ALONG THE COASTAL HIGHWAY
ALONG THE COASTAL HIGHWAY
The city with the Golden Bridge welcomes us with a magnificent sunset. With flowers in our hair, we set off the next day to explore the hippie metropolis. ? In first gear our car torments its way up the hill to the Coit Tower, where we enjoy the 360-degree view of the entire city. Later we drive along “Lombard Street”, the crookedest street in the world and then park our car right in front of the “Painted Ladies”. These are the five multi-colored wooden houses that have served as backdrops in many TV series and films. Hard to believe but true, a man who later turns out to be the owner of the blue house, starts a conversation with us on the street and before we know it, we get a private guided tour of the house!
The next night in the city of the flower children was to be a little more exhausting … Because our not-so-official places are not tolerated by the law enforcement, we have to move twice. Both times there is a strong knock on the door and a security guard tells us, that we are not allowed to stay here. As we’ll find out later, wild camping along the Californian coast is not easy. Prices for a simple parking spot are horrendous even by Swiss standards: we are not willing to pay 50 dollars or more and so we mostly look for a hideout for the night after dark. This is a major change for us as we had so many fantastic places to sleep in the middle of nowhere in Canada and the US until now.
NASTY BUT COSY
But we are rewarded with wonderful views along the famous Highway #1. We drive all the way south along the coast from Mendocino to the border of Mexico. In the beginning up north, we get caught with the late-autumnal weather. It is rainy and cold. But it doesn’t really bother us since we had so much sunshine over the past weeks and we are enchanted by the atmospheric and mystical vistas over the misty Pacific Ocean. Our diesel heating proves itself once again and we spend cozy evenings in our home-on-wheels. In San Francisco, we even find raclette cheese and so our tiny melting oven is being used for the first time in just the right weather.
WILDLIFE ON THE COAST
In the Monterey area, we marvel at the big mansions of the rich Americans overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and are secretly happy if we find a free parking space with equally beautiful views for our home. ? At the Bay Aquarium of Monterey, we meet beside the famous glowing jellyfish a young man with a dream job: as a diver, he feeds the fish and sharks in the huge tank making it a great show to the spectators.
But as well in freedom there is a lot of wildlife! We observe cute sea otters grooming and caring for their babies. In another bay, we witness show battles of rival male sea elephants defending their stretch of beach and recruiting female partners. The sea lions, however, lie peacefully on the rocks, enjoy the warming winter sun and don’t let themselves be disturbed by the pelicans diving for fish nearby.
The three months go by much too fast and we would like to have extended our stay in the States a little longer. Unfortunately, we can’t prolong our American car insurance and a new deal for another half a year seems to be too long after all…
At the end of our road trip through the USA, we would like to say a few words about America and its citizens. The landscapes are stunning and simply breathtaking and especially (but not only) the national parks more than live up to their reputation. This is only topped by the warmth and friendliness of the people. Countless times they welcome us, ask about our adventure and we feel very well and safe everywhere. As an example, we are approached by Barbara and Sheehan in a parking lot just before Thanksgiving. After we talk a little bit about our trip, the two want to know more and invite us spontaneously to a magnificent, traditional turkey dinner! This more than lives up to the spirit of Thanksgiving, and as the icing on the cake, they give us a whole basket of fresh bread, delicious cheese & wine as we hit the road again. Many many thanks!
CALIFORNIAN BEACH LIFE
A similar experience happens on the famous Pismo Beach. Returning from a walk on the beach we find a few Americans gazing at our car and they invite us to spend a couple of days on the beach with the whole crew of 4×4 enthusiasts. During the day, they race with their motorcycles, quads and buggies up and down the dunes at a mad pace. In the evening we all sit around a huge campfire and tell each other stories about traveling and adventures. The next morning, we observe whales swimming past and with the drone Stefan even succeeds in taking some pictures of the giants. The titans travel along the Californian coast towards Mexico, much as we do on land. We hope to meet these nomads of the seas again when we visit Baja California in Mexico.
Before crossing the border though, our route takes us to Los Angeles with its glamorous Hollywood – who knows, maybe we’ll be discovered. ?