Pacific Coast Highway – A Road to Remember – Part 2
We left off last time in Big Sur, California and that’s where we are going to pick up the story today. Our Challenger had done well, so far. Leaving Big Sur northbound, we soon arrived in the more densely populated areas around San Francisco Bay. The day before, we had booked two nights in a small outskirt motel.
Since we were on a fairly tight schedule, we had to select the places we wanted to visit carefully. But then we actually came across an even better solution while browsing for tour-guides on the internet. We found a map for a route called the “49 Mile Drive“. I mean, we wanted to see as much of the city as possible in one full day, we had a car and love to drive – this was it!
So we got up early, enjoyed a nice continental motel breakfast (a cup of orange concentrate with water and some kind of packed danish, that would probably still be edible in 25 years from now) and then we set off. After the L.A. disappointment, we were really hoping for a better experience exploring San Francisco and oh boy, did the city deliver!
Armed with our map and the GPS on our phone, we quickly joined the “49 Mile Drive”. There were actually road signs pointing out the route all over the city. However, apparently they are a quite popular “souvenir”, so they get stolen quite often. Don’t rely on the signs alone – bring a map.
Since you are spending a lot of time in stop-and-go-traffic in and around the city, it takes about three to four hours to do the 49 miles, if you do it in one go without stopping. But the great thing about it is, that you come across so many interesting places and you can choose to stop at any time to take pictures, enjoy lunch or simply go for a walk.
Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming as well. One guy even saved us from getting a ticket for not turning the steering wheel while parking on a slope. And it makes sense, too. The city streets are pretty steep in some parts, an uncontrolled vehicle in motion has the potential to do a lot of damage.
San Francisco turned out to be a huge contrast to L.A.. The city has a soul. It’s vibrant, interesting and full of great places to explore. We were pretty fortunate with the weather as well. There were a few low clouds, but all they did was make the photos look a bit more dramatic.
Of course, the 49 Mile Drive brings you past Golden Gate bridge. However, Golden Gate did not want to be seen that day.
Initially, we were a bit disappointed that we couldn’t get any good pictures taken, but then we were in for another treat: Twin Peaks Vista Point. If you ever decide to do the 49 miles, this should be near the top of your list!
The drive up there is already worth the visit. You start out in the city and wind your way up twisty roads to then be rewarded with a spectacular view.
Sure, now you could go ahead and argue that this is just another ocean of houses as I said about L.A. in the first part of this series, but San Francisco is more. It’s special and it’s hard to describe, why. It just is.
Maybe it was partly the farewell-gift that the city had given us the next day. Since we were headed north, there was only one way to leave San Francisco in style – across Golden Gate bridge! As we didn’t really get the chance to take some good photos of the iconic structure the day before, our hopes were high that day. Unfortunately this was about everything we saw when we arrived:
Needless to say, we had already given up on pictures at this point. But probably due to the topographics of the bay, it seemed to clear up a bit when we were halfway across.
And when we pulled into a parking lot on the other side, we eventually did get the shot that we were hoping for!
Wait, no, not this one… That’s just a nice old Mustang. Ok, let’s try again:
Now, this may not be a the best picture of Golden Gate ever taken, but it was ours. This was us leaving a city we had grown to love in just 48 hours.
And I think this is a nice way to end this part. In the next one, we will continue our journey to the north.
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