Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From L.A to San Francisco Part 1

Oh man, this post is gonna be huggggggggggge. 5-day trip with full-time photography in manual mode to boot. Since I plan to put up lots of photos, I thought I'll divide this up into 2 parts (maybe more if the need arises :-D). So lets start off without too much ado.

I've mentioned it once or twice (or maybe a little bit more than that) how I want to see California. When we first came here, we thought that Sri would get a change sometime and we may move towards west coast. So we didn't really plan a trip then. Added to that Sri had already been there a couple of times before we got married, so lets say he wasn't too keen :-D. But since Sri is currently in a fixed position and we won't be moving anywhere anytime soon, we had to make a move sometime.

Sri told me along time ago that he had heard about Highway 1 in CA and how he had never been there. So we thought that if we ever go there, the plan would be to drive on the highway. While we were planning a trip and looking for return tickets to either Los Angeles or San Francisco, we realized that driving to and fro didn't make sense. Driving one way was okay, but driving back just to catch a flight was a waste of time. After this stroke of brilliance, Sri booked a one-way flight from here to Los Angeles and another one-way ticket from San Francisco to here. The plan was to drive from L.A to SFO and check out all that we could in between. The one-way tickets were a bit expensive but we'd save time and effort of driving some 5-7 hours.

The plan was put into action on 4th June 2010 Friday. We left Lexington at around 5:30 PM in the evening, caught a flight to Cincinnati and then from there to L.A. Due to the time difference of 3 hours, we got to L.A at 10PM local time. I had packed some phulkas for the night which we guLumed on the second flight :-D. Sri had told Snugli again and again all about the trip. So she was all excited. She knew where we were going, how we were going, who were all going, what we'd do there and recite the entire thing when asked to :-D. She didn't fuss at all on either of the planes and fell asleep on the 2nd one :). All we did after landing in L.A was to rent a car and head to our hotel.

On 5th June the plan was to explore Los Angeles. L.A is famous for only a couple of things - Disney world, Universal Studios, the Hollywood sign and the Hollywood Boulevard. We have been to Disney World and Universal Studios on our Orlando trip. We do want to go to Disney again for Snugli, but we can always go to Orlando again for that. So we decided to avoid those parts completely in L.A :).

Our first stop in L.A was the Griffith Observatory. It serves as the vista point to the Hollywood sign. You can't really see the sign up close, because the entire area is restricted. When we went there, the sign was covered with mist, so we could hardly see it. So we spent some time in and around the observatory.

The observatory was interesting - we didn't see any shows, but they had pretty good displays. An exceptional display was the actual periodic table with all the elements on display. There were also a Foucault pendulum (which shows the rotation of earth) and several telescopes. By the time we got out, the mist had cleared up a bit. Here's the Hollywood sign..

and here's us :).

2 more :-D.

Enough of the sign :-p. Next we went to the Hollywood Boulevard. The main point of interest was obviously the Hollywood walk of fame which is a set of sidewalks where many celebrities are immortalized by stars on the footpath.

We took a walk around for quite sometime and looked around. I really didn't know what to expect, but I somehow felt sad seeing all the names being trampled by everyone's feet. I mean what kind of a monument is that? It felt totally weird. But hey, it didn't stop me from taking photos :-D.

We stopped for a moment at the Kodak Theatre where Academy awards (Oscars) are organized annually.

Snugli met this guy in front of the Disney store and refused to let go ;-) :-D.

We moved around and saw many "stars", some of them being Charlie Chaplin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Travolta, Robin Williams, Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse, Kevin Spacey etc. We also went to the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in front of which are many celebrities' hand and footprints embedded into cement. But soon we decided to move on, have lunch and start on our drive. Here is the entire route map (click to enlarge)..

Pheeeeeew :-D. The plan that day was to drive to Solvang, then to Lompoc (our hotel for the night) and back to Santa Barbara for a sunset on the beach. On the way to Solvang there were a couple of nice vista points :).

Solvang (Point B on the route) is a small village in California which offers a "taste of Denmark". The architecture is all Danish with small houses, shops and several windmills :).

It felt like a place in fairy tales - very pretty, very sweet and quiet. We took a surrey carriage for rental and had a lot of fun cycling around.

Snugli had fun too, except she wanted to be the one steering and pedalling ;-). We also tasted some Danish pastries and chocolates :). In the evening we first went to Lompoc (Point C) to rest at the hotel for sometime and then to Santa Barbara city for a bout at the beach and dinner.

We stopped at the Arroyo Burro Beach and I was surprised at how chilly it was. There was a mist, so there was no sunset, plus there was a pretty strong wind blowing. We had thought of stepping into the water for a while, but it was too cold to do that.

