Sunday, January 24

West Coast USA, Day Twelve: The Pacific Coast Highway Revisited

I've written before how desperate I can become looking for diving spots while on holiday, and this trip was no different. A quick web search suggested that the diving wasn't the greatest along the west coast, particularly during this season, but this didn't really deter me in arranging a dive for this morning anyway. And yes, it wasn't the greatest - in fact the combination of temperature (it was cold) and visibility (we couldn't see) it may have ranked as one of the least successful dives that I've been on. Nevertheless I'm glad that I went - a highlight was a sea lion, which was new for me at least.

Monterey Bay itself was yet another quiet little beach town, possibly most famous for the links in it's locality. Since none of us had any interest in (or indeed the time for) golf, we stuck to the local views instead, some of which were quite dramatic.

It was then that we decided to head south - for those of you paying attention yes, this was in the opposite direction of our eventual destination San Francisco. We felt that we owed it to ourselves to actually see as much of the Pacific Coast Highway by day as we could, starting with the 17 Mile Drive, a stretch of road that promised much more than it delivered. Still, it was our gateway into Carmel-by-the-sea, another small sea side town which housed a population that didn't seem to do anything but enjoy life.

From Carmel, we just continued retracing our steps south until the sun set. It turns out that this was plenty of time, as we did get to see some wonderful coastal views along the Big Sur

But for me the real highlight were the Bixby and Rocky Creek Bridges.

Our final stop before heading into San Francisco was a McDonalad's in Santa Cruz. I only write about this because of the extremely surprising and impressive Arabic greeting of Salaam given by the Simon, the clearly non Muslim white dude that was serving us our Fillets. Simon was actually surprised by our surprise, and rather than embarrassing the poor chap further we decided to think of our own theories for such behaviour: was it corporate instilled international customer service? Was Simon just more worldly that we often give Americans credit for? Did we all actually mishear? Who knows.

Tonight we entered San Francisco, the final town on our itinerary.

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