A Travellerspoint blog

California Dreaming

...adventures heading south from SF to LA

sunny 27 °C

Santa Cruz

I left San Francisco on a bright sunny day that seems to have marked the end of the nightmare rainy period that has drowned the populous, heading down the coast the to the legendary surf/skate mecca of Santa Cruz.

The place was suprisingly small with a tiny downtown area and limited number of bars. But once you get away from the idea of this being a vibrant city and more a sleepy side surfing town things start to make sense.

By day, the beach and surf breaks are all you need for entertainment. I hired a surf board and took a surf lesson with a local dude who took me through the motions. 3rd time lucky it seems prevails as previous surfing attempts failed miserably but this time it all fell into place. Only snag that my shoulder popped out of socket each time I paddled too hard and have done further damage to my ligaments as a result. Nethertheless and fool hardy I am I carried on and had some successfull waves, even manage to get the board to turn. The instructor did point out that this is probably the easiest place in the world to surf so lets see what happens when I get to Indonesia (if my shoulder recovers sufficiently).


By night, the boardwalk with it's rollercoaster rides and sea front promenade entice you with the flashing lights and arcade machines (many retro games inside like Out Run, Mis PacMan and Asteroids) and Quarter slot machines. A venture to the local bars is an intimate affair and expect to end up chatting to ageing surfer dudes who have drunk far too much. The best way I found to enjoy the night was a stroll along the sea front past Lighthouse Point and the world famous surf break Steamer Lane at sunset is spectacular.


My accomodation for the stay was the HI Santa Cruz which is a really cute beach hut setup. Only snag is a daytime lockout and 11pm curfew. I met a top guy here called Joey who is travelling across America in his trusty rusty Toyota Supra, who I'll travel with here on in till LA.


Santa Barbara

A vibrant sea-side town with a strong Spanish influence, impressive architecture of gleaming white houses and brightly coloured ornate mosaics.

A different vibe to Santa Cruz on the whole as it does not have the surf breaks and skate parks in the same way. More over, a home for the rich and beautiful. The beach was spectacular and well worth a stroll down.


Met tonnes of nice people here including Lauren from Masachusets.

Santa Monica (LA)

A gnarly drive through winding mountain roads brings me to LA. Erring on the side of caution, I decide to take it easy and stay in Santa Monica which is a safer neighbourhood on the edge of LA.

Not feeling too great here, hence why the tale is lacking the usual luck lustre pazzazz. I managed a heated discussion with some creationists in the shopping precinct who staked a $250,000 bet that there is no evidence to disprove their insance beliefs, ha ha. Also, took a stroll down to the beach to experience the great white sandy beaches LA is famed for, and captured the obligatory Baywatch life guard tower picture.


Would like to have done more here but the stomach not up to it so a good time to catch up on the diary. Currently contemplating posting the laptop home for safe keeping with sister but not sure I can let go of my little baby, still undecided and my plane leaves in 3 hours. Will he do it? I guess we'll find out next time I write when I arrive in Fiji in 12 hours time, yay!!!!!

Posted by phileas 14:30 Archived in USA

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