Category Archives: Travel

Posts about places I’ve been

Driving CA1 (PCH) from Temecula to Mountain View

I’ve been a Southern California resident all of my life, yet I have not once driven on the famous CA1 (Sometimes called “Pacific Coast Highway” or “Cabrillo Highway”). My recent move from sunny San Diego to Silicon Valley seemed like the perfect moment to experience the famous highway.

I planned the trip to take 2 days and I would drive a rental car with a trunk full of my dearest possessions (basically clothes and my computer). For a semi-leisurely trip, 2 days seems like the minimum (One could accomplish the trip in 1 day if they made no scenic stops, started early, and ate only on-the-go).

Leg 1: San Diego to UCLA

The CA1 does not actually start until Santa Monica. Thus, I decided that I would visit family at UCLA for the first portion of my trip. I took the usual commuter route (I-15N -> I-91W -> I-405N) and arrived in 3 hours. Unfortunately, I left San Diego around 10AM and got slammed with constant stop-and-go traffic once I reached the LA area.

Leg 2: UCLA to CA1

I originally planned to get lunch at Ike’s in Westwood, but could not find parking. Actually, I think that circling Ike’s block took more time than my visit to UCLA itself. Mid-day Westwood traffic is no joke. After circling once, I decided that I would hit the road and find lunch along the way.

Getting from Westwood to the CA1 is extremely simple. The I-10W dumps right into the CA1, so I simply took I-405S -> I-10W -> CA1. From there, the surroundings quickly shift from Santa Monica beach city to motels/restaurants to nothing-but-nature.

Leg 3: CA1 to Cambria

The hotel room I booked for the night was in Cambria, which Wikipedia notes as the midway point for the CA1. Getting there was no problem, albeit a little confusing since CA1 and 101 intermingle. (When in doubt, follow signs for 101N and CA1N, prioritizing those for CA1N). I eventually reached Cambria after a very beautiful drive. The CA1 was closed about 10 miles north of Cambria.

Of course, I had to make a stop at Hearst Castle.

Leg 4: Cambria to 26-Mile CA1 Big Sur

Since CA1 was closed just north of Cambria, getting out of Cambria actually required some backtracking. I took the CA1S toward 46E, which connected to 101N. I then had to take 101N until it reconnected with CA1. Luckily for me, this drive involved driving through some beautiful farmland. Getting stuck behind slow tractors was annoying, but the smell of ripe, in-season strawberries was probably my favorite part of the trip.

After following 101N for a couple hours, it reconnected with the CA1. The Big Sur portion of CA1 is not to be missed, so I took CA1 south for 26 miles. Along this route are beautiful ocean views, plenty of turnouts for pictures, and the famous Bixby Bridge. Of course, once I reached the end of the 26 mile stretch, I had to turn around.. but it was worth it. This stretch added about two hours to my journey, including stops.

The beautiful Bixby Bridge.

Leg 5: CA1 Big Sur to Mountain View

The final portion of my trip was driving up to Mountain View. It was getting late, so the sun was setting and traffic on CA1 was thinning. The ocean fog was rolling in, making for an even cooler drive. Along the way, I stopped at a lighthouse for pictures.

Eventually, I reached 92E which signs indicated “San Mateo”. I took it and followed signs to Mountain View. I arrived at around 7PM.

The Big City

When one thinks about big cities, one usually thinks of the people, the cars, the filth. That’s not what I think about. I think about the huge amounts of people who are each doing their own thing, meanwhile being mingled amongst thousands of others who are also doing their own thing. I think about the brilliance of architecture, the beauty of structures, and the fascinating efficiency of public transportation.

The city I am referring to, of course, is none other than San Francisco. I will be spending the next three months living here, and although it has only been a few days, I am loving it here. I wake up in the morning, walk on the balcony of my apartment in Mission Bay, and take a deep breath of the city air as I stare at the beautiful bay and watch the KT go by. I make myself a plate of eggs and a cup of coffee. After, I join the masses on their commute to work via the KT, get off at Embarcadero, and then proceed to work at the Landmark building. It sounds tedious, but it is really beautiful.

There is something amazing about the journey. I am surrounded by thousands of other people who are doing the same exact thing as me. I am surrounded by thousands of people who have never interacted with me, yet they feel my breath, my presence, and my aura. They, however, have no idea who I am. It makes me question who I am.

Words simply cannot describe the feelings that I feel as I walk around a big city. Whether it be the mysteries of public transportation, the beauty of walking home on the Embarcadero, the great feeling of a 5 minute walk to the nearest Safeway, or the unbelievably large amounts of daily interaction with unbelievably large amounts of people. This place is just amazing.

In fact, I really wonder what my purpose was in writing this post. I actually do not think that there was a purpose at all. I really just wanted to spew words about how much I enjoy the big city and how much I enjoy this lifestyle. Being from Temecula, a city where to get anywhere you had to drive, this walk-and-go lifestyle is extremely fascinating to me. Just as when I visited Boston, I am so excited to be here. Every day, I wake up with a smile on my face because I get to experience the Frisco lifestyle.

Will it get old in a few months like my colleagues are telling me? I hope not. At this rate, I will be living here permanently in no time.


In short, I love San Francisco and everything it has to offer.