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I can't remember all the places I stopped... but it was one of my most memorable trips I've ever taken. Flew down to Palm Springs to pick up my brand new Elise and then drove it up Hwy 1 back to NorCal.
 

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Great thread, I'll be out in LA visiting my parents next week and will have access to my dad's S2000 (it's no Elise but for this purpose it will work fine). I'm willing to drive up to 2 hours past LA (assuming no stops) and plan to make a whole day out of it. Out of the list that the OP put up, which one of those spots can I hit? Obviously I'm not going to make it anywhere near SF.
 

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Great thread, I'll be out in LA visiting my parents next week and will have access to my dad's S2000 (it's no Elise but for this purpose it will work fine). I'm willing to drive up to 2 hours past LA (assuming no stops) and plan to make a whole day out of it. Out of the list that the OP put up, which one of those spots can I hit? Obviously I'm not going to make it anywhere near SF.
2 hours north of LA gets you to the Santa Barbara area, you could go up the 154 into the wine country, some nice roads, great scenery/wine/food to be found in Santa Ynez

Keep an eye out for the Marina Del Rey drive as well, you could go and get coffee, talk Lotus and maybe tag along?

http://www.elisetalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44358
 

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Well I made it back here's a couple of photo's while I compile the rest and the map. It was absolutely amazing. Crystal clear sky's, cool but not cold, the road literally to myself, I'm so glad I went. Thanks for all the tips it really helped out. Mark this one off the list of things to do before I die, only problem is I think I need to go again!
When the good weather months are back,I would be up for a small well organized weekend group road trip up north! 5-6 cars would be managable with radios and we could stay in Montery, possibly when there is a cool race event happening at laguna seca, or go on up into Napa ? Could take a friday offwork , head up friday day, come back sunday afternoon? At the motor 4 toys show I talked with a cool Elise owner Marc who lives in Montery and drove down for the event! We could hook up with him and some other locals .....

:shift:
 

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I'll be doing this trip this Saturday. OC as far north as possible (at least to Monterey) and back home by Sunday. Anyone have any other tips not previously mentioned?
 

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Bringing this one back from the dead. We're doing this drive for our "honeymoon". Didn't want to sit on a beach for a week so we're going to see the sites in a rented 1 series convertible (would've rented an Elise but need room for luggage and golf clubs).

Trying to figure out a timeline for a 5 day trip up and back from LA to SF. Figure leave first thing Tuesday, get back to LA on Saturday. Any suggestions for good sights to see, must eat restaurants etc? Can we make the trip in 5 days including a few days in SF and a day in Monterrey?

Which cities/sites are good enough for a full day or overnight stay, which places are more pass by and stop for a few minutes type deals?
 

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Take the 5 on the way up and save 2 hours. Then you will be on the ocean side heading back to LA. Santa Cruz has the only true boardwalk (a walk made of boards) on the west coast. You might wanna check it out. Other then that all the usual suspects, Hearst Castle, Monterey Seaquarium (or whatever its called), etc. You can rent ATV's in Pismo and play in the dunes.
 

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Hearst Castle up to Monterey is the meat of the Highway 1 drive and is best taken heading south (that way your on the coast side). So yeah you could save time by taking Highway5 (which is a boring flat road), LA to SF. Or you could take it part way and cut over to one of a couple of fun backroads to 101 part of the way up. Big Sur Nepenthe, would be a good spot to eat at. Just north of Hearst Castle, stop and check out the Sea Lions. Carmel is a nice little town (and if your into art type shops).
 

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Hearst Castle up to Monterey is the meat of the Highway 1 drive and is best taken heading south (that way your on the coast side). So yeah you could save time by taking Highway5 (which is a boring flat road), LA to SF. Or you could take it part way and cut over to one of a couple of fun backroads to 101 part of the way up. Big Sur Nepenthe, would be a good spot to eat at. Just north of Hearst Castle, stop and check out the Sea Lions. Carmel is a nice little town (and if your into art type shops).
Excellent, thanks for the tip on the drive up/down 1. We're making a round trip so we may consider taking 5 up for at least part of the drive. I think we plan to hit Pismo first for some ATV action then head up to Hearst and Big Sur.

Trying to find a place to stay in Big Sur but not many options and the few nice ones are $$$. Open to hotel ideas all along the way and in SF.

Do I need more than 1 whole day in Monterey/Carmel? What about Big Sur? Can you hit most of the high points in one day?
 

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If your looking for a place to stay in the central coast, you could try Monterey/Carmel or a little north Seaside/ Marina. Should be cheaper and more places to pick from and a good base to start from. For a day you could check out Monterey, Carmel, 17 mile drive and Point Lobos. Then as you head out stop in Big Sur (breakfast, maybe) and Hearst Castle on your way back to LA.

BTW 58 would be a good road to cut over from 5 to 101 on your way to Pismo (coming from LA). Then 101 the rest of the way to SF.
 

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If your looking for a place to stay in the central coast, you could try Monterey/Carmel or a little north Seaside/ Marina. Should be cheaper and more places to pick from and a good base to start from. For a day you could check out Monterey, Carmel, 17 mile drive and Point Lobos. Then as you head out stop in Big Sur (breakfast, maybe) and Hearst Castle on your way back to LA.

BTW 58 would be a good road to cut over from 5 to 101 on your way to Pismo (coming from LA). Then 101 the rest of the way to SF.
I was thinking Carmel/Monterey might have more hotels than Big Sur, however that would mean driving backwards for a bit since we're heading from LA north and back.

