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Road trip to LA


Guest GBoy
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I am going on a Road trip with my brother from SF to LA, anyone can suggest anything fun to do? We gonna stay at Yosemite for 2 days, then drive down to LA, not sure what will be fun in LA if anyone has suggestion. Also is Santa Cruz worth a look?

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I'm making plans to do the same in mid October. This is a great drive and consider renting a convertible. That’s the best way to make that drive down the PCH.

 

Be sure to stop in Monterey / Carmel for at least an over night. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best in the world and a must see. Also, 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach can be fun.

 

I'm going to San Simeon this year and Hearst Castle. It's been on my places to see for five years and this time I'm making it happen. You should also consider Santa Barbara, perhaps the best place in California to live -- if you can afford it.

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"...But Hearst Castle is not a unicum, not a rara avis: it fits into the California tourist landscape with perfect coherence, among the waxwork Last Suppers and Disneyland. And so we leave the castle and travel a few dozen miles, toward San Luis Obispo. Here, on the slopes of Mount San Louis, bought entirely by Mr Madonna in order to build a series of motels of disarming pop vulgarity, stands the Madonna Inn.

 

"The poor words with which natural human speech is provided cannot suffice to describe the Madonna Inn. To convey its external appearance, divided into a series of constructions, which you reach by way of a filling station carved from Dolomitic rock, or through the restaurant, the bar, and the cafeteria, we can only venture some analogies. Let's say that Albert Speer, while leafing through a book on Gaudi, swallowed an overgenerous dose of LSD and began to build a nuptial catacomb for Liza Minnelli. But that doesn't give you an idea. Let's say Archimboldi builds the Sagrada Familia for Dolly Parton. Or: Carmen Miranda designs a Tiffany locale for the Jolly Hotel chain. Or D'Annunzio's Vittoriale imagined by Bob Cratchit, Calvino's Invisible Cities described by Judith Krantz and executed by Leonor Fini for the plush-doll industry, Chopin's Sonata in B flat minor sung by Perry Como in an arrangement by Liberace and accompanied by the Marine Band.

 

"No, that still isn't right. Let's try telling about the restrooms. They are immense underground caverns, something like Altamira and Luray, with Byzantine columns supporting plaster baroque cherubs. The basins are made of imitation-mother-of-pearl shells, the urinal is a fireplace carved from the rock, but when the jet of urine (sorry, but I have to explain) touches the bottom, water comes down from the wall of the hood, in a flushing cascade something like the Caves of the Planet Mongo.

 

"And on the ground floor, in keeping with the air of Tyrolean chalet and Renaissance castle, a cascade of chandeliers form baskets of flowers, billows of mistletoe surmounted by opalescent bubbles, violet-suffused light among which Victorian dolls swing, while the walls are punctuated by art nouveau windows with the colours of Chartres and hung with Regency tapestries whose pictures resemble the garish colour supplements of the Twenties. The circular sofas are red and gold, the tables gold and glass, and all this amid inventions that turn the whole into a multicolour Jell-O, a box of candied fruit, a Sicilian ice, a land for Hansel and Gretel.

 

"Then there are the bedrooms, about two hundred of them, each with a different theme: for a reasonable price (which includes an enormous bed-King or Queen size-if you're on your honeymoon) you can have the Prehistoric Room, the Safari Room (zebra walls and bed shaped like a Bantu idol), the Kona Rock Room (Hawaiian), the California Poppy, the Old-Fashioned Honeymoon, the Irish Hills, the William Tell, the Tall and Short, for mates of different lengths, with the bed in an irregular polygon form, the Imperial Family, the Old Mill.

 

"The Madonna Inn is the poor man's Hearst Castle; it has no artistic or philological pretensions, it appeals to the savage taste for the amazing, the overstuffed, and the absolutely sumptuous at low price. It says to visitors: 'You too can have the incredible, just like a millionaire.' ..."

 

Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality

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When are you coming? For how long? What types of activities are fun - museums, theme parks, action sports, etc?

 

Most of the previous suggestions are along the California coastline and accessed by freeway 101. By your post, you are going to Yosemite, which is in eastern California and accessed by freeway 99. It will not be convenient to travel from Santa Cruz to Yosemite and then back over to San Simeon and onto Santa Barbara. Very little freeway money has been spent on east-west highways that connect freeway 99 and 101 in the middle of the state. California is a large state with a lot of cars, be sure to add extra time/days in your travel plans.

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Freeway traffic in the Los Angeles basin can be horrible at anytime of the day. A good rule of tumb is don't come into or through the city from about 6 a.m. to about 10 a.m. AND from about 2 p.m. to about 7 p.m. I know those period seem very limited but with a little planning you will be able to manage. Now even considering the above times there can still be problems even then if there is an accident. I live in north Orange County and if I am leaving on a driving vacation I ALWAYS try to get away before 5 a.m. and plan to return home at the same time or late in the evening around 10 p.m.

 

If you want to give me an idea of where you are headed in the L.A. area I and I'm sure others might give you some specific suggestions. There is a great deal to see here BUT most requires considerable driving.

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