San Simeon to Santa Monica

Bright and reasonably early, we set off for another day dashing down south along the coast! We drove two miles to Hearst Castle – unfortunately we couldn’t get up far enough to take photos, but the William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach opposite looked lovely in the morning sun.

We headed down to Morro Bay, known for Morro Rock, a volcanic peak jutting out of the ocean. It’s one of the Nine Sisters, a 21 million year old chain of rocks, now only tribespeople can climb Morro Rock but there is a beach at the base. We also saw the power plant – three tall, thin chimneys situated by the bay which is a bit of an eyesore.
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Next up was Pismo Beach, the biggest of San Luis Obispo Bay’s ‘Five Cities’ with a sweet, touristy town area and great beach. I got all excited when I saw signs for Pismo Beach Car Show, with hot rods and muscle cars but sadly it’s later in the month.

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Back on the road past many vineyards, we stopped off at a pretty vista point in the sun on the way to Santa Barbara.

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Driving into Santa Barbara was a beautiful church, and many red tile roofs and white stucco buildings which conveys the towns Spanish mission origins. With warm weather, many beautiful palm trees, lovely tree-lined streets and home to a glorious sandy beach, no wonder Santa Barbara is known as the American Riviera. We went into the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, built in Spanish-Moorish Revival style. There is hand painted ceilings and beams, wrought iron chandeliers, a room housing full wall murals and a free to visit clock tower with 360 degree views of the town, ocean and mountains.

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We drove by the beach and Stearns Wharf but had to get back on the road because we needed to make Santa Monica by early evening – under an hour was just never enough and I’d love to come back and visit again for far longer.

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Continuing south on the Pacific Coast Highway into the Los Angeles area, we entered Malibu – 27 miles of scenic beauty (so said the road sign). Past many beautiful white sand beaches, the sun shone as we arrived in Santa Monica.

We chose uniquely decorated Lula Cocina Mexicana on Main Street for dinner, one of many bars, restaurants and shops on the main drag.

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We met our friend who lives in the area (and is kindly putting us up overnight) and walked down Santa Monica Pier, all lit up in the dark.

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After a couple of drinks in Rick’s Tavern back on Main Street we turned in for the night.

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