Highway 1 Guide

July 30, 2011

California Highway 1 Book

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California Highway 1 BookFor fans of Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, and George Pelecanos: When ex-Navy SEAL Thomas Highway’s wife is murdered right in front of his eyes, he sets out to find the men responsible. His investigation leads to Ferdinand Montoya, the former kingpin of a powerful Mexican drug cartel, but before he can exact justice, the Department of Homeland Security steps in and orders him to back off. Despite the threats from the Homeland Security, Highway presses on, and soon finds himself caught up in a conspiracy involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, underground cross-border tunnels, and a shady government agency intent on using Highway to execute their own agenda. From the sun-drenched beaches of San Diego to the crime-ridden streets of Tijuana, HIGHWAY TO VENGEANCE combines a hard-boiled first-person Point Of View with modern thriller elements and a dash of real-life SEAL training to create a novel that explores the darkness within us all, the lengths one man will go to avenge his lost love, and the very nature of vengeance itself.

Price: $17.95

Click here to buy from Amazon

July 21, 2011

Quality Time on Highway 1 (Doonesbury Book)

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Quality Time on Highway 1 (Doonesbury Book)A collection of Doonesbury comic strips features the highlights and the low-lifes of Campaign ’92, poking fun at the “25 excellent nerds” of the White House OPO squad, the visions of H-less Ross Perlot, and other issues. Original.

Price: $7.95

Click here to buy from Amazon

July 8, 2011

California Dreaming on Highway One from San Francisco to Los Angeles

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As a teenager in the mid-sixties I was greatly inspired by the music of the Beach Boys. One balmy evening during the summer of 1964 I was stirred by the driving tempo of I Get Around by a group I’d never heard of blasting from the huge old bakelite valve-driven radio that dominated my bedroom. It was during those times when, against the British government’s wishes, every teenager was tuned to Radio Caroline, broadcasting illegally from an old coaster moored somewhere out on the North Sea. I’d heard nothing like this before. It was certainly beyond the play lists of Auntie BBC and her tedious Home Service! I was hooked, not only to the vibrant, close harmonies and falsettos of the vocals but by the very images the lyrics portrayed of sun, sand, striped-shirt freedom and long=legged bikini clad girls. Flower power, love-ins, peace movements and the whole Haight-Asbury thing followed. Then, in 1969, Pirelli published their highly collectible California calendar, containing evocative close-up images by photographer Harry Peccinotti of beautiful sun tanned Californian maidens. By modern standards the photographs were very tame, more like snapshots. Nevertheless that calendar re-enforced a yearning to visit California because it seemed the best place on earth. My vision was of stunning blond California girls, a youth culture driving Chevrolet Corvette Stingrays and a wild freedom that seemed unknown to teenaged Britain.

For various reasons, ok I’ll be honest … a lack of funds, forced me to wait a decade before I managed to realize my dream and by this time LA, Carmel, Santa Monica, Santa Cruz and San Francisco had become household names through the lyrics of a continuous stream of hit songs by The Beach Boys, Eagles, Jan and Dean and The Mamas and Papas, California Dreaming really had become something of a reality. By the time I arrived in the City of Angels aboard a TWA westbound seven-forty-seven and things were every bit as I imagined. Once bitten, I was smitten and vowed to return as soon as I could. But it took more than twenty years, but with the love affair still intact, I was going back. Maybe I’d become an ageing hippie still listening to those melodic surfin’ sounds that had continued to drive my mind through all of these years. Previously I’d flown from San Francisco to LA this time I was going to do things for real by driving the Pacific route between the two largest cities along California State Highway One.

Despite claims that the USA lacks culture, nobody can deny that what it does have is scenery … huge, mind blowing scenery such as Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and Zabriski Point. California’s Pacific coast similarly does not go begging. It is where nature competes with itself for superiority along rugged cliff tops that rise and fall against the might of the great ocean; mist encrusted mountains against mighty sequoia forests. The Pacific is everything the Atlantic lacks. It can be wilder, more belligerent; the breakers tend to roll higher making it, sometimes a surfer’s paradise, at others a seafarer’s grave. California, despite an element of confident brashness, has always appealed more for its natural untamed beauty than say the tourism evoked retirement condominiums of Florida on America’s opposite coast.

