Solo trip from LA to San Francisco

Travel time: September 2005  |  by Boban James

I drove from LA to San Francisco- camped en route in the Big Sur area. For me this solo trip was a first, and being on the road all alone without any agenda was incredibly peaceful.

Getting Out of LA

Sometime in early September, when the clients had all taken off for Yosemitian heights and Vegas revelry, I decided to head out to the oft mentioned Big Sur/Monterey coast, about 400 miles up the Coast from LA. The drive was decidedly going to have it's own risks...having heard that Pacific Coast Highway 1 has its own thrills in miles of tightly twisting switchbacks with sheer plunges into the Pacific ocean on one side and landslides from the craggy cliff on the other- and that I'd be doing over a 1000 miles in the space of 48 hours. However, the fact that I'd bought camping gear, and that I had an awesome steed by way of a Pontiac G6 was enough to make me get out early one Saturday morning during the long Labour day weekend.
Known as California's first Scenic Highway (and CA has a lot of Scenic Highways), the coastal highway or PCH as the locals call it, the road intially heads straight through some of the oldest mission towns in California, and later speeds up alarmingly through some of the smallest towns I've seen so far in America...Gorda, Lucia, and some pretty nondescript hick burgs...Getting the beast out of LA, through LA's famous freeways, was a breeze. Traffic was thin and fast moving at 5 am, on I-405 as I zipped through the farmlands of Ventura county , and by about 7 am I had hit the coastal highway PCH 1. The stretch till San Luis Obispo (SLO) is pretty straightforward and pretty much typical of any place in zip through towns at 55mph with the ubiquitous Walmarts and Kmarts dotting the countryside feeling like a swimmer in a pool full of neon eels. It's after you get to SLO that the fun really starts. I stopped over at the SLO Mission, set up in the late 1770s by Spanish missionaries, who came across the rough seas driven by an SLA to add more numbers to the faithful. There was just another tourist at the delightfully peaceful mission- which reminded me of the Aurobindo Ashram in its serenity- in fact the whole town has a very Pondicherry-meets Spanish -America feel to it. None of your Walmarts or Kmarts here, or at any cost the Mission area does not have any. Peering at the stucco finish of the walls and musing on the intrepidness of those Spanish Michael Palins, I bumped into this chap who was carrying his SLR the way troops carry their M-16's or AK-47's or whatever. We eyed each other's SLRs warily, and then figured that hey, neither of us has as yet embraced digital so let's raise the white flag. The man offered to take a picture of me on my SLR, but I thanked him against risking exposure of my face on negative film, previous adventures having gone against the grain, pardon the messy pun- and I moved on.

© Boban James, 2005
You are here : Overview The Americas United States United States: Getting Out of LA
The trip
Start of journey: Sep 02, 2005
Duration: 3 days
End of journey: Sep 04, 2005
Travelled countries: United States
The Author
Boban James is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 15 years.
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