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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pacific Coast Highway: From LA to SF and beyond

After leaving the ferry from Santa Catalina Island I picked up my rental car and started driving North. But rather than getting there as fast as possible, I chose the more scenic Route 1, which is also known as Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Sections of this Highway were first constructed in the 1930s and most of the bridges built back then are still standing today.

Since it was already late afternoon, I followed the PCH to Oxnard. On the way I passed many beautiful beaches and a lot of traffic...

Early the next morning I continued North, making a first stop in Santa Barbara to admire a gigantic fig tree, which is 138 years old! Next to the tree you can see a historic rail car.
The PCH then continued mainly inland through common countryside, which wasn't too remarkable. At Morro Bay, we reached the ocean again and the landscape started to become very intriguing. It reminded me a bit of the Swiss mountains, just with an ocean next to it.

After this picturesque stretch the road flattened out again and we came to a beach with a big Elephant Seal population and very inquisitive squirrels.


Then we came back into the hills again and in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns Statepark I saw a beautiful small beach with a waterfall.




But also the regular coastline offered spectacular views.
After so many natural wonders, I stopped in Castroville to marvel at something man built. The World's largest Artichoke!



I drove all the way North past San Francisco to San Rafael, where I met up with friends from Carnegie Mellon University and spent a relaxing Sunday.

Early the next morning I went to the Muir Woods, a State Park with a large population of impressive Redwood trees. In addition I also spotted a shy rabbit and a couple of grey squirrels.
Muir Woods is well known as a location for famous movies, such as Return of the Jedi and Vertigo.

After a strenuous 1.5 hour hike, I joined the PCH for a last time to drive back in the direction of San Francisco.

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