Winding roads twisting their way up and down the all American hills on your left, the setting sun dipping in the big Pacific Ocean on your right while the wind messes up your hair, because you have no roof over your head. You are driving along the highway 1, for as long as you have daylight and fuel. Sounds good, right?
Most expensive breakfast in the world
A 56 dollar breakfast almost kills the morale when we wake up the next morning. Yes, the breakfast was good, but how good does a breakfast have to to be, in order it to cost 23 dollars? Ah well, it was tasty. We lift our souls with he notion of the excitement ahead: we have rented a Ford Mustang convertible to drive along the epic highway 1 down the sea. The most iconic road of the US – except for maybe route 66-, the ultimate American road in the most ultimate symbol of American freedom: a Ford Mustang convertible.
If you’re not sure if you’ve seen or heard about the highway 1, it is that road you always see in car commercials. Winding roads, mountains on your left, on your right the setting sun dipping down in the Pacific Ocean while the American wind goes through your hair. I you are half as excited as I was: I can imagine.
It was Annemiek’s idea. I told her, for me a normal car would just do fine, but she was adamant: a convertible was essential for this adventure and of course she is right. “I am here now and I don’t know when I will be back, we’re renting a convertible,” she said. The fact that we had just rented a brand new car for these last days did not seem to matter. Neither did my argument that it would cost a lot more money. “We’re doing it, and that’s the end of it.” Alright, then.
And so the anticipation built, I couldn’t wait.
Having just made it onto the highway 1, we deemed a coffee stop necessary. We found this cosy place with good coffee and free internet so I could call my mom. Nice.
We have a bloody roof
To make a very long and cheerful story very short and sad: it didn’t happen. Well, the convertible part, then. We spent about the entire morning convincing the car rental company to give us the car, but in the end they decided not to as we already had rented one from them. Shame.
And so here we drive then, on the highway 1, with the wind through our hair, but because of the fact that I put the windows down: we do have a roof over our heads.
After the 48 degree celcius heat we were used to for the past couple of days, it is definitely a lot colder here at the coast. I actually walk around in my long jeans and with a scarf, crazy!!
As a tip from Brother Bas we are now on our way to Carmel-by-the-sea, a small town on highway one. It is a couple of hours driving to get to the town – which is ridiculous, by the way, we’ve been driving some 3000 kilometres in the past 3 weeks, and now we are in a big city we get out immediately again- which is a treat with the views along the rugged coastline. Every 300 meters I need to control myself not to stop and take photos. I give in. The smell of the ocean water immediately flies into my nose as I open the door and jump out of the car. Some surfers defy the big water walls coming from the Pacific Ocean and ride the waves, unknowing -and probably not even interested- I take photos of them. Two dudes drive past in a Mustang convertible. “&!^#^#@$$#@!” I think.
Start of the highway 1. How beautiful. Look away when you see people in a convertible.
Would you just look at that. Wish I could join the surfers in the photo (found them yet?) and ride a big old Pacific wave. Next time!
Cute as Carmel
Carmel-by-the-sea turns out to be a very lovely America little town, with lots of lovely shops and restaurants, a spectacular white beach and lots of sun. It’s a little touristic, but that’s okay. Getting a little hungry we walk around town following our nose to check out some restaurants. We end up in a place called Dametra Café, a small Mediterranean restaurant (later I find out it is voted the no. 1 restaurant in Carmel-by-the-sea). It’s one of the very few restaurants we’ve been here in America with a great atmosphere, that I would definitely call “gezellig”.
We sit down and have a look at the menu, our waiter brings us some bread and puts some olive oil and vinegar on a plate, possibly the most delicious olive oil I’ve ever had. So tasty. While the owner of the place walks around and talks with the guests, making sure everyone is having a good time we make our choices.
I go for “The best clam chowder” (which turns out to be “the best clam chowder in the world”) and hummus with homemade pita bread, while Annemiek goes -rather surprisingly- for shoarma. The music is good, as is the service. But the food is what takes the prize, it is phenomenal, the clam chowder -a kind of thick seafood soup- is heavenly, it is like it is made out of the tears of an angel. The hummus is smooth and fierce and just perfect, while the pita bread makes me want to move to Carmel today. A nice cup of espresso finishes it off. Maybe the best food we’ve had on the entire trip.
When I was younger I had a similar photo like this on my bedroom door.
Pretty. Just very pretty.
Houses with a sea view, and trees to block out the sun a little. Bet the prices here are quite high.
Center of town.
Inside the great restaurant!
Rarely do you see a slogan that’s actually correct. Dametra’s is spot on.
A couple of kilo’s heavier we climb into the automobile again and make our way further down south again on the iconic highway one. I open up the windows to have some wind going through our hair, giving at least a small impression of having no roof. It is a phenomenal road, winding and twisting,
I put the gearbox of the car in sport mode, strap in and imagine I’m in a rally stage. Bend after bend I lace together, rip the asphalt apart, going full speed through the corners, some 20 centimetres from the cliffs, stepping hard on the breaks as the next bend comes along. It is one of the best moments of the trip, the windows down, a fast car underneath my bum, spectacular scenery to enjoy from the corners of my eyes. Magical, is what it is.
A convertible might have made it a tiny bit better, but this is as close to heaven as it gets today. We make our way back to the city in the dark, and today has been wonderful.
Tomorrow more San Francisco!
Let me just drive here until the petrol runs out.
This is where I am right now (my mom said this would be a good idea):
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