Highway to Heaven: PCH Roadtrip
The winding road thrusting through majestic cliffs rising over an endless churning sea, sleeping fishing towns, the metropolis of San Francisco, ancient redwood forests and whaling towns, these are a few of the sights to be savoured along California's north coast, then we turn inland on a return loop via volcanic mountains, high deserts, massive lakes boarded by idyllic resorts, into barren wastelands of Nevada and back down to L.A.
When we think about the pacific highway all of us have a vision of yellow lined dual lane roads winding past the dramatic scenery of the pacific coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco and of course this vision is right but it's only a part of the story .
The route between those two great cities is less than 400 miles and can be covered in a day (although it would be daft to do so), but Pacific Highway number one or PCH is longer, much longer, in fact PCH starts south of L.A at San Diego and continues all the way up to Seattle on the Canadian border covering some 1250 miles.
Most people who make the trip only manage the route to San Fran, but the country north of the golden gate city holds such stunning scenery that its unparalleled in any other part of the world.
PCH then, is my big tour for 2012. Ever since I started running roadtrips , I have been asked the question "when are we doing The Pacific Highway", well after the planning and execution of route 66 went so smoothly it was only natural to run the PCH tour this year.
We will be including four of The USA's best driving roads on this trip. We will have a night in San Diego and in the morning push north, passing through Santa Monica and then we turn west via the beaches of Malibu and rest for the night at beach resort of Santa Barbara. In the morning we continue up the coast passing by Santa Maria, Morro bay and hit the 17 mile drive at pebble beach, ending at pacific grove for another overnight stop. We take the next day as a day off at Monterey where we will catch a boat to hopefully see whales. The following day is our run up to San Fran, we will take in the old wooden rollercoaster ride at Santa Cruz and the amazing Mystery Spot. Our next stop will be San Francisco where again we will take an extra day to enjoy Alcatraz and the golden gate bridge.
After 2two nights in San Fran we continue our run up the coast climbing the panoramic highway to Mount Tamalpais back out to the coast and we continue up to Fort Ross and then our stop for the night in Mendocino. After breakfast at Fort Bragg, we push up to one of the most interesting and panoramic parts of the tour "the Redwood Highway" and the drive thru tree, the 31 mile "avenue of the giants" to a Lumber factory at Scotia, finally we end the day at Eureka. This is the last time we will sleep on the PCH as the next day we head east inland to Lake Shaska where we will have an option to take a seaplane flight around the lake before returning to our lakeside resort for the night. The next day see's us heading south where we will visit the Volcanic state park of Mount Shaska and then on to our Fantastic hotel in the desert oasis that is Reno.
After a night trying our luck in the sumptuous hotel in Reno we head south for a visit to lake Tahoe, we push on to one of the highlights of the tour, the great national park of Yosemite where we will camp for 2 days in a green hotel on the banks of the Tenaya Creek. The next day see us exploring Yosemite park, the geezers and the waterfalls that make up this region.
The following day we head south and tour death valley where we spend the night at Furnace Creek resort. Our last drive is the return to long beach where we will stay in the Queen Mary cruise ship for the night in a formal setting before the flights back to Uk.
There are so many things to see on this route that I can't describe them in detail here but you should get an idea from the photo's below.
IM posting this up now so that anyone who has a desire to do drive the road or hasn't yet planned out this year's holidays can add this to their calendar.
The dates are set and we already have a 10 people on board.
We will fly out on the 16th September into San Diego and fly back from Los Angeles on the 30th, the trip will cover 2200 miles and include 3 non driving (or days off) days.
I am still formulating the costs for this trip but i expect them to be in the region of £ 2900 for one person and £ 3500 for two persons.
This cost will include return flights, hotel accommodation and decent car hire.
You will need to budget for fuel @ approx £300 , food and sight seeing
More details will appear here shortly as i get these costs in, i expect to wrap the whole project up before the end of the month.
Your welcome to post up here if you are interested.
Ian (pics below)