Los Angeles to Oakland, Tuesday 31st March

The drive north from Los Angeles to Oakland was simply amazing. I think it took us twice as long as it would’ve if we’d gone the quicker way but it was so worth it. I’m in Lisa’s debt for agreeing to the trip.

The coastline was startlingly beautiful. However, it looked vaguely familiar because there are stands of eucalyptus trees everywhere you look. But the undergrowth is totally different and the leaves on the gum trees are a healthy green instead of the faded khaki they are at home at the moment.

Our first stop was in Ventura for lunch. We headed towards the beach to see what we could find in the way of food and settled on fish and chips eaten whilst sitting on the beach. I’m not sure what made me do it but I decided I should try the cherry coca cola. And I… eerrr… actually quite liked it.


A mermaid painted on the building next to the fish and chips place.


The chick in the shop went a little overboard with the condiments. That’s a lot of sauce for two people and there was more in the bag.

Lisa and I sat on the beach, watching people play in the surf (which must’ve been freezing) and talking. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the beach but you can’t be in California on the coast and not stop there at least once. One thing I did notice is the seagulls are enormous, about twice the size of the ones I’m used to seeing at home. They’re actually quite intimidating.


I probably could’ve gotten a better shot of this if I’d moved closer but I couldn’t be bothered to get up.

Eventually we decided we had to move on but I had time for one more photo…

Just so I remember I have been on a beach in California.

Heading north, the scenery becomes more and more dramatic. I was mid sentence when a mountain loomed up in front of us, filling the entire windscreen and I stopped talking. All I could think was wow and I’m certain I said it several times.

The other thing that really stuck me was how green everything is. There are parts of Victoria that are white now because they’re so dry. It’s been a long time since I’ve been surrounded by so much green.

This is what hills are supposed to look like!


The coastline starting to get more dramatic as we headed further north.

We stopped again at a pier in San Simeon State Park. We were originally going to visit Hearst Castle but they were closing up for the day. So we crossed the highway and walked up the pier instead.


Blue, blue and more blue.

One final photo…

On the road, Highway 101 curving away from us.

Unfortunately this is where the photos stop. The sun was setting into the ocean and that’s what I wanted to shoot. I did try take a few photos but they’re overexposed and if I’m honest, not that good. Plus I think I was a little overwhelmed with how beautiful it really was.

The coastline reminded me a lot of the coastline along the Great Ocean Road. The further north we got, the more dramatic the scenery became. Huge cliffs looming on the right and a sheer drop on the left. It really was incredible. The drive got a bit hairy on occasion as there were loads of sharp corners and the sun was setting making it very hard to see but much kudos to Lisa for managing it.

We stopped for dinner at a tiny place in Big Sur. The sun was setting when we went in and when we came out about half an hour later is was pitch black. My comment to Lisa was that I wouldn’t want to break down as it’s the middle of nowhere and there’s no assistance readily available. It’s such an isolated place. It was hard to reconcile the fact that I was in California. My impressions of the place have always been heavily influenced by what I see on TV and the emphasis is always on Los Angeles. It’s kinda strange to think of this wildness existing in the same state as a city that has huge urban sprawl and awful pollution.

We finally made it to Steve who was waiting for us at CCA. We then made our way to Oakland and he took us on a quick tour of his campus before we parted ways with Lisa. It feels kinda strange to know I probably won’t see Lisa again for over a year. But it was awesome to spend a day with her. She’s a really cool chick and I’m eternally grateful that she allowed me to have this experience.

2 Thoughts on “Los Angeles to Oakland, Tuesday 31st March

  1. Jackie on April 2, 2009 at 14:30 said:

    Sounds like a fun time! It was in front of a waterfall along the Big Sur coastline that Jake proposed to me. I was holding a camera up to get a picture of the view and he walked up behind me with the ring. I love that stretch of California.

    If you were here between June and November the hills would most likely be varying shades of brown. We were lucky to have a good bit of rainfall this winter. It’s hard to believe, but California is considered to be in a drought. We’ve had lower elevation rains, but not enough snow pack in the mountains.

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