkway

This is the second page documenting our California vacation; from here, you can also access page 1
Click on any image to see a larger (2400 x 1600 pixel) version!

The morning of March 10, we left our San Francisco hotel and, taking a last good look at the Golden Gate Bridge from Presidio Parkway, drove to Lands End Park. We wandered around on the Coastal Trail for a while; the idea was to get to a point from where one was supposed to have yet another great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. This was true enough, but it was very windy, and so there was a lot of mist in the air preventing me from getting a clear shot. We stopped a few more times on our way to Monterey, either to admire a view or grab something to eat.


In Lands End Park In Lands End Park

In Lands End Park

In Lands End Park


In Lands End Park On Lands End Park Trail

In Lands End Park

On Lands End Park Trail


Near the Lands End Park Main Parking Lot Bunker on Devil's Slide

Near the Lands End Park Main Parking Lot

Bunker on Devil's Slide


The Pacific near Pescadero The Pacific near Pescadero

The Pacific near Pescadero

The Pacific near Pescadero


Some of the waves are impressive!

Some of the waves are impressive!


Driving into Pescadero for some artichoke bread at Arcangeli Pescadero residence

Driving into Pescadero for some artichoke bread at Arcangeli

Pescadero residence


California Highway 1 near Castroville Picking up some fruit on the way to Monterey

California Highway 1 near Castroville

Picking up some fruit on the way to Monterey

Monterey and the 17-Mile Drive

The very first thing we did when we arrived in Monterey was to head for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a wonderful place famous, among other things, for jellyfish like these. Amazingly, we found a parking spot nearby and began exploring the beautiful exhibits. It was rather dark inside, and I was glad I had brought my ƒ/1.4 lens. At some point, we took a break in the aquarium café where we had something to drink. Two of us had a small treat to go with our coffee while Eric enjoyed the largest macaron we had ever seen.


Purple-striped jellyfish Pacific Sea Nettle

Purple-striped jellyfish

Pacific Sea Nettle


The huge glass provides an immersive experience That's a lot of anchovies!

The huge glass provides an immersive experience

That's a lot of anchovies!


Common Murre A little bit of serenity amid the hubbub Tufted Puffin

Common Murre

A little bit of serenity amid the hubbub

Tufted Puffin


Scallops Bat Ray

Scallops

Bat Ray


The view from the Monterey Aquarium terrace

The view from the Monterey Aquarium terrace

In 1980, I had driven along California Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles with my mother. At the time, I had taken many photos, including a couple of the famous Lone Cypress, but I had not liked the way those had come out. Now, 44 years later, I got another chance. The weather was not as good as it had been back then, but at least the photos turned out reasonably well. These days, one can see the tree by taking the 17-mile Drive on the Monterey peninsula. I took several photos; the one below may not be the best, but I needed one in landscape format to fit the layout of this page. All things considered, I prefer this photo, taken in rapidly changing light. That evening, we had dinner in Monterey; the following morning, we set out for Santa Barbara.


Along Oceanview Boulevard in Pacific Grove Near the spot where John Denver died when his plane crashed

Along Oceanview Boulevard in Pacific Grove

Near the spot where John Denver died when his plane crashed


Along the well-named Oceanview Boulevard This local resident was not at all afraid of us

Along the well-named Oceanview Boulevard

This local resident was not at all afraid of us


The Pacific at Pebble Beach The Lone Cypress in front of Carmel Bay

The Pacific at Pebble Beach

The Lone Cypress in front of Carmel Bay

Leaving Monterey

Several interruptions of California Highway 1 due to weather-related road damage made it impossible to follow the coast all the way, so we were forced to head inland and follow U.S. Route 101 south to just past Paso Robles, then take State Route 46 to rejoin the coast near Cambria. Instead of heading south towards Santa Barbara, we chose to make a detour and drive north to San Simeon to see the elephant seal rookery on the Piedras Blancas beach.


On the Monterey–Salinas Highway On US 101 heading south to Paso Robles and State Route 46

On the Monterey–Salinas Highway

On US 101 heading south to Paso Robles and State Route 46


Panorama taken from Route 46 (called Green Valley Road here) on our way to the coast

Panorama taken from Route 46 (called Green Valley Road here) on our way to the coast


Heading north on California State Route 1 towards Cambria On Main Street in Cambria

Heading north on California State Route 1 towards Cambria

On Main Street in Cambria


On Main Street in Cambria A busy Cambria backyard

On Main Street in Cambria

A busy Cambria backyard


On West Street in the Cambria "suburbs"—two blocks from Main Street

On West Street in the Cambria "suburbs"—two blocks from Main Street


The Elephant Seals at San Simeon


View from the Elephant Seal Vista Point in San Simeon At the Vista Point in San Simeon

View from the Elephant Seal Vista Point in San Simeon

At the Vista Point in San Simeon


No matter which way one turns... ...one is bound to spot... ...a few elephant seals.

No matter which way one turns...

...one is bound to spot...

...a few elephant seals.


Younger animals and females tend to stay closer together They appear to enjoy soaking up the sun

Younger animals and females tend to stay closer together

They appear to enjoy soaking up the sun


When sea birds get a little too close the animals react What a proboscis!

When sea birds get a little too close the animals react

What a schnozzola (eat your heart out, Jimmy Durante!)


Adult male elephant seals reach up to 20 feet (6 meters) in length and weigh up to 8,800 pounds (4,000 kgs)

Adult male elephant seals reach up to 20 feet (6 meters) in length and weigh up to 8,800 pounds (4,000 kgs)

Driving to Santa Barbara

We left the San Simeon elephant seals around 3 p.m. and set out for Santa Barbara. We used California Highway 1 until San Luis Obispo; there, we switched to US 101 and followed that road to California Highway 154, San Marcos Pass Road. We stayed on that lovely scenic road and stopped at the Upper Vista Point to admire the view over Santa Ynez Valley and take a few pictures. From there, it was a short 45-minute drive into Santa Barbara where we arrived a few minutes after 6 p.m.


On California Highway 1 after Morro Bay Cabrillo Peak photographed from the highway near San Luis Obispo

On California Highway 1 after Morro Bay

Cabrillo Peak photographed from the highway near San Luis Obispo


On US 101 in Pismo Beach Climbing up to San Marcos Pass

On US 101 in Pismo Beach

Climbing up to San Marcos Pass


Panorama taken from Upper Vista Point off San Marcos Pass Road on our way to Santa Barbara

Panorama taken from Upper Vista Point off San Marcos Pass Road on our way to Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

Upon arrival, we drove straight onto Stearns Wharf, a wooden pier from where one has a great view over the yacht harbor and parts of Santa Barbara. The evening light was beautiful and it felt good to stretch our legs. We then went back into town, parked, and walked around for a while. Eric had been doing all the driving, and so it seemed only fair to give him first pick of where to have dinner. He chose Taqueria Cuernavaca, a Mexican restaurant. The truth is that I am not overly fond of Mexican food, and when I saw the place, I feared the worst. However, despite its very rustic appearance, Taqueria Cuernavaca served a delicious meal that I enjoyed very much. We took a digestive walk back to the car and then headed for our hotel. Tomorrow, we are continuing our journey to Venice Beach—and beyond!


On Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara On Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara

On Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara

On Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara


Looking over to the Santa Barbara Yacht Harbor Looking along the Museum of Natural History Sea Center towards town

Looking over to the Santa Barbara Yacht Harbor

Looking along the Museum of Natural History Sea Center towards town


On State Street At the intetrsection of State and West Cota Streets

On State Street

At the intetrsection of State and West Cota Streets


Inside the Paseo Nuevo open-air shopping center On State Street after sundown

Inside the Paseo Nuevo open-air shopping center

On State Street after sundown


Evening fun on the water

Evening fun on the water


The photos on this page were taken on March 10 and 11, 2024.

This is the second page documenting our California vacation; from here, you can also access page 1

Stay tuned for the final installment of our California trip report!





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