The City at the Bay
The time had come to continue north. Once again the cars were loaded. Everything had
become a routine by this point in time. Almost daily we checked the fluid levels of the
cars before starting off for the day, adding oil and water if needed. Another fuse had
gone bad in the Camaro's CB. Dave easily made the repairs. The rate at which the fuses
burned out was worrying because we still had another 3000 miles or more to go. Something
fishy was definitely going on in the Chevy's electrical system but as long as it was only
affecting the CB and not the car itself, the problem wasn't too critical.
We left Lompoc around 9 AM and headed straight for US-1 a.k.a. Pacific Coast Highway, a
winding and very scenic road that stretches from the area east of Lompoc to northern
California. Some of this road was used as a model for the classic computer game "Test
Drive 2 - The Duel". As in many cases reality beat fiction: The hairpin turns and
dramatic hills were even more fun to negotiate than in the game. Of course the speed was
considerably slower, in fact we had to slow down to 15-20 mph in order to turn a corner
safely. The roars of the V8s compensated well for the lack of velocity.
The Pacific from US-1
We stopped at Hearst Castle, a grandiose "summer cottage" built by William
Randolph Hearst, the media tycoon. Discouraged by the entrance fee, which was close to 20
bucks, we went for a walk outside the grounds instead. The castle was situated on a
hilltop and it looked very impressive indeed but no one really wanted to pay out the money
in order to have a closer look.
Continuing north, we had the road to ourselves most of the time. However, it was rather
annoying when a slow-moving car or camper blocked the road. Overtaking was a tricky
business because most of the time we couldn't see more than a few hundred feet ahead of
us. Luckily in most cases the slower moving vehicles pulled off the road to let us pass.
Naturally we also had to stop several times to enjoy the landscape. At one point we saw
several seals and sea lions lounging on the cliffs below us. They didn't seem to mind
being watched from a distance. The lazy mammals earned the name 'farting animals' due to
the noises they made while digesting whatever they had been eating.
We reached the southern part of Palo Alto before rush hour started. Dave gave us
directions to the house of Ursine Bernhard, a girl he had gone to school with back in
Switzerland. The house was situated in a rather fashionable suburban neighborhood, which
we didn't have any problems finding.
After being introduced to Ursine and her aunt, who owned the house, we were assigned
rooms. The wooden house consisted of two stories and had a nice backyard with a pond. Here
we met a friendly Golden Retriever that insisted to play ball with us. Without hesitation
it even dived into the pond in order to fetch the ball... Talk about retrieving!!
Mark was quick to discover the sound system and immediately put on some techno music.
Apparently he had drawback symptoms because Manuel didn't let him play it all the time in
the car. Manuel, that's cruelty! To keep a man from his music!
After a talk we decided to go out for some dinner. Ursine took us to a restaurant where we
had the buffet. The remainder of the evening was spent on talk before we turned in around
midnight after an exhausting day.
Sound Snippet (125 Kb)
Dave's frolicking - Niels is grumpy.
Area map of San Francisco (>300 Kb).
Go to the next page in the Diary (May 29).