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Archives for May 2012

Malibu Drive: PCH Oxnard-Santa Monica

California's Finest Drive:  Route 1 Santa Monica, Malibu, Oxnard

The coastal route between Ventura and Los Angeles is not only beautiful, it can be a time-saving alternate to the busy 101 freeway.

Here’s a Southern California coastal drive that’s enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike.  And, believe it or not, it is often less crowded than the freeway (101 and 405) when traveling between Ventura County and Santa Monica.  Plus, there’s plenty of fresh air to breathe and beautiful scenery to see along the way.

California Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) near the border of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties is mostly a single lane in each direction.  The smooth road hugs rocky mountains or sandy hills on one side, and the rugged crystal blue-turquoise Pacific Ocean on the other.  The approximately one hour (without traffic) drive takes you past the Naval Base Ventura County (home of the “Seabees” and Point Mugu Naval Air Station) to the Santa Monica Pier.  And, there’s so much to see along the way.

Related: El Matador Beach Malibu “Picture Perfect”

Mugu Rock, a distinctive boulder that stands on the coastal side of the road, can be seen from far away, as you wind along the highway.  You might recognize Mugu Rock, and this stretch of Pacific Coast Highway, since it’s a popular shooting location for TV shows and car commercials.

Malibu, CA

California's Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) between Oxnard and Santa Monica offer is one of the most beautiful drives in the USA. The New York Times calls this drive through Malibu one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the USA! Here are some photos I took along the way. Story to follow soon, in case you want to try this 30 mile coastline drive yourself. I highly recommend it!

[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupointdumenaturalpreserve.jpg]59500Point Dume Natural Preserve, Malibu
Point Dume offers a hiking trail down a hill to a beautiful secluded beach.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_pointdumemalibu.jpg]7420
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_pointmugunavalairstation.jpg]7610
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupointmugulookoutpoint.jpg]7490Point Mugu Lookout Point
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibucampingthornehillbroomebeach.jpg]6310Beachside Camping Malibu
How's this for a camping spot?!? Thornhill Broome Beach State Park is an ideal place to cool off in the summer. Bring your camper, motorhome or fifth wheel and you're all set!
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibucountrymart.jpg]5570Malibu Country Mart
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibucountrymartcourtyard.jpg]5060
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibustarbucksralphshoppingcenter.jpg]5120
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_santamonicabaygettyvilla.jpg]5530Getty Villa, Santa Monica Bay
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupointdumenaturalpreserve_0.jpg]4800
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupchdriveroadsign_traffic411.jpg]4930California's Finest Drive: Route 1 Santa Monica, Malibu, Oxnard
This stretch of California coastline is among the most beautiful in the state. Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) is also a great alternative to the 101 freeway when traveling between Ventura County and Los Angeles.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupchwindyroad.jpg]4080

Point Dume is another recognizable landmark.  The flat-topped bluff jutting into the Pacific is visible from miles away.  The Point Dume Natural Preserve offers a path to the Cliffside lookout point.  It’s a relatively easy walk downhill to a pristine beach, but there’s very little parking in the Point Dume neighborhood.

Nearby Zuma Beach is popular among sun worshippers, but can be dangerous for swimmers. If your ‘parking karma’ is good, you might find free beach parking when you turn onto Busch Drive (just south of Zuma Beach).

Related: Hike Solstice Canyon Malibu

Just South of Pepperdine University is the heart of Malibu’s shopping district.  For a relaxing break, stop at the Ralph’s shopping center for a frozen yogurt or Starbucks.  Across the street, Malibu Country Mart, offers an array of dining options and can be a good place to spot celebrities.  (Cross streets are Civic Center Way or Cross Creek Road).

Related: Pacific Park Santa Monica Pier – Carnival by the Sea

Santa Monica is about nine miles away from the Malibu Civic Center area.  This is the portion of the drive where you’re likely to find the most traffic, especially on summer weekends, or during the weekday morning and evening commutes.

Related:  Santa Monica Daycations

The Malibu Coast is a fun daytrip.  If you only want to take the coast one way, hop on the 101 north to Camarillo, exit Pleasant Valley or Las Posas, then head west to the coast, and southbound along Pacific Coast Highway (toward Santa Monica).  Coming from Ventura or Santa Barbara, exit the 101 South at Rice Road, head west and you’ll wind up on California Highway 1.

Note:  The Ventura portion of Pacific Coast Highway is very dark at night, there are no street lights, so it’s not recommended if you are unfamiliar with the road, especially on evenings when there isn’t much moonlight.  Safe travels!!

See the map!  The Malibu Drive:  PCH Oxnard-Santa Monica

 

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Save on Gas this Summer

Gas prices are near record highs as the 2012 summer travel season begins.

