Highway 101 Travel Diary, August 1998
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This is a "reprint" of a published travel diary I have on my Geocities site. It is for my 1998 Hwy 101 trip. I just thought I should have a copy of it here, for the sake of completeness. Yeah, yeah, I also have travel diary notes for a '99 and '00 Hwy 101/One trip. I'll put them up! Really! I will!

Avenue of the Giants, off of Highway 101Highway 101 spans California's western border.  It sometimes converges with the famous coastal Highway 1.  Highway 101 goes through Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Eureka, and up to Oregon.  It travels through Wine Country, Redwoods, and many other beautiful areas of California.

I have traveled up and down Highway 101 many times with my family, and a couple of times on my own.  It is something that can be done over and over (I just want to get it right!)  I learned from my dad to make a travel record, with mileages and times.  It helps me plan out the next year's trip, and it may help you out a little bit too!

I started my trip in August, 1998.  I only had 4 full days for the trip, but I did get a few hours in (on "Day One") just to give myself a head start.  I left for my trip on a Sunday afternoon, from Montrose.  (Montrose is little community near Pasadena, Glendale, and Burbank, in Southern California.) 

Day One  -  Day Two  -  Day Three  -  Day Four  -  Day Five

Day One:

I got a late start, I had many other things to do most of the day.  I left Montrose at 5:15 pm.  Drove North to San Luis Obispo, stayed at Motel 6.  Drove approx. 200 miles on Day One, the drive took approx. 3 to 3 1/2 hours.  I could have left the next day, but I need the psychological "push" of knowing I was already on the trip.  If I had waited until the next morning, I probably would have found other errands and chores to do before I eventually would start on the trip.

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Day Two:

Left San Luis Obispo 8:30 am.  One hour and 65 miles later, got gas at small town of San Ardo.  (Gas station had appalling bathroom.)  Later in the morning, passed through the fabulous town of Gilroy on my way north.  Gilroy is the "Garlic Capital of the World".  Visited  "Garlic World" (a shop on right side of road, when heading north.)  Got some wonderful garlic goodies, and garlic t-shirt.

2:00 pm.  Got lost in San Francisco.  (It is really easy to do---Highway 101 merges into downtown S.F., and you have to keep on your toes to not get lost.  So far, I have never been enough on my  toes!)  Wandered through downtown S.F., stumbled upon the new S.F. Public Library.  A wonderful library!  Five floors, and an elevator that talks!  (But the bathroom is dirty.)  Tried to pick up my e-mail on their computers, but there was too long of a line.  Ate onion soup at the library's cafe, and relaxed a bit.  Finally found where I needed to go to get back on the 101, and drove north, over the Golden Gate Bridge.

7 pm.  Got into my Motel 6 in Ukiah (just in time to see Clinton's speech about the Lewinsky scandal---I guess I will always remember where I was on that historical day!)   I got to Ukiah later than I had hoped---I met with rush hour outside of Santa Rosa.   I had also dropped by the small charming town of Cloverdale, to get a hot pot.   (To heat water for tea, etc., in my motel room.) Traveled approx. 360 miles on Day Two.

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Day Three:

Left Ukiah at 8:55 am.  Saw by my map that I was very near a side road that would take me to Highway 1.  I had been told by a coworker about a little town on Highway 1, Albion, and I wanted to see it.  I was glad that I filled my tank before I took this side-road to get to the 1, there were no gas stations on the way!  The side road was twisty, so it took longer than the 30-some miles would suggest it take.
11:41 am, drove 60 miles.  I got to Albion, but it was foggy, couldn't see anything.  Drove down the "Little River Road", (where I took the picture at the top of this page, of the California Coast) and got my feet wet in the sand.  It was a very pleasant stop along the way.

12:18 pm, 23 miles later, had lunch at Ft. Bragg.  This is near where the 1 and 101 converge again, so I was back on the 101.  Drove around downtown Ft. Bragg, and found a little Internet cafe place called "Static" where I checked my e-mail.  (Update: I sadly have to report that "Static" has either moved, or gone out of business recently.)

