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This is a vintage postcard from "the old days", circa 1940s.

The Edges of California, Part 2:
Big Sur

by DianneK

Here's a nice old postcard of the Daylight Limited train from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Wouldn't that be a fine way to travel? If you check online for Daylight Limited train times you will be disappointed. You can buy Daylight Limited nail polish or model trains, but there is no Daylight Limited train running these days. Instead you can take Amtrak's Coast Starlight that runs from Seattle to LA. That sounds like a great trip. Maybe one of these days.

A few months ago Karen, Barkley and I took a drive down Big Sur (California Hwy. 1). Our destination was Nepenthe. We had heard about a restaurant that serves great burgers. It was a fine summer day, no fog, no wind, and it was the middle of the week so there would not be much traffic. It took over an hour for us to get to Monterey, where we picked up Hwy. 1.

We meandered slowly along the road because it was that kind of day. We stopped at a beach where I remembered how difficult it is to walk on the sand. It's coarse and dry so you sink into it with each step, and it falls into your sneakers, not exactly the kind of romantic strolling that we see on TV. But Barkley needed a pit stop so it was critical.

The scenery is simply spectacular, so no wonder this drive lands on the "10 best" road trip lists. The road runs along farmland and then seashore and cliffs. We crossed the famous Bixby Creek bridge about a half hour into our trip. It's not as impressive from the highway because you don't see the bridge until you come up on it. It just looks like part of the road bed. But it's really quite beautiful, as shown on this old postcard.

Note to the postcard collectors: This is an old Kropp postcard from the early part of the 20th century. The bridge was built in 1932 and was considered an engineering marvel at the time. It is 287 feet high and the arch is 330 feet wide. It cost an amazing $200,000 to build!

We tootled along with Karen driving and Barkley hanging over our shoulders from the backseat. He loves to be in on things, and road trips are a nice diversion for him. Most of the time he's a patient house doggie, just waiting for Karen to get home from work.

We stopped at various camp grounds along the route to check prices and things to do. There are quite a few of them and space available at most of them. Prices varied. Barkley checked the trees and left his mark on as many as he could.

The drive is slow even without traffic and after a while the sameness of the scenery starts to wear on those of us with short attention spans, even though it is gorgeous. That would be all three of us. So we didn't make the whole drive. The Big Sur portion of Hwy.1 ends at Ragged Point, which is close to Cambria. Karen and I have visited it several times from that end. Ragged Point is a resort with good food, a hotel and camp grounds, hiking trails and even a wedding site. It would make a fine destination for a Big Sur road trip.

So we stopped at Nepenthe which is about 50 miles south of Monterey. Since we had been driving slowly and backtracking here and there it seemed longer to us, and we were hungry. The restaurant was crowded, and parking was difficult to find. It's always so irritating to have to troll the lot waiting for somebody to back out. That's what we did and eventually were able to snag a spot. The burgers were good, but perhaps not the best ones we have ever eaten. Barkley settled for doggie treats after waiting patiently in the car. It was a shaded spot so he was fine, just disappointed that he couldn't sit at the table with us and beg for french fries. Dogs can dream.

This is a lovely postcard of the Big Sur highway. It is exactly this beautiful.

If you go, choose a week day if possible and also check the weather. If it's foggy or raining, it's not a great trip. If you are in a hurry to get to the southland take 5 or 101 instead. (Please note that I didn't write "the 5" or "the 101". That's SoCal speak. We don't do that up here. Uh-huh, Nope, not us.) Notice that it's mostly a two lane road, with passing lanes here and there. Don't be in a hurry. Stop often. Watch your rear view for speeders. It is a dangerous road even on good days, especially because beauty can be very distracting.

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