Gas prices are flirting with record high prices as the 2012 summer travel season officially gets underway.  A listener to my network radio show recently called to comment on a gas saving tip I shared from Redbook, which reported the average driver wastes $700 in gas a year idling their vehicle.

My listener, a former mechanic, challenged this statement saying, while idling DOES waste fuel, turning the ignition on and off puts more wear and tear on your vehicle’s battery and starter.  He also offered these gas saving tips, which can save you money as you hit the road this summer:

  • Fill your tank in the morning, when it’s cool: Gasoline is sold in volume, so in cooler weather the gas is more compressed.  When it’s hot outside, gas expands, and the pump thinks more fuel is going into your tank.
  • Avoid filling up when a tanker truck is delivering fuel to the gas station:  When fuel is being pumped in the ground, it can stir up the fuel and cause it to expand (remember, gas is sold in volume).
  • Don’t fill ‘er up too fast:  Use the slow or medium setting on the pump nozzle.  When gas lands in your tank too quickly, it stirs up vapors, giving you less gas for your money.

Here are some other easy gas-saving tips I’ve learned over years of driving well over a million miles of Southern California freeways:

  • Fill your tank while it’s still half full: Less gas will evaporate when there’s less air in your tank, saving you money.
  • Get the junk out of the trunk (this is the hardest thing for me to do :-): Lightening the load inside your vehicle can get you further with every fill up.
  • Avoid gunning it:  Driving at a steady pace rather than switching between the gas pedal and the brake.

Running the air conditioning doesn’t save much fuel, and could give you better mileage than you’ll get by driving with the windows down and the A/C turned off.

To find the lowest gas prices in your area, visit Gas Price Watch.

Be safe on the road!  Do you have gas saving tips? Share them with me.

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Eclipse Chasers Follow the Sun

Leaving Las Vegas will take on a whole new meaning on Sunday when sky watchers head north on Interstate 15 to Utah to experience the annular solar eclipse.  This will be the most spectacular solar eclipse visible in the U.S. in more than a decade.  At its peak, the moon will cover 94% of the sun, casting a shadow on earth and creating a ‘ring of fire’ in the sky.

annular solar eclipse

This image of the solar eclipse on Jan. 4, 2011, was taken from space. Source: Space.com

The eclipse will begin in Asia, and arrives in the USA over Northern California near the Oregon border on Sunday May 20, 2012.

A good portion of the USA west of Ohio will experience a partial solar eclipse, but Utah and New Mexico will be in the direct path of the eclipse, which will be at its peak, covering virtually all of the sun, at 6:30pm PT.

Interstate 15, the freeway that links Nevada and Utah, is expected to be crowded on Sunday, since Southern Utah (between St. George and Cedar City) is a prime eclipse viewing area.  Some Utah residents are even holding ‘eclipse viewing parties’ to commemorate the rare event.

San Francisco resident George T. Bundy plans to make the two hour trip from Las Vegas to St. George, Utah on Sunday afternoon to attend an eclipse viewing party.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to actually be right in the path of the eclipse,” said Bundy.  “I have my camera and video camera ready to go,” he added.

Tour operators are also cashing in on the event.  And, Zion National Park and other state parks in Utah and New Mexico are also popular places to see Sunday’s annular solar eclipse.

It’s dangerous to stare directly into the sun, so the eclipse is best viewed with glasses or inexpensive welders glass.  Click here for eclipse viewing safety tips

This annular solar eclipse is worth seeing, especially if you are near the prime viewing area.  The next solar event of this magnitude won’t come around for five more years, when a total eclipse of the sun will be visible across the USA on August 21, 2017.

Leaving Las Vegas on Sunday?  Check real time freeway conditions around St. George Utah.   The Nevada Highway Patrol provides current traffic tie ups on Interstate 15 and other Nevada highways.

Will you be traveling to see Sunday’s solar eclipse?  Share your experience with me! Enjoy!

Read more about the spectacular annular solar eclipse & other celestial activities at Space.com

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Tall Ship Sails into Marina del Rey

The Bill of Rights sails into Marina del ReyThe Bill of Rights, the stunning vessel that led the Bicentennial Celebration Ship Parade into New York Harbor in 1976 sails into Marina del Rey this week.  The 137 foot replica sailing ship built in 1971 will take groups of kids on sailing adventures on Thursday and Friday, and will dock at Fisherman’s Village for public tours through the weekend.

The Bill of Rights is the first tall ship to sail into Marina del Rey in six years.  Her arrival coincides with MarinaFest, a recreational boat show showcasing the latest in motor yachts, sailboats, fishing boats and family sport boats.  Visitors can get a close up look and tour the Bill of Rights, docked at Fisherman’s Village, on Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20.

