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Old 18th September 2007, 03:04   #1
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Default California cruisin... Part II - The Road...!!

After the deserts of Nevada, it was time to hit the ocean again. We had done
till carmel, but there was still a very interesting part of the California
coast left to explore.
This is the Big Sur. No pigs here though, just a very very rocky
coastline with some interesting topography, state parks, waterfalls(unfortunately, now dry). There was a little bit of offroading opportunity too. In other words, this was a complete adventure.

The Plan
The Plan was, that there was to be no plan. We drive on the california highway 1 through the Big Sur region, and go till the Hearst Castle. If possible try to get a tour etc.,(unfortunately couldn't), and then come back to the pavilion. Pretty ambitios plan. We were going to cover approximately 400 miles in 1 day, or half day to be precise, considering we left san jose only by 12:30pm!

The Rent a car thingy
This time the booking was at dollar.com. For Vegas trip I had used their cars, and from my experience here(Enterprise, Dollar, and Avis), these guys are the best, and Avis are the worst. Having a huge rental car company does not matter, its how willing you are to please your customers. So here I am at the counter chatting with a friendly representative, who gives me the free upgrade option to the Dodge Avenger. I tell her that last time I took this car, and my neck was aching. She was almost apologetic and said that she will try something else. So she called up the lot and asked if they have a Sebring or a Charger? Well nothing available. Then I ask her is there any way I can have a Mustang at the same price. She looks a little confused and then says, sure, if there is one at the lot.
As luck would have it, no mustangs for me.
So there I am looking undecisive. So then she tells me, why don't you rent a jeep. The LDW(Loss damage waiver) is 14.99$ instead of the 8.99$ but everything else is same. And its a comfortable 3.7L V6 Suv. I am already jumping in joy(Of course my brain conveniently shuts down the part of my neural system which is shouting 15mpg 15mpg 15mpg aaaaaaahhhhhh).
So there I go to the lot and am given keys to the Jeep Liberty!
As I get in its like a cockpit.
There are 5000 lights 2000 buttons and 400 gears.
Just kidding! heh heh
Anyways I look around, the manual and stuff and take wheel of the thing. This is ABS, TCS, ESP, Phd, MA, BeD, Btech, Mtech, MBBS etc., you name it she has it.
It also has a computer which cheerfuly informs me that the last guys got 16 miles to a gallon.
So there and then I reset the thing, and hope that I get atleast a little more. At the same time I am just too escatic to have 210 horses at the rear wheels to care about mileage.
If you are wondering how ours looked like, here are a couple of pictures



The road! and the trip!
The Big Sur region starts somewhere south of Carmel on the California highway 1. For all practical purposes, it lasts till the Hearst castle.
For a roadie, the california highway 1 scenic route is not just a road. Its a holy place. Something which must be worshipped.
It winds high and low along the rocky pacific region of Big Sur, climbing to dizzy heights, with huge bridges spanning lofty canyons, and landscape changing from coniferous to desert in a heartbeat.
Along the route there are 4 state parks, and you get a 8$ pass which allows your vehicle to enter all 4.
Our first stop after the carmel bridge(start of the big sur trip) was the Point Lobos state park, where we got the Passes and the maps

After a short while here, the time was to hit the road again.

This route is full of Vista points(I don't remember the names of most of them!).
So our first stop was this lovely place. I think its Abalone Cove


Driving along the highways on twisties we came across to lovely vistas like this one


A very prominent spot before the much famed "Hurricane point" is the Bixby creek bridge. At this point an untarred road called the coast road takes for the hills along the pacific. Before this road was made, this was the only road to cross this particular point, and it was impassable in wet weather!
Bixby Creek Bridge:

The young at heart!!


From the Bixby bridge we drove the the Hurricane point. No hurricanes, but it was pretty windy here.
Here's the Bixby bridge from far far away

California Highway 1:


The next stop was the Andrew molera state park. We decided to skip this part and do some adventure.
Remember the coast road which was in use before the bixby bridge was built. Well it starts at bixby bridge and comes out to merge with highway 1 at this state park.
So off we go on the dirt track. It sure was dusty and bumpy. And it sure made me smile that we had the jeep!
Rear wheels spinning in the loose gravel, ESP lights flickering away and tail snapping out with every breath, what more can you want.
View from the cockpit

Do you see the pacific?

The steed


After driving for a few miles and having fun in the loose gravel, decided to turn back. This was downhill fun now. Now I have really understood the fun of having a powerful RWD. The best part was the launches. Floor the accelerater, watch the ESP light flicker as the rear wheel starts spinning, flick the steering to correct as the tail steps out. Rinse and repeat!

cont....
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Old 18th September 2007, 03:05   #2
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After the off road fun, it was time to go further, and enjoy some hiking

So off we went to the Pfeiffer Big Sur state park, to see the waterfall. The hike was great, the trail was nice, but the fall was all dry.

The trees were pretty tall


After this we decided to make our next stop the Limekiln state park, and to enjoy the vista points on the way. We took a small detour to the pfeiffer state beach and saw a horse farm!

This was on the Sycamore canyon road.
After some driving it was time fora couple of vista points, including the Burns north vista point, one of the most exciting vista points en route.
I forgot the name of the first vista point(does it even have a name?)









At the burns north vista point, this is where most famous "signature" big sur pics are taken



It was time to keep on driving, stopping on the way of course!

The Roaaad!
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Old 18th September 2007, 03:05   #3
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Our next state park was the limekiln park. The aim was to see the waterfall, but the water was less and the hiking trail in a very very bad shape with treefalls etc., so just explored the forest

Fairyland

The campgrounds


Now it was getting late and we decided to try out luck at the hearst castle. The castle was closed, we were late by few hours... So it was just time to enjoy the view

Star

Star has set

Thats an elephant seal


Soon it was dark, and it was time to drive back. Pitch dark with no lights anywhere. The sky was amazing. You could see the milkyway!
Too bad we didn't camp the night, and I kick myself for not taking any long exposurs!


On the way back I missed the highway 156-E exit so had to make do with 152E, which crosses the hills!
Tired and hungry it was 11:30 when we reached home(instead of planned 10:45ish).
What a day it was.

And for the curious I got 17.6mpg.
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Old 18th September 2007, 03:10   #4
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Goodness! I had no idea that CA was so beautiful..amazing shots and the first pic does look like an ad for Jeep
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Old 18th September 2007, 03:38   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
The Rent a car thingy
This time the booking was at dollar.com. For Vegas trip I had used their cars, and from my experience here(Enterprise, Dollar, and Avis), these guys are the best, and Avis are the worst. Having a huge rental car company does not matter, its how willing you are to please your customers.
Enterprise is excellent, and u can get a weekend deal if u pick it up on a Friday and drop it off on monday, u get half price. If Enterprise makes you wait they will compensate by full gas tank or even a free upgrade..without much of a fight.
Very nice pics dude , reminds me of California

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Goodness! I had no idea that CA was so beautiful..amazing shots and the first pic does look like an ad for Jeep
its not as scenic as other states but...

Last edited by chetanhanda : 18th September 2007 at 03:39.
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Old 18th September 2007, 09:54   #6
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Oh man, lucky you. Great pictures and report. There are few places that are as good for a cruising holiday as California. I had taken an Accord up to Big Sur, Napa Valley and Monterey....enjoyed every moment of it.

How was highway 1, TSK?
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Old 18th September 2007, 10:20   #7
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aaaah! I dont want to read any of your further travelogues, it making me jealous. The locales are amazing, photography perfect and the ride, something to desire for.




pssst! i still might sneak in

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Old 18th September 2007, 12:03   #8
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Nice pictures again..
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Old 18th September 2007, 12:46   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Oh man, lucky you. Great pictures and report. There are few places that are as good for a cruising holiday as California. I had taken an Accord up to Big Sur, Napa Valley and Monterey....enjoyed every moment of it.

How was highway 1, TSK?
Highway 1 is paradise. Those long freeways like I-5 are boring. Arrow straight roads where you can sleep due to boredom.
Highway five is exciting. Its twisty. There are sharp curves, dips, it narrows down and then widens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dadu View Post
aaaah! I dont want to read any of your further travelogues, it making me jealous. The locales are amazing, photography perfect and the ride, something to desire for.
pssst! i still might sneak in
Thanks for your kind words. I guess its more fun renting a car here than owning one.
I have always rented a economy here, and except for the avis fellows everybody gave a free upgrade
So lets see my extensively driven car list
1. 2006 Toyota Corolla - 440 miles
2. 2007 Chevy Cobalt - 200 miles
3. 2007 Dodge Avenger - 1300 miles
4. 2007 Jeep liberty -400 miles
5. 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid - 700 miles
And its just been a month since I started driving in california

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Nice pictures again..
Thanks torqy
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Old 18th September 2007, 14:21   #10
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Pic's are very good. I had driven on Highway 1 last year from SFO to redwood forest for the second time and it is awesome drive.
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Old 18th September 2007, 15:04   #11
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Fantastic pics, Though I have seen some good pics of Bay Area, california but they are not that clean and impressive.
Did you get a chance to visit this Gurudwara?
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Old 18th September 2007, 17:05   #12
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Tanveer, nice pics n write up.
As dadu said, makes me feel jealous everytime i go through your travelogues.
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Old 18th September 2007, 17:35   #13
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@ Tanveer
Again very interesting and picturesque travelogue

LOL,your pics are professional wallpaper style.kudos

and like some other members i also never thought that California is so very beautiful.

Enjoy your stay
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Old 18th September 2007, 18:04   #14
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Beautiful pictures and a great Travelogue. Lovely!
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Old 18th September 2007, 19:42   #15
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*GASP*

Those are BEAUTIFUL pictures Tanveer. Awesome man. The Jeep looks the part. I love the pics of the forest - am drooling over them right now. The road looks so inviting maaan.

Show me more !!!
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