Tuesday, 27 April 2010

North California

I've wanted to visit north California for some time.

I want to see the Big Sur (above), Carmel, Monterrey...I remember watching the film "play misty for me" and being mesmerised by the scenery, the stunning coastal drives. I wanted to be Clint Eastwood in that car driving along the coast and I want his house in that film! So much space, so few people, bracing fresh clean air, or so I imagine.

I also want to see Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe, we will probably camp there. I'd like to see Sausilito, and DH wants to see the Redwood trees further North.

There is something that draws me to the area, the climate, the contrast between the dramatic coast and the beautiful wilderness.

We are thinking about going to North Cal in September. Flying to san franciso and then driving from there. But having costed the trip up its given me a bit of a fright. We want to go for a month. In terms of accommodation we want to camp and stay in a few hotels. I've found an amazing camp site in the Big Sur. The first time I costed the trip it came out as £7,500!. Then I thought if we camped more we could bring the price down to about £6,000.

The trip would have something to keep both DH and I happy, DH is not a beach person, he loves hiking in the outdoors and wilderness. I like to hike but I also like to sit on quiet beaches watch the waves and just ponder. Hopefully we will get beach and hiking in north cal.

Can I justify spending the money? We could stay somewhere in the Mediterranean at that price for months. But its a holiday of a life time for us and it really is the only place (long haul) that we want to see.


Tony said...

It's indeed a lovely part of the world. I have really enjoyed the times I've been to California. I have fond memories of walking around Marina del Ray, from the lighthouse, right around to the Icecream Factory. Muscle Beach is cool, and of course Malibu. I enjoyed San Jose, Cuppertino, Redwood City, and of course San Francisco. Carmel area is very nice too, but it's been a long time since I was there. I believe Clint Eastwood still actually lives in Carmel.

I would love to go back one day, and tour it as you are proposing. I think I would love to start slightly further south and work my way up to Portland and Seattle.

I think you could do the month for a lot less. Surely it can be done for 3 or 4K tops?

Dreamer said...

Tony yes I think he might be the Mayor of Carmel, or at least he used to be.

I've been to So Cal too!

Well we were thinking:-

£1k for flights (£500ish each)

£3,000 spending money (£100 per day x 30 days)

Allow up to £3,000 for accomodation per night (£100 per day x 30 days)

That comes out at 6.5k. The amount for accomodation is the maximum I want to spend, so if we camp, or go to say a motel 6 then obviously the rate comes down quite a bit.

From what i've seen even camping is not cheap in that part of the world.

Any ideas/tips on how to cut the budget always welcome :)

laura said...

Yes you can justify it...I don't think you can change your dream holiday, however much it costs. Even if you spent months in the Med, you would still want a trip to California, it's your dream :-)

Alice ~ writer, dreamer, traveller ~ said...

You absolutely have to go with what you really feel you want to do... as Laura says, no point in spending months in the med if your heart is in North California!

And heh, maybe you 'need' this month away to really think about what you want long-term?

Alice ~ writer, dreamer, traveller ~ said...

ps... i know this isn't North California, but this place (blogged by my friends in S.Diego) looks fantastic!!! http://thistinyhouse.com/2010/inspiring-community-hicksville/ and you can stay in one of these funky trailers for about £300 a week!!!!

Jerry Critter said...

The northern California coast is beautiful. If you get a chance, continue up the coast into Oregon and Washington. Their coastlines are beautiful also and not as developed. They are even more pristine.

As far as your spending money and accommodations go, you are probably not too far off. You can find good accommodations for less than £100. I have had good luck with Best Western Motels, but there are others.

September is a good time to go. School is back in session so families are not traveling. Things will not be as busy and the weather will generally still be nice and not too rainy. Probably similar to what you are use to in England.

One of my favorite vacations was driving up the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts staying as close to the ocean as possible, much of it on Highway 1.

Sounds like a great vacation to me. Have fun.

A Reformed Manager of Money said...

You should totally do Northern Cali! I've been up around Big Sur on Highway 1 many times. It really is beautiful. I've been to all of those places you mention and, yes, I would say it's worth the money. The redwood forests alone are worth the trip I think. We usually stay at Richardson Grove because the campground offers not just tent camping but RV parking and cabins also. We've had a lot of fun in the middle of the redwoods - it's a hike in any direction you choose once you get off the beaten path. Yosemite makes for a great road trip as well. Have you thought about perhaps renting an RV while you're here? You wouldn't have to worry about hotels and all that. Of course, it means driving everywhere but what better way to really see the land?

Anna said...

I've just come back from there! We had two weeks based in Oakland/Berkeley (with friends - there's the clincher - no accommodation costs). We did Carmel, Big Sur, Monterey, Mendocino and Sonoma -all absolutely wonderful. The Pacific ocean is mesmerising. Do go! I agree with everyone else that you need to do the things that entail following your heart.

Dreamer said...

Laura, yes you are right, it is a dream holiday.

Alice, what a great idea, I will have to have a look to see if there is something like that further north

jerry, i've always wanted to go to Oregon and Washington state, one day hopefully, perhaps we could do it on the same trip, or perhaps worthy of a seperate trip, knowing me I wont want to leave!

RMM - I've looked into an RV before and it seems to be a more expensive option than just using hotels, but one think i've been thinking of is whether to buy an RV there, do an extended stay, perhaps longer, say 3 - 6 months and then hopefully sell the RV on the way back out, that would really mitigate the costs, I dont know how easy it is to sell RV's though.

Anna, its great that you had free accomodation, sounds like you had a great time!