Teen sailing sensation Abby Sunderland will be signing autographs, books and DVDs, and sharing stories about her quest to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.  You can find Abby during MarinaFest in Marina del Rey’s G Basin and Pier 44 Slips at the corner of Admiralty Way and Bali Way.

Read more about The Bill of Rights in Marina del Rey Patch

Image courtesy of American Tall Ship.org

Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey is a ten minute drive from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) but, it feels like a world away. Travelers who have a 3+ hour layover at LAX can experience the So Cal lifestyle by taking in a waterside meal or walk. If you're into the boating lifestyle, Marina del Rey is terrific place to live or visit.

[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_marinadelreysunset.jpg]1220Marina del Rey Sunset
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_ritzcarltonmarinadelreychannel.jpg]430Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey
Bring your own room. The Ritz Carlton offers room service to boaters docked at the hotel's slips!
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_marinacityclubritzcarlton.jpg]11930Marina City Club
This condo highrise is a landmark in Marina del Rey.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_ritzcarltonapartmentbuilding.jpg]250Ritz Carlton
The Ritz Carlton on the left, and a modern highrise apartment building on the right.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_marinadelreykillershrimpview.jpg]220Marina del Rey
The view from the patio at Killer Shrimp.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_kayakermarinadelrey.jpg]200Kayaker on Marina del Rey
The calm waters of the Marina is an ideal spot for kayakers.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_mothersbeachmarinadelrey.jpg]280Mothers Beach
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_marinadelreyharborarielview.jpg]540Marina del Rey Harbor, ariel view
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_billofrightstallship.jpg]2370The Bill of Rights sails into Marina del Rey
The Bill of Rights, a 137 foot replica vintage sailing ship, sails into Marina del Rey, CA on Wednesday, May 16th. The public can tour the Bill of Rights on Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20, during MarinaFest 2012. Image courtesy of http://americantallship.org/

 

 

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So Cal Memorial Day Travel Destinations

American Flags at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CASome of us are so busy planning a Memorial Day weekend getaway that we’ve forgotten the real meaning of the holiday. Originally called “Decoration Day,” Memorial Day was created to honor the men and women who paid the ultimate price in service to the United States.

Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco are all popular holiday weekend destinations. But So Cal residents interested in paying tribute to our nation’s war heroes will not have to drive far to reach two of Hotwire’s Top 10 Destinations to spend Memorial Day.

The USS Midway Museum in San Diego

The USS Midway Museum in San Diego, a floating museum aboard one of America’s longest serving aircraft carriers, offers a day of fun for the entire family. There are a lot of events going on during Legacy Week, May 26-29, including a benefit concert headlined by Three Dog Night, to benefit veterans and the men and women in our armed forces.

Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in Long Beach, CA

Enjoy a day of fun in the sun strolling along this concrete pier named in honor of our nation’s veterans. You can also get to the pier via Long Beach Transit’s AquaLink water shuttle, which also stops at The Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific.

View the complete list of Hotwire’s Top 10 list of Memorial Day destinations.

California Highway 1 Oxnard, Malibu, Santa Monica

One of the most beautiful coastal drives in Southern California is Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway, between Oxnard and Santa Monica.  Most of this drive is through scenic Malibu, including the remote stretch at Point Mugu, on the Ventura County side of Malibu.  This is a fun way to spend an afternoon or day if you’re in the Los Angeles or Ventura area.  I did this drive recently, and here are some of the photos I took:

Malibu, CA

California's Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) between Oxnard and Santa Monica offer is one of the most beautiful drives in the USA. The New York Times calls this drive through Malibu one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the USA! Here are some photos I took along the way. Story to follow soon, in case you want to try this 30 mile coastline drive yourself. I highly recommend it!

[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupointdumenaturalpreserve.jpg]59500Point Dume Natural Preserve, Malibu
Point Dume offers a hiking trail down a hill to a beautiful secluded beach.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_pointdumemalibu.jpg]7420
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_pointmugunavalairstation.jpg]7610
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupointmugulookoutpoint.jpg]7490Point Mugu Lookout Point
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibucampingthornehillbroomebeach.jpg]6310Beachside Camping Malibu
How's this for a camping spot?!? Thornhill Broome Beach State Park is an ideal place to cool off in the summer. Bring your camper, motorhome or fifth wheel and you're all set!
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibucountrymart.jpg]5570Malibu Country Mart
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibucountrymartcourtyard.jpg]5060
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibustarbucksralphshoppingcenter.jpg]5120
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_santamonