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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 01:29 PM
Original message
Me and the PCH
There seems to be all kinds of discussion about the Pacific Coast Highway what with Mel Gibson getting pulled over for a DUI on it. My wife and I were in L.A. 4 1/2 years ago and I went driving up the PCH and found it to rather unremarkable other than that there was water right there. During the day I went up and then cut back by Pepperdine and made my way back to Santa Monica (home of a rather ordinary pier) through the hills. We went back later that night to Gladstone's where I proposed at sunset.

I grove completely around L.A. in about an 1 1/2 in the middle of the day on the freeway and saw ZERO traffic problem.

I drove down and went for a run around the Colisseum.

We went down to Hollywood but really didn't see anyone all that out of the ordinary other than the place is a dump.

We saw JanClaude VanDam at a stoplight. I saw Ed Norton driving in the Beverly Hills area. Bill Walton was staying at our hotel as was the Arizona basketball team in town to play UCLA. We saw John Kerry up close and personal walk out of a meeting with Rupert Murdoch on the Fox studio lot, they shook hands and as Kerry walked off I commented to our host/guide "He is probably going to be the next President of the United States".

We drove through Beverly Hills and found it to be quite tacky and every house was right on top of each other.

We went to Rodeo drive and all the clerks were really nice to us.

Malibu appeared to me to be a wide spot in the road (the PCH) and not much more. I guess they have homes up in the hills but for the most part it didn't seem like all that much to me.

Did I not go far enough up the PCH to get the full effect?
Did I miss out on the LA experience somehow?
OR is there really not all that much about it they just have really good PR?

I don't mean this to make fun of Southern Cal I just didn't think there was all the drama that I had heard about.
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AlCzervik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
1. the PCH in northern Ca is imo beautiful but bring a barf bag if you're in
back seat. My husband smashed up my car right in front of Duke's restaurant so i had bad memories of the area so i won't post an opinion on that area because it would be totally tainted.
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. That's my impression
everyone who raves about PCH was usually somewhere up closer to San Francisco and Napa Valley
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AlCzervik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. right between Sea Ranch and Mendocino is absolutely beautiful.
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ForrestGump Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
4. Sounds like LA
Yes, Malibu is largely just a bunch of fairly nondescript beach houses strung out along the road -- nothing really noteworthy at all, though if you get off the PCH the place adds a few dimensions and you start to more obviously see where the money really is.

Stick around LA, though, and there can be plenty of drama...I mean the kind of thing that even makes native Californians roll their eyes and say "only in LA."

Steve Martin's LA Story, after all, didn't come from nowhere... :D
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
5. The PCH is spectacular if you go from LA -> Monterey
But you will get carsick, and gas along the rocky cliff (there is only one gas stations) runs about $6 per gallon.
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 02:36 PM
Response to Original message
6. You've gotta get further up the coast
PCH in L.A. County is largely another commercial stretch. I work on PCH in Long Beach, where it's mainly offices and stores. Get further up the coast, and it starts to get truly beautiful. Or go much further south towards San Clemente in Orange County.

Did you make it to San Diego? Now THAT is a beautiful city. I-5 runs right by Mission Bay State Park, with crystal blue waters and green grass carpeting the palm treed landscape. It's also much freer of the crass commmercialism of most of the urban coastal areas.

L.A. is what you make of it. I am not much at gawking at mansions, and having spent some time in Hollywood, it is no better or worse than most major city suburbs - aside from the heavy tourist traffic and the self-mythologizing. It has its dreary urban side, and its garish commercial side, but it is largely a myth. I think of it as just another place, and it makes it much saner to deal with.

Southern California is about the vibe and the weather. It's traffic, crime, and other urban ills are the natural byproducts of too many people loving the best weather in the U.S. a little too much for its own good. But it has everything you would expect of a large city - the BEST dining in the U.S., and expectedly, due to being ground zero for the entertainment industry, a massive variety of concerts and theater (only NYC could rank alongside us).

I'll take L.A. anyday over Orange County though - L.A. has much more vibrancy and variety. Orange County is the actual home of plastic surgery, plastic suburbs, and plastic people. L.A. has pockets of that, and they fuel a large nationally known stereotype, but its grittiness and ethnic variety make it much more interesting and alive. There are some sad aspects - the decline of the harbor area, and the ongoing gang strife are two examples - but there are unexpected gems to be found in the rough.

Like the Randy Newman song says - I love L.A. It's not for everybody, or we'd REALLY have a traffic problem. ;-) But goddamn, it's CALIFORNIA, and that speaks for itself. :P
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ForrestGump Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Yeah...on a north-south axis, California really gets good above
Thousand Oaks or Camarillo, in Ventura County. Highway 1 is amazing from Malibu all the way up to the Canadianese border...beautiful scenery.

I love San Diego, too. Always have. When I was there in the '80s it was a fairly violent place, espeially in certain areas where knife fights were very common, but I loved the place to death and I've never forgotten that love. I passed through there last a few years ago and my impression was that it had grown massively, as had the now almost completely developed strip between SD and LA, but I'm sure that, at heart, San Diego remains what I always thought it was: kind of like LA was in the early '60s, before things really got out of hand.

Viva Alberto's! Viva Roberto's! Viva Boll Weevil! :D
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I'm a San Diego native
Hence my bias. :D

I lived there for only short spans in my life in the 60's and 70's - and spent a lot of time during summer visits to my grandparents when I was a kid... lived on the east coast then, and coming to San Diego was like leaving a world of dreary black and white and stepping into TECHNICOLOR. I had Dorothy beat!

And I am quite surprised at what hasn't changed in nearly 40 years. I can still find my way around certain areas based on what I recall from visits to my grandfather in the 90's and before. Many of the familiar haunts thrive, and Balboa Park and Old Town are still decent escapes.

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huskerlaw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. ...

Yes to everything ZW said.
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taught_me_patience Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
9. PCH gets really nice
north of Kanan. Below that, in malibu, it gets a bit commercialized. Further south, especially south bay, it truly sucks.

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