Thursday, May 18, 2006

The San Francisco Vacation Part 2

As our trip continued we got back onto the road after leaving Hearst Castle. Our destination was our hotel in Salinas, CA. Only 110 miles away, or so we thought.

The problem started with our departure time. We left Hearst Castle around 9:15pm. It was dark and the only road heading north was the PCH. The next 90 miles was some of the most trying driving I've ever done. When we started I thought we were going to make great time. No cars, and clear roads. We cruised about 10 miles in a little under 10 minutes, and then it hit. The PCH drive, in pitch black.

The PCH for those of you that don't know stands for Pacific Coast Highway. It is one of the most scenic roads in the US and runs along the West Coast with picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean. However in the dark you can't see a thing, no ocean, no road, and no peace of mind.

We averaged 65mph for the first 10 miles up the PCH and then for the next 3 hours we averaged about 25mph. The roads twisted and turned, the visibility in some cases were no more than a few car lengths, and then with all of the rain parts of the PCH were even washed out resulting in us driving over loose gravel.

A couple of times the road straightened out for a mile or so and I thought the bad part was over. And then the twists and turns were back. At one point there were rocks through out the road and I had to drive around them as though I was driving through an obstacle course.

Jacki got sick, I had white knuckles and 3.5 hours took us through Big Sur, 17 miles scenic drive, and Monterrey. We didn't see a thing. Over 3.5 hours of driving we probably only passed 10-15 cars in nearly 100 miles of driving. I guess I missed the memo telling us to avoid PCH at all costs in the dark.

And then when we finally did get off of PCH we couldn't find the right exit to Salinas. We ended up calling On Star from Jacki's Saturn. My first time. They told us we were headed the wrong direction and gave us directions that got us back onto the highway to Salinas.

We arrived at the hotel a little after 1am. A late night fast food run to Wendy's and then a good night sleep.

Needless to say the next morning we took Big Sur and Monterrey off of our list of things to see. There was no way we were going to get back onto PCH on this trip.

Here is our complete journey mapped out. See Yahoo Map.

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