Many claim that Highway One is best tackled north to south. Route One really beings at Legett where the road clings tightly to the ocean for nearly 150 salt splashed miles as it passes close to the giant redwoods at Muir Woods before becoming US 101, the Golden Gate freeway, and crossing the magnificent, often fog enshrined, bridge of the same name. Most don’t bother with the first part, choosing to join the route at San Francisco and continuing at a gentile pace with a stop or two before reaching the congestion rush of greater Los Angeles. If you’re in a hurry, then the 400 mile drive can comfortably be made in a day although there’s little point in missing the enormous potential it offers. It’s best to stop and linger a while if you can. The West Coast can be chilly, often hemmed in by coastal fogs held in by the mountains, despite this you’ll still feel at one with the elements and it’s best driven in an open-top sports car. I didn’t but, but should have and I regret that I didn’t!

San Francisco is a beautiful city of over six million and a delicate charm of its own, especially where the palatial Victorian homes have survived a series of earthquakes. There’s Lombard Street, short but steep, rising 27 degrees through a series of eight hairpins that twist and turn forcing a cars to proceed at a snail’s pace. Some of the main streets reach 300 feet at Pacific Heights before dropping through amazing gradients to the Marina District below. As you top each crest you’ll be transformed and in your minds-eye you are Steve McQueen playing Bullitt flooring the accelerator of that throaty Shelby-Mustang and bouncing over those bumps at breathtaking speed as you fight to tame this out-of-control beast. In reality you’ll take it slow, real slow, fearing the consequences should your brakes fail! A more sober way is to take the cable car from Nob Hill to the Bay and watch the floor show performed by the driver and his agile grip man as they work together to traverse the undulating tarmac. These days the cable cars are usually packed with tourists and it can be hard to get a ride.

Once more in the real world I start my journey at Fisherman’s Wharf, the trendy waterside area of good fish restaurants, a waxworks and tourist shops that compete with a fine view of the Bay. Alcatraz Island, the former penal establishment that is now a crumbling State Museum, stands formidably in turbulent waters three miles east of the Golden Gate. This, for seventeen years, was the home of Robert Stroud the infamous Bird Man but he was never the gentile ornithologist Bert Lancaster portrayed. It was also where Al Capone was finally caged up for, of all things, tax evasion.

Leaving behind the squawking sea lions feeding off restaurant scraps at one of the piers, I head south leaving the city behind, past San Francisco International Airport and some of the wealthy outlying suburbs. The car radio informs me that “It’s going to be a fine day right across the whole of the Bay Area and there are no reported traffic snarl ups”. That’s good to hear because only weeks before floods had caused landslides that were still keeping the coast road closed until twenty miles south at Half Moon Bay. Between here and Ano Nuevo lie a number of State beaches renowned for their outstanding natural beauty. This is where the northern elephant seals and sea lions come to breed or just to wallow lazily in the sun. This was March however and the beaches were deserted.

For much of the way the route is a two-lane blacktop … no dual carriageway, just a well maintained twin-lane tarmac highway that clings heroically around the cliff tops that tower and fall above the Ocean. I am surprised at so little traffic, most of the locals preferring to take highway 101, a faster route that meanders on an almost parallel inland course for most of the way. Better still I haven’t seen a single cop. But beware, I am told they patrol from low flying helicopters (bears in the air) so I watch my speed and although I try to keep to a steady 55mph my instincts push me to go ever faster.

The highway runs via Pescadero where there is a lighthouse built in 1872, then onward to the seaside resort of Santa Cruz on the northern point of Monterey Bay. A further 28 miles south around the coast and I reach the old Spanish town and former Californian capital. Monterey, a town made famous by John Steinbeck in his novels Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat. The old sardine canneries are now long closed but the buildings have been transformed into trendy shops and restaurants. There is also an excellent aquarium. Beyond the beach, in waters stretching 110 miles out to sea is the Monterey National Marine Sanctuary, containing the largest underwater cavern anywhere in offshore US.

I didn’t have sufficient time to take the 17 mile drive but if you do it starts just south at Pacific Grove, ends at Carmel and passes the world class golf courses at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. Although you pay for the privilege, those that have taken the detour say that the beauty of the drive, much of it man-made, is exceptional. Instead, I remain on Highway One and head for Carmel, home of Clint Eastwood, aka Dirty Harry and the former mayor. He wasn’t about. At least he wasn’t driving the West Coast. The city dates back to 1770 when a Franciscan monk, Father Juniperro Serra built a mission and church. Although it fell into disrepair after being abandoned in 1834, the Mission, one of several along the coast, has been carefully restored.

