An excellent driving effort from Gareth saw him sat behind the wheel for almost ten hours over two days as we left Yosemite on Friday morning, passing the considerably bigger queue to get in the park than we had encountered two days previously. Weekends at Yosemite should probably be avoided!
We took a diagonal south west route through California, only stopping for petrol once, until we reached San Luis Obispo. It’s a cute little town where I had reserved a table at Luna Red, a popular tapas restaurant which on that evening had a band playing next door in a small park. The food was outstanding, some of the best I’d ever eaten, and it’s not surprising that this whole town has a reputation for excellent fresh food and farmers markets.
We went onto stay in Santa Maria (where the rooms were cheaper than San Luis Obispo…and the local area definitely not as inviting), stopping just before touristy Pismo Beach to get some lovely sunset shots. In the morning we were back on the road, driving down the Pacific Highway and stopping at Santa Barbara for lunch (at the Lucky Penny, a pizza restaurant decorated with 160,000 pennies) before a paddle in the sea just before Malibu.
Our hotel was based in upmarket Manhattan Beach, and the Best Western Manhattan Beach was considerably nicer than the Travelodge the night before. We headed down to the beach to watch our last California sunset, and to get an early night before our 4.30am (!) start to New Orleans from Los Angeles airport in the morning.
California, you’ve been amazing – we’ll be back!!