Days 19 and 20: San Diego, LA, Santa Monica

San Diego Coastline

Today I’m driving North, completing my circle of the Western States and heading towards Los Angeles.
Obviously, I’m doing this the long way and most scenic way possible-I take a drive down to the Harbour, passing a fleet of warships and continue the coastal route around the beaches at Point Loma and Sunset Cliffs and then further North to Mission Beach.
Hundreds of people are staking their patch of sand for a day of surfing, lounging, relaxing, barbecuing and boozing.
After spending lunch at the beach, I head towards Torrey Pines Golf Club, where I then join Highway 5 to continue my drive along the coast for an hour and a half to Los Angeles.

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Cinco de Mayo at Hermosa Beach, LA

I’m heading to Hermosa Beach, to meet up with a few mates from San Francisco who are down for the weekend to celebrate Cinco De Mayo.
I first head to Manhattan beach, the next beach north- to relax and get my bearings. I have a day and a half in LA- but I’m not overly fussed about making it to the city centre. The last time I was here, 5 years ago, it was a real nightmare trying to travel into the city- the traffic is insane and I just didn’t get a great vibe from it: I’m far happier sticking to the beaches on the coast.
As evening draws in, I head down to Hermosa, where I park up and head to one of the beach clubs to meet up with Jordan and co.
It’s absolutely mental- everyone looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch model and don’t they know it- There’s plastic bits attached to all sorts of places and everyone is ripped.
Jordan, three of his mates and myself rock up wearing a t-shirts, shorts and sandals and collectively we’re wearing as much clothes as the rest of the beach club.
We decide to head down to the pier, where most of the partying for Cinco de Mayo is in full flow and is a much better vibe. We spend the rest of the night around the bars and clubs down to the beach. After a pretty groggy start the night turns out to be pretty awesome and Hermosa can certainly equal the festives of San Diego’s Gaslamp District. Cinco de Mayo done!

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LA and Santa Monica

Jordan and co. are staying in LA for the week, but I’m heading further north.
I make the decision to head into downtown L.A to be a tourist for a few hours- But I immediately regret this decision after realising its Monday morning. I end up stuck in the traffic rush for well over an hour before I make it to the next junction to turn back towards the beach. It once again reaffirms that I don’t like central L.A- its too much hassle to get anywhere!
Instead I head to Santa Monica and spend the rest of the day on the beach. I take my time to stroll through the town, the beach shops, the open bars and the pier, before watching the sun set over the Pacific.
What started as a day of sitting frustratingly in traffic, antagonizing my road rage, has ended up to be quite relaxing.
I have a quiet night in at the Santa Monica Hostel- which marks the very start of the Pacific 1 Coastal Highway- one of the most famous drives in the world and will take me all the way to San Francisco via a stop over at Big Sur tomorrow!

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