South of Carmel is a truly wonderful stretch of coastline that runs almost a 100 miles below the Ventana Wilderness, part of the Los Padres National Forest. This is Big Sur, a mood-inspiring rocky, wild area of State Parks and exceptional natural beauty. I Linger for a while just listening to the breakers crashing against the rocks before continuing, crossing the Bixby Creek Bridge, once the world’s longest single-arch span at 550 feet. This was built in 1932 two years after the Highway was opened at Big Sur. In 1983 storms here swept much of the highway away forcing it to close for over a year.

At San Simeon there is a wooden pier on a rugged shale beach. I decide to stay the night at a reasonably priced motel. In the hills above the highway is Hearst Castle, a stately palace folly created from treasures imported from all over the world by newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst and bequeathed to the state of California in 1958. Visitors must park at the tourist center and be transported by buses up a long, winding hilltop drive to reach the surrealistic Castle. The creation reputedly cost $10 million to build but it is very much a statement of bad taste, nevertheless it’s sure to impress.

Just south of San Simeon is the artist’s colony of Cambria. It is also a weekend retreat for those wishing to escape the heavy yellow smogs of LA. Next, Morro Bay where the chimneys of the PG & E power station are the singular blot on the landscape of the entire route The road turns inland here around a sand spit and causeway that leads to a huge extinct Volcano known as Morro Rock. Soon I reach the halfway point between San Francisco and LA at San Luis Obispo where there is another mission. Now highway one unites with 101 for a brief stretch until Pismo, a 20 mile stretch of wide, sandy beaches.

The beautifully kept Spanish colonial style terracotta roofed houses and picturesque clean streets of Santa Barbara make it, for me, one of the loveliest small cities anywhere. Following the earthquake in 1925, the city was rebuilt in the adobe fashion and the buildings are now preserved by law but this didn’t stop nature from coming perilously close to covering some of the dwellings in mud washed down from by the floods from the surrounding hills. The high street is full of interesting shops, excellent, but expensive, restaurants and a wonderful book shop where I enjoyed a coffee and a muffin while browsing the shelves. There is a prosperous, relaxed air to Santa Barbara and I can see why the city has attracted so many Hollywood stars who have come to build their homes in the exclusive hills above the city.

The last leg of my journey takes me through Ventura and on to Santa Monica Bay. At the northern end is Malibu, where a long, wide stretch of state beach is exclusive to surfers (no swimming allowed). At Malibu Colony, another place favoured by the famous names of Hollywood, the lavish mansions line the shoreline but there is no public access to beach. In the hills above, the J Paul Getty museum claims to house some of the finest art in the world.

Santa Monica, a lively resort on the fringes of Los Angeles is the setting for Bay Watch. The city sits atop a cliff overlooking the beach and separated by a palm lined strip known as Pallisades Park. From here there are fantastic views of the Bay especially at sunset. My time however does not allow me to linger. As highway one turns inland away from the Pacific Coast cities of Venice, Marina Del Ray (where Beach Boy drummer Dennis Wilson drowned in 1983) and Long Beach before rejoining the ocean at Seal Beach, I bid a fond farewell. A short distance away my journey takes me to LAX and my flight home. As my jet climbs above the twinkling lights of Beverley Hills I reflect on my memories of this trip and in those famous words of Arnold Schwarzeineger I swear “I’ll be back”.

Robert Bluffield is a full time professional photographer and writer based in Milton Keynes. As a writer he specialises in features on travel, cars, food and wine, business, current affairs and photography. He is an author of 3 published books and he is currently working on a history of Imperial Airways and the Birth of British Airlines. Web site: http://robertbluffield.co.uk

June 26, 2011

Lonely Planet Coastal California (Regional Travel Guide)

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Lonely Planet Coastal California (Regional Travel Guide)Experience the best of Coastal California with Lonely Planet. Our 3rd edition takes you along every cliff-hugging curve of this stunning shoreline, with stops in the hippie hamlets, redwood groves, fishing villages, state parks, wine countries, sun-soaked beaches and dazzling cities that make the California coast like no other.

