TravelWest Coast USA

Day 17 – Carmel to Cambria

Let’s start the day by talking about bargains and discounts.  I love to haggle and I really don’t care if people get upset when I ask for a discount.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get and all that.  There are certain situations where you won’t get a discount e.g. having just finished a meal in a restaurant or a petrol station but most other places when traveling are fair game.  So we start the day with a nice discount on an expensive pair of shoes and one upset shop but hey it’s likely that we’re never coming through here again.

Highway 1

Unfortunately, as highway 1 is closed we’re not able to drive down the coastal road as we would have liked.  Big Sur is an hour away but because of the road closure, we would need to turn around and come straight back.  That’s fairly extreme tourism and we decide not to do it.  Taking highway 1 out of the equation means that the route south is on the 101 which is dull in the extreme as it follows acres of flat farmland (rather than the coast) so really nothing at all to see.  To some extent, this removes the point of going to Cambria but we did not know that before the trip.

Cambrian seals

Cambria is a small coastal town which has a certain charm but really lacks the highlights of Carmel.  When you look at the guides it will tell you that Moonstone Beach is amazing.  It isn’t.  In fact, it has some rather unattractive black sand and, when we were there, masses of flies around the seaweed line.  Frankly, it’s just not a nice beach.  The boardwalk is also highlighted as a feature and while its ok, really nothing special (although fine for an early evening run).  Other than that the main attraction is to see the sea lions on a beach roughly 15 miles north of Carmel.  It worth the drive as there are plenty of sea lions and it was not too crowded.

So, while it’s probably got its name as a nice place to stop off when driving south on the coastal highway, I couldn’t really recommend it a place to make a detour for in its own right.

Despite that, we did have some nice meals with an excellent lunch at Linns Easy as Pie Café and dinner at the Sow’s Ear a restaurant serving a varied range of meals – mainly traditional American but with a few twists – also good value for money.

We’re nevertheless staying at the Blue Dolphin Inn which is rather a nice place given the modest exterior and sits right opposite the beach.  So nice to hear the sea as you fall asleep for the evening.

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