Before dark, I crashed at a nice motel in McKinleyville, a little north of Arcata.  I had planned on staying at the Motel 6 in Arcata, a town a little north of Eureka, but had foolishly not called ahead for a reservation.  (I usually would, but got lazy that one time!)   The friendly people at the Arcata Motel 6 told me that since it was around "enrolling time" at the Arcata University (Humbolt State University?) all the rooms were full up with kids and parents.  They suggested this little private motel in McKinleyville, a few miles north.  I went there, in a grumpy mood, but the motel was quite nice.   It was owned by a very genteel man from (I think) India, who told me my room was "H" (but he pronounced it "Etch"...we had to work on that a bit before I figured out what he meant!)  The name of the motel is "Bella Vista Motel", and I would suggest it, if you are looking for a "Motel 6" sort of place.  Traveled 230 miles on Day Three.

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Day Four:

Left McKinleyville at 8:46 am.  Started on my way South (McKinleyville was the furthest North that I went on this trip.)  Stopped for a few hours at the wonderful little village of Ferndale.   Had a veggie burger at the Ferndale Grill, it was very tasty!  This little village survived (and rebounded well) from an earthquake earlier this decade, and was also featured in the film "Outbreak".

1:11 pm.  Stopped to absorb the Ave. of the Giants, a lovely drive through a redwood forest.  I stopped at the "Burl and Drift" gift shop, where I got a redwood screensaver, and a redwood t-shirt.  While I didn't do it this year, I sometimes will stop and do a little painting of the redwoods. Had traveled approx. 60 miles since my morning departure in McKinleyville. 

2:36 pm.  Traveled another 14 miles.  Still wandering through Ave. of the Giants.  Stopped to get postcards at the small town of Myer's Flat.  I usually allow at least 2 hours (minimum) to travel through it.  I look for the signs (going either North or South on the 101) to take me to the alternative route through the Ave.  The Ave. of the Giants road automatically blends back onto the main 101 Highway.

4:06 pm.  Used the last of my cash-on-hand to buy Mendocino-brewed root beers at a health food store in the little town of Laytonville.  Have traveled another 64 miles since Myer's Flat.  In the past I have stopped at a funky gift shop in (I think) Laytonville, called "Nobody's Business".  It is a fun place to stop.

Approx. 6:00 pm.  Stopped to get a nice salad at the "Owl Cafe" in Cloverdale.  A cozy little cafe, complete with a waitress with Big Hair.  It seemed to be a favorite of the locals, too.  The "Owl Cafe" has several signs for it on the 101, if you are looking for it, you can't miss it!

After 7:00 pm, got into the Petaluma Motel 6.  Petaluma is a little north of San Francisco. This time I was smart and called ahead for a reservation.  It was fortunate that I did, because they were sending people away! I had traveled approx. 270 miles on Day Four.

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Day Five:

Left Petaluma 9:46 am, heading south to S.F.  I deliberately left late to try to avoid the San Francisco rush hour.

11:30 am, 66 miles later, I get gas just outside of San Francisco.  Because it is late in the morning, rush hour is not the problem that I feared it would be.

With great determination, I manage not to get lost going South through downtown San Francisco.  I travel for many hours---I have a schedule to keep!  I arrive in the Scandinavian Town of Solvang (several hours north of L.A.) by 3:44 pm.  I had traveled 341 miles since leaving Petaluma that morning!  I eat a Mexican dinner in Solvang (which seems ironic, since it is a Scandinavian town!)   Solvang is a great place to visit, lots of shops, and lovely buildings.  It is nearby to Buellton, a town famous for it's split pea soup!

41 miles south of Solvang, I get gas at Goleta, CA.
Still on my grueling schedule, I drive and drive and drive.  I arrive in San Diego at 10 pm!  (I am visiting old family friends there.)  From Petaluma to San Diego, I have traveled approx. 610 miles on Day Five!  I do not recommend anyone else doing this.  I am unusual in that I really enjoy traveling by car for long distances.  I just drink a lot of TAB (the miracle "Wonder Beverage", otherwise known as a diet cola!) and I am "good to go"!   But, even though I do not have the exact mileage and times, I do remember driving through Los Angeles around dusk, so it would not be an unreasonable (grueling, but not unreasonable) drive to make: Petaluma to Los Angeles in a single day.

Whew!  I made it!  It was a wonderful trip.  I would like to take 6 or more days to make this trip next year, though I did get a lot done with the short amount of time I had this year. 

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