Lonely Planet guides are written by experts who get to the heart of every destination they visit. This fully updated edition is packed with accurate, practical and honest advice, designed to give you the information you need to make the most of your trip.

In This Guide:

Expanded outdoors chapter with surfing, hiking and more
Kid-Friendly options highlighted throughout
Unique Green Index identifies sustainable options for an eco-friendly trip

Price: $19.99

Click here to buy from Amazon

June 15, 2011

Lonely Planet Road Trip California Highway 1 (Road Trip Guides)

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Lonely Planet Road Trip California Highway 1 (Road Trip Guides)With four foldout maps this travel guide highlights the twist and turns of California Highway 1, with all the towering cliffs, secluded beaches, redwood forests, sleepy villages, surfing meccas and big cities.

Price: $10.00

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June 3, 2011

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway

Filed under: Articles — Administrator @ 2:09 pm

The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1, is America’s most famous highway. The official Pacific Coast Highway, according to California State legislature, is only 130 miles long from Oxnard to Dana Point in Southern California. But regardless of official road names, the stretch of highways, rural roads, and city streets from the Olympic peninsula to the southern tip of Baja California running along the coast is usually referred to as the Pacific Coast Highway, more than 2000 miles in length.

This coastal highway had become famous due to its beautiful sceneries and variant experiences that you could have when you travel this famed highway. Depending on your available time and your willingness to go the miles, you can spend two days up to ten days driving through the Pacific Coast Highway. It took me 7 days to do this trip. Regardless you may start from the south and head north, or from north to south, whichever is convenient. I chose south and headed north. Maybe I’m just cool like that.

Some would really just drive through the Pacific Coast Highway, without stopping to see as much places as they can, but it is always enjoyable to do some stops to experience the real Pacific Coast Highway. Of course I did stop and party the night away in many hot spots. Hey you got to do this if you’re going to road trip man. Stop points include Big Sur, the most famous. In Big Sur, you can view the cliffs and waterfalls along the coast, redwood forest, view the local wildlife, enjoy outdoor activities from horseback riding, camping, to scuba diving, or investigate historical connections. You can also do wine tasting.

Inverness was one of my favorites. If a small quiet town full of green and neat little beach huts sounds relaxing to you then you can’t miss a stopover in Inverness. I really loved it here and the people are so friendly.

Be sure not to miss Monterey. There, you can visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, eat in Fisherman’s Wharf, which may even be better than the one in San Francisco. It’s got a neat village feel to it. Pay a visit also to the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, now being run by California state government as a tourist attraction.

The Heritage House Inn is a nice place for fine wine and dinning overlooking the ocean before Fort Bragg and Mendocino. It’s got a very warm and homey feel to it so you are sure to be comfortable.

Santa Barbara is another spot not to be missed, where you can see millions of Monarch butterflies or relax in Pismo Beach. Great concerts there as well. I saw velvet revolver when I met up with my buddy Sandro Marino. We had a blast!

What is a road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway without a stop in good ole San Francisco? This definitely one of my favorite cities. Go on the bus tour of the city if it’s your first time here. There are many great stops including the park and the tea house. Drink your tea its good stuff man. Once you leave San Francisco you must stop at Mill Creek and Stinson Beach. I won’t tell you why but I assure you that if you do you will know why I said that.

Generally, you can drive through the Pacific Coast Highway anytime of the year however you would enjoy it more during spring or summer time when the sun accentuates the beauty of the coast and the beaches. During these seasons also, you will enjoy most of the nature trek available. Best of luck on your trip believe me it’s definitely worth it.

© 2008, Joe Loiacano

Available for free reprint in original content only.

Joe Loiacano is an avid outdoors enthusiast who enjoys exploring all that nature has to offer. He combines his love of the great outdoors with writing to share with others natures hidden gems that so few even realize were right there under their nose all along. For a great website to meet others with a passion for adventure visit http://www.outdoorsclub.org

May 12, 2011

Road Trip USA Pacific Coast Highway

Filed under: Products — Administrator @ 2:41 am

Road Trip USA Pacific Coast Highway

Professional traveler Jamie Jensen traveled more than 400,000 miles to bring you the best-selling travel guide Road Trip USA. In this expanded tour of the Pacific Coast Highway, Jamie takes you from the dense green forests of Washington to the gorgeous beaches of Southern California. From logging towns to surfer lore, Road Trip USA Pacific Coast Highway covers every aspect of this mostly two-lane route through the unabashedly breathtaking western coast. Road Trip USA Pacific Coast Highway highlights major cities, obscure towns, popular attractions, roadside curiosities, historic sites, and oddball trivia. Exit the interstates and create your own driving adventures on the west coast’s unrivaled scenic highway.