Did stay for a while before we had dinner and then put ourselves to rest :). The only problem the entire day was that Snugli got some rashes, don't know from what - whether it was the bed, the exposure to the sun, allergy to the sunscreen or maybe some plant she touched on the way, no idea. Can't believe I forgot to mention that (this part is an addendum to the post). Shows how something that drives you crazy at one time doesn't even matter a few days later :-\. Well, I was scared that it'd spread, but thank God it didn't. But she was hell bent on itching it like crazy and we got this all-purpose Benadryl gel (it took all factors into consideration) and the rash was gone after we came back :-D.

The next day 6th June 2010, was the D-day for our drive on Scenic highway 1. The "scenic" part begins at Morro Bay (Point D) and supposed to end at Monterey (Point E). The special thing about this route is that you have the mighty Pacific ocean to one side and some mountainous landscape on the other. We were warned that there was no food or fuel available on most of the highway, so we packed a lunch of sandwiches to take with us (Thank Goodness that Snugli eats anything and everything these days :-D).

The beauty started as soon as we started :). There were innumerable vista points to stop at and it was all pretty breath-taking. Here's one of the vista points we stopped at..

There were hoards of squirrels and sea gulls at this particular place, so Snugli had a wonderful time trying to catch them :-D. The squirrels were especially unafraid to come near us (they were obviously used to people), probably looking for something to eat..

We stopped at another lovely place where we could see sea-lions lazing around..

This below one was the only active sea lion around, the rest of them were busy tanning themselves :-p.

We stopped for lunch at another quiet place and made a picnic out of it.

Stayed there for quite sometime, just enjoying the surroundings (well, one reason was also that Snugli took a long time to eat her sandwich :-p). I didn't really mind that as I was clicking away on my camera :-D.

After lunch we started driving again - the only disadvantages being the curvy roads and a fussy Snugli. We tried to stop often and we did have lots of opportunities, believe me :-D.

Flowers on the roadside ALWAYS call for some snaps :-D.

Though the mountains were bald, had no frills and were plain looking, the drive itself was worth it. But I couldn't help thinking that there are such wonderful routes even in India (I know of one such from Udupi to Murudeshwar) and they are not even advertised anywhere. Here is US everything is hyped and it sometimes is just not worth all the hullabaloo. Anyways, our next stop was at the Bixby bridge which is one of the oldest and longest bridges on Highway 1. I took the following snap from another vista point from which we could see the bridge..

And just like that we crossed the scenic part and were in Monterey.

We had our lodging for the night at Monterey, so we put up our stuff and then went to a beach to play in the ocean. It was pretty cold and again the mist made its presence known, so all in all playing on the beach was cold :-D. Not uncomfortable cold though. The only uncomfortable thing about it (which came later ;-) :-D), was the sand getting into places it shouldn't :-p, hehehee :)). Snugli really enjoyed it, so in turn Sri and I did too :). All of us were shivering when we got out and went back to our room for a hot shower :).

Last on the agenda for the day was the 17-mile drive. It is a scenic road famous for its mansions (a community of rich and famous people), its beaches and its golf-courses (one of them - the Pebble Beach golf course is hosting the US open golf tournament currently). It started off pretty good - as serene as a thick forest with mansions inbetween ;-). We stopped at one of the beaches for some time..

It was very private and beautiful :).

But after sometime it kinda got monotonous and wasn't that fun anymore. If you want to visit, be warned that there is a toll fee of $9.50, to enter the premises :-p. We subsequently had dinner at an Indian restaurant (it was called Ambrosia India cafe and it was awesome :-D) and called it a day..

Part 2 here..


WordPower retorted...

Such a splendid travelogue! Awesome Pictures!

We will be moving to Sunnyvale in 2 weeks. I am happy to see how beautiful California is! Looking forward to part 2. :)

Deeps retorted...


Thank you. Oh man, you are lucky to be moving there. But yeah there were some disadvantages (coming up in detail in Part 2) - like horrendous traffic and chilly winds in SFO. You are in Boston or Connecticut right now correct? So atleast you'll escape the freezing winters ;-).

Sweet Nothings retorted...

Beautiful Deepthi! Just loved reading about the trip. Now I sooo want to travel somewhere..actually your travelogue posts make me feel so everytime:-)And you really take beautiful pictures! Snugli looks very cute and I notice that S has the same frock except that it is in pink!
Looking forward for the next part.

Deeps retorted...


Thanks :). I'm glad it inspired you to go somewhere, but tell me are you able to manage travel with 2 little ones now? Honeslty want to know :).

Hehehe, the same dresses are the result of the same stores I guess (I think I bought that frock in Sears :-D)..

Part 2 will hopefully be up by tomorrow :).

Enigma retorted...

i love snuglis expressons :) n i liked ur purple skirt