Initial thoughts are to leave first thing Tuesday AM, drive to Pismo beach, ATV, hit Morro Bay nearby (if it's even worth it), try and make it to Hearst and stop in Big Sur or Monteray for the night.

That might be too much for one day though (lot of driving). Also thought about stopping at Pismo, heading straight for Monterrey for a day then SF for 2 days then hitting Hearst, Big Sur on the way back but open to ideas.

Thinking about squeezing in San Diego as well to play Torrey Pines.
 

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For your initial plan- drive time alone would be a good 6-7 hours. Figure about 3 hours for Hearst Castle and 2 or 3 for Pismo. Morro bay is cool (The West Coast Lotus Meet was there a few years ago) and might be worth a hour or two. Then to fit in Big Sur... think that's trying to pack a bit much into one day. Breaking some of that up on the in and out bound legs of the trip would allow you a little time to relax and enjoy it. Maybe save Hearst Castle for the return trip- it would make for a good mid-way point to stop and kick back for a while.
 

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Try not to take hwy 1 in a rush so you can stop and relax at some of the cool little towns. I just stayed in the east village of Cambria. It's a great place to stay after you have been driving all day as it's a very charming and tiny little town with some good food for dinner. In the morning you are ready to go on hwy 1. Try the Ventana Inn for lunch in the Big Sur area. It's on the east side of the road and very easy to miss. They have an outdoor place on the hill with a great view. Another very nice place! Carmel is a very nice place to spend some time. If you stay there the options for good food are bountiful. I like Clint Eastwoods restaurant.

I just drove up hwy 1 last month to the historics and the road is a little beat up in areas. There were 4-5 construction stop zones and a couple were down to one lane. Pretty much need to crawl over those areas in the Lotus.

It's a great drive and I bet much less traffic then August.

By the way, if you are pressed for time I would pass on the Hearst Castle tour unless you are really into that sort of thing as it takes at least 2-3 hours. You park at the bottom and they bus you up the hill.
 

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For your initial plan- drive time alone would be a good 6-7 hours. Figure about 3 hours for Hearst Castle and 2 or 3 for Pismo. Morro bay is cool (The West Coast Lotus Meet was there a few years ago) and might be worth a hour or two. Then to fit in Big Sur... think that's trying to pack a bit much into one day. Breaking some of that up on the in and out bound legs of the trip would allow you a little time to relax and enjoy it. Maybe save Hearst Castle for the return trip- it would make for a good mid-way point to stop and kick back for a while.
I spent some time and did some research to come up with a new itenerary. Let me know what you guys think. I'd love to know if I'm packing too much into one day or timeframes are realistic (both driving and seeing places). If any of these places are not worth seeing let me know too! I.E. do you just drive through Big Sur and stop along the highway or are there activities to do?

Day 1, Monday October 11
Arrive in LA, pickup car, lunch/dinner with family.

Day 2, Tuesday October 12
Leave Torrance 6 AM for Pismo Beach, stop along the way for breakfast (Santa Barbara)? (3.5 hrs)
Arrive San Luis Obispo 9:30-10:00 AM, ATV at Pismo beach 10:30 to 11:30, eat lunch. Leave 1 PM
Visit Morro Bay from 1-3 (leave at 3 PM)
Drive to Big Sur (3 hrs with stops), stopping at Bixby Bridge and Point Sur Lighthouse. Eat dinner at Nepethane arrive at 6.
Leave for Monterey 7:30 (1 hr) arrive at hotel 8:30

Day 3, Wednesday October 13- Spend day in Monterrey

Early round of golf 7-noon (poppy hills, bayonet and black horse etc, links at Spanish bay?)
Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch 12-1?
Aquarium 1-3?
17 Mile drive 3-5
Drive to SF (2 hrs) arrive 7 check in, dinner

Day 4, Thursday October 14- Spend day in SF

Fisherman’s Wharf/Ghiaradelli Square/Pier 39 (2 hrs)
Golden Gate Bridge/Golden Gate Park (2 hrs)?
Alcatraz Tour (early bird 9:00 AM) or night tour 6:45 (2.5 hrs)
Cable Car
Lombard Street
Exploratorium?
SF Zoo (2 hrs)

Day 5, Friday October 15
Leave SF 9 AM, back to Monterey/Carmel for lunch
Arrive Monterey/Carmel, eat lunch 11 to 12
Drive to Hearst Castle (2.5 hrs) arrive 2:30
Hearst Castle tour 3 to 5 PM
Hearst Castle to Torrance (5hrs), arrive 10 PM

Day 6 Saturday October 16- San Diego
Leave 7 AM, arrive 9 AM. Zoo 9-12
Golf 1-6 PM (Torrey Pines south)
Dinner/wandering around 6 PM-TBD, stay night in SD

Day 7 Drive back to LA
10-noon (2 hrs)
Lunch with family
Leave afternoon/evening back to DFW
 

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Day 2. Recently made my first trip out to Santa Barbara- nice place. Actually if time ran short, would spend more time there and drop Morro bay. Keep in mind this time of year it's going to be getting dark by 7pm. So the Big Sur, part make sure you take in the sights first and save dinner for the end. Weather wise- Oct is the best time for the central coast. Summer the marine layer may only burn off for a few hours in the afternoon.


Day 3. Sounds good.

Day4. Made it out to the Exploratorium, it cool but better suited for the kids I took. Golden Gate park on the other hand, they recently redid the Academy of Sciences and de Young and worth the stop. If you do go to the Exploratorium, the Place of Fine Arts, is right there and should be checked out. In crossing the Golden Gate bridge, Sausalito is a nice town to visit and have lunch.
 
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