Price: $11.95

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May 1, 2011

Highway #1 – California

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April 20, 2011

Tips For Safe Highway Driving

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Each year, thousands of people are injured or killed in highway accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37,261 people were killed in highway collisions in 2008 alone. While some of these accidents happened so suddenly that they were unavoidable, in other instances driver behavior or dangerous conditions led to a deadly accident that could have been avoided. Knowing how to drive safely on a highway can help to minimize your risk of an accident.

Highway Safety Tips

Many drivers get so used to driving on roads and highways that they may forget to take some very simple safety steps that could save a life in a dangerous situation. The following is a list of tips that can help to keep you safe on the highway:

- Look ahead. Staying alert of the situation in front of you is a key part of driving safely on the highway. This can help you to anticipate changes in speed ahead or upcoming obstacles that could be an accident risk.

- Maintain a safe following distance. Keeping a safe distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you gives you time to react to sudden changes on the road. If a car in front of you slams on its brakes or drops debris onto the road, a safe following distance gives you the lag time that you need to react and avoid a potentially dangerous situation.

- Follow the speed limit. Traveling at the speed limit helps to facilitate traffic flow on crowded highways. Vehicles are more predictable when they are all traveling roughly the same speed. Also, speeding on curves on highways can lead to a rollover accident or may cause a car to swerve off of the road in inclement weather.

- Check your blind spots. Side mirrors have blind spots in which other vehicles may be hidden from view. It is important to always do a quick one-second head check by turning your head slightly to look for a vehicle in your blind spot before changing lanes.

- Signal properly. Always use your signals when you intend to change lanes or exit or enter the highway. Without a signal, other drivers do not know what you plan to do, and miscommunication could result in a serious accident.

While these tips can help to minimize your accident risk, sometimes even the most careful drivers are involved in severe highway collisions. It is important to make sure that you are appropriately covered with car insurance that protects you from liability and also covers your injuries and damages should you be involved in an accident.

Contact Us

To learn more about highway safety and car insurance coverage options, please visit the website of the friendly Chicago auto insurance experts of Insure on the Spot today.

April 16, 2011

Planning a Road Trip? You Need New Tires.

Filed under: Highways — Jose Gonzalez @ 1:12 pm

Looking to purchase tires for a trip or vacation can be bewildering. It’s difficult to understand how to get started, and specifically if you’re a first time tire buyer you probably don’t understand where to begin. We’re sure this asset will help you purchase your subsequent pair of tires. This is the information we would give to our kids if they asked how to buy tires.

Step 1: Look at the tires currently on your car. Inspect the dimensions, name, model #’s etc… You can find most of that information on the sidewall of the tire itself. Don’t worry about understanding what it all means at this point. Just write it all down so you have the info at hand. You should also confirm that you actually need new tires.

Step 2: Put in a call to your favorite tire shop or one near by and say: Hello, I’m the owner of a 2003 Toyota Camry and I’m wondering what kind of tires you have in stock for that make and model? (replace your make and model obviously) Ensure you’re ready to take down the information they give you, and write down exactly what they tell you. Don’t hangup until you have the exact price inclusive of installation, and all the detailed info on the tires. They might not volunteer the information but,check out the mileage the manufacture expects for the specific tire. NOTE: Not all shops can tell you right off the bat what kind of tires to get for your car. Good thing you have all the details of your current tires. Now they should have no trouble giving you the info you need.

Step 3: Compare what you found at the first shop with a few other tire shops in the area.

Step 4: Based on the information, whittle your notes down to a few possible tires. Search Google for the name and model of each tire and find out what the customer reviews say. Read reviews, trade blogs, just about anything on the topic will do.

Step 5: You should now have plenty of information to make your tire purchase.

We really hope this guide helped you in some way. If you learn something you’d like to share during your tire purchase please leave a comment so others can learn as well. Thanks!

Before you hit the road this summer head to http://tireskansascity.net for even more tire information.

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