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Hey Guys, I'll be cruising from LA to Napa Valley tomorrow, on 101 and PCH, along the coast (509 miles - 9 hrs 47 mins according to Google maps - yeah, ok!). Can you guys recommend any good restaurants or pit-stop along the way? I'll drive home directly on the I-5. It will be my first long road trip in My Elise!



Yes, that's Camry behind me!
 

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DRIVING TO NAPA

I recommend Harris Ranch on Highway 5 between Los Banos and Bakersfield. It's on the Visalia turnoff. There really is not much between Los Banos and Bakersfield, but Harris Ranh has great beef and Mexican food.

Coming up the coast could mean Highway 101 or Highway 1. If you mean Highway 1, there really is not much between Morro Bay and Carmel. It's a great drive, but there is not much in the way of gas stations, restaurants, or towns. I would recommend eating in San Luis Obispo. It is a college town, and there are lots of great places to eat.

If you can make it to Carmel/Monterey, there are lots and lots of great places to eat. It is hard to go wrong. For lunch and high tea, I would recommend The Tuck Box for its scones. For dinner, I would recommend Tapry's (inland on Highway 68 past the airport), Casanova's in Carmel (for dinner), Paradiso (on Cannery Row for abalone if they have it), Rappa's on the wharf (for clam chowder), and the Bistro (in downtown Monterey for almost anything on the menu).

If you are driving on Highway 101, you will probably get hungry about Palo Robles. I would recommend The Paso Robles Inn. It is historic, and the food is pretty good. It will stick to your ribs.

If you plan to eat in Napa Valley, I would recommend dinner reservations. Some places are impossible to get into without reservations.

If you have the time, there are two drives I would recommend. The first is from Harris Ranch to Coalinga to King City. It is not heavily traveled, but it is the way rural California was before the interstate. It drops you out on 101 just south of King City.

The other driveis from King City to Jolon to the coast. Jolon is a wide spot in the road. The old Spanish mission has been restored. Heast's hunting lodge is now quarters for Camp Hunter Liggett. The drive from the crest to the coast offers many hairpin turns and great views. This road is a hidden gem and really lightly traveled.

Pleasant motoring.
 

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I would recommend Highway 1 instead of 101 unless you don't have the time.

Then you can stop at Nepenthe in Big Sur or eat at Carmel
 

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I agree #1 is more fun than 101. In Monterey, the Fish House and/or on #1 out of SF along the coast to Marshall General Store for oysters (Rockefeller, barbque or raw) then into the Napa Valley at the North End around Calistoga, the cheapest and most fun place to stay overnight. Have fun!
 

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Nothing against Patrick, but unless you want to spend a fortune for a steak, I'd skip Harris Ranch. Their burger was crappy and expensive. Maybe buy some steaks to take home, they have a little butcher shop there.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I'll take my time and cruise on the Hwy 1 - PCH, can't wait! Thanks for all the great suggestions guys (Patrick - good details - thanks!) I just might make it back for Long Beach Grand Prix!

Randy, if you're facing North, looking through your hotel window, you'll see me waving from my condo! Maybe all the Lotus peeps can get together for some drinks/appetizers!!! and check out Randy's ride!

Is there a Lotus meet this Friday or Sat in the Bay area? I almost tempted to go to Buttonwillow, Speed Ventures track day on Sat!

Thanks again, and keep your suggestions coming!
 

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Is there a Lotus meet this Friday or Sat in the Bay area? I almost tempted to go to Buttonwillow, Speed Ventures track day on Sat!!
The GGLC has its monthly meeting/social in San Francisco Friday evening and there's always Santana Row in San Jose on Sat morning.

You're always welcome to stop by the house and see how many Lotus you can pack into a garage! PM me, I'm around this weekend.

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
 

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HARRIS RANCH

Nothing against Patrick, but unless you want to spend a fortune for a steak, I'd skip Harris Ranch. Their burger was crappy and expensive. Maybe buy some steaks to take home, they have a little butcher shop there.
You are right when you say that Harris Ranch is a little pricey. However, there really are no alternatives between Bakersfield and Los Banos. That stretch of Highway 5 between Bakersfield and Los Banos is (a) ugly and (b) a culinary desert.

Someone also said that Highway 1 is superior to Highway 101. When you get to Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, and Carmel Highlands, you will know what this means. If you do take the coast, stop at Nepenthe's Restaurant in Big Sur. The prices are stiff, but the view is great. If the trail dust has dried out your throat, they serve adult beverages.
 

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enjoy highway 1. Big Sur is spectacular this time of year. if you have time, stop by the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park for this little gem. (taken a couple of weeks ago)



and make sure you stop by the bridges
<table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/0cOJKlPHdl8r2dGAQn8bbA?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/_4-c4XEfeBiM/Sc8i3rLRzKI/AAAAAAAAAlc/gjWV13CJUlA/s800/IMG_0232.JPG" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/wu.patrick/BigSurSpring2009?feat=embedwebsite">big sur spring 2009</a></td></tr></table>
 

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I'm From Sonoma/Napa area. Some of the best twisty mountain roads are in calistoga. There is an awesome pizza place called the red grape in calistoga. if you want to stay near Napa I would recommend that you check out The Girl and the fig in downtown Sonoma. You will be in the heartland of great food in NorCal so you really cant go wrong. There is a great french bistro that is pretty affordable called Syrah in Santa Rosa that I go to whenever I am home. If you want maps to the mountain roads send me a PM
 
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