Category Archives: Places of Food

Big Seals on the US1

Morning! Just a short update today as not a whole lot happened yesterday.

Bex and I woke up and left our fine coastal hotel and headed south for a short jaunt to Hearst Castle. It’s a very opulent mansion built atop one of the higher hills right on the coast. It takes about 10 minutes to get to the castle via shuttle bus from the base of the hill, and is about 380 meters above sea level. The place was constructed from 1919 though to 1947 and houses some of the finest art pieces the west coast has to offer. We got a guided tour and were awed by cavernous ceilings and ornate hallways. The most impressive part was the roman pool, which was created 3 meters deep with crystal clear water and a mosaic of blue white and gold inch-sized tiles. The tiles covered the massive 50 meter pool, and room, from top to bottom, and there were over 1 million glass tiles with 22ct gold leaf in them. The effect was breath taking. All the gold caught the light and every surface shimmered with reflected gold light.

5 miles up the road from Hearst Castle we came across a viewing area for Elephant seals. We knew there was a bigger area further up but were not sure whether the viewing there would be any better or not. Where we stopped was quite fortunate – about 5 of the beasts were napping in the sun just a few steps from the car (but safely down the cliff a ways!)

We watched for a few minutes trying to work out what was going on – most of them were napping on the beach whilst another swam about in the shallows making a whole lot of noise. Bex reckoned he was declaring his territory, and not too long afterwards another male showed up to challenge him for ownership of (what we assume were) the females asleep on the beach. A fight ensued, and it looked like what i think a boxing match would look like if you tied both contestants hands behind their backs. After a few minutes our original noisemaker was nowhere to be seen. The newcomer picked a spot in the shallows close by and started barking to claim his territory. We moved on.

The coastal drive was gorgeous, but it sure took a while. The posted speed limit was 55, and this was the first time I’d come across drivers who insisted that it was much slower. I assume that this is because the US1 is a tourist road, and not one used often by locals. Our arrival time was pushed back nearly 2 hours simply by roadworks and drivers who were not able to maintain their speed when they couldn’t see more than 100 meters infront of themselves.

By the time we got to San Francisco it was about 6:30pm and we’d been on the road for nearly 6 hours. The last hour was excruciating because of the traffic – we came in at peak hour and the last 10 miles took as long as the first 50. We successfully navigated our way through the narrow SFC streets to our Motor Inn. It wasn’t much worse than Melbourne City, just a lot bigger.

We checked in, dragged our bags upstairs, and headed out for dinner. We ate at an italian restaurant called Fior d’Italia and it was really nice. For $60 including tips and taxes we both got a very filling pasta dish (Bex had gnocchi, I had Lasagne) and dessert (Bex has Creme Caramel, I had Tiramisu and the rest of Bex’s Caramel). Full up to kittens bow, we walked home and retired for some well needed rest.

Fior D'Italia Mains: ★★★★½ 

Fior D'Italia Service: ★★★☆☆ 

Sleep in at the Motor Inn: ★★★★★★★★★★ 

Today the plan is to take it easy, do some shopping and washing, and rest! Tomorrow we’ll be seeing some sights (such as Alcatraz and Muir woods). Will keep you posted!

I would Drive 500 Miles, and I would Drive 500 more…

Just to be the Car that drove 1000 miles to show up at your dooooor!!!

Driving Red Sports Car up the Californian Coast: ★★★★☆ 

Today Bex and I journeyed from San Diego to Ragged Point, both on the west coast. North of Los Angeles the countryside is actually breathtaking and I cannot even begin to understand why anyone would live in L.A when there’s such a wonderful place just around the corner. Its not for the coffee, that’s for sure.

San Diego was OK. The Hostel we stayed at stunk because of the pipes, and it was noisy (because well, downtown San Diego is just noisy) but I liked it enough. There were plenty of food places and things to see and do. We could have easily spent more time there in the hustle and bustle of the city, but I’m honestly glad to get away for a while.

Downtown San Diego: ★★½☆☆ 

We fuelled up the Camaro (which in itself was a chore, working out how they do refuelling here) and headed as north west as possible. Traffic was really kind to us except for a bad pile up on the Interstate 5 North (2 cars, an RV and a Trash truck) and we made pretty good time. It still baffles me that the posted speed limits will be blatantly ignored by most drivers, who will choose to do a solid 15-20 miles _FASTER_ than is legal. Admittedly I did not mind, and we spent as much of our time as possible doing about 120Kph. Broadly speaking california drivers have so far been very polite and have moved over for faster cars and we’ve never found ourselves blocked by unwitting or unwilling drivers.

We stopped for lunch at a place called In and Out burgers. They come highly recommended at the price point. It was better than Mickey Ds and fed us both for 13.01.


We only actually did 400 miles today, but it sounds good enough – we’ve got about 240 miles until San Fran Cisco, but we’ve got a few stopovers on the way. Tomorrow morning we’re visiting Hearst Castle just to take a look, and when we get to SFC we’ll be either going to see the giant redwoods or the decommissioned prison (Alcatraz?)

The place we’ve stayed at tonight was fortunate and just spectacular. The view is incredible – our room is listed as “not having an ocean view”, because comparatively it does not – but it’s still one hell of a view, other rooms be damned. Bex and I went down the hill a ways to see the sunset and take a million photos. We saw a hummingbird and managed to take some snaps of him too.

Chalet Room: ★★★★☆ 

We had dinner here in the fancy restaurant – I had a 3/4lb filet steak with blue potatoes and vegetables, and Bex ordered a pork cutlet with sweet potato mash and vegetables. The meals were amazing. I also tried the local brew – Firestone pale ale. It wasn’t amazing, but a good beer. For dessert we had a chocolate pudding of some kind which was hot and saucy in the centre, with a side of ice-cream and strawberry syrup. At the moment we’re feeling rather well fed.

Ragged Point Inn Meals: ★★★★½ 

Firestone Pale Ale: ★★☆☆☆ 

Fancy Food Regret: ★★★★☆ 

That’s about it for this update. More from SFC, and hopefully I can put in some more photos too!

TGI Friday San Diego

We had decided that some sort of Mexican cuisine would go down well, and had identified a nearby Chipotle. Bex and I set off walking though the gaslight district admiring all the shops and the lights and the sound and the smells. We didn’t even get a block from our hostel before deciding that if we found some place palatable before we got to Chipotle then we’d eat there. After all we’re only in San Diego for two nights!

There were some pretty cool places but we happened upon a TGIs (honestly where did you think this was going?) and took a look at the menu and we were both floored. The prices were nearly half that of the Aussie TGIs. We wandered in and were seated.

I ordered the New York cheddar and bacon burger, and Bex had the fish and chips. We got sodas and our meals came quickly. Both were very good – the fish was tender and sweet and very crispy, and the burger was filled with flavour. Including the tip, we only paid $34 for the both of us.

We headed back toward home, Bex having seen a frozen yoghurt place earlier in the night. The way frozen yoghurt is done here is great. You get a cup, and they have about 12+ flavours. You fill the cup with whatever you want (it’s all soft serve style) and whatever toppings you want (imagine a Cold Rock selection of toppings) and pay $4 for a regular. You can also get a larger cup that charges per ounce, like 49c per ounce. 

With an episode of The Walking Dead to finish off our night, it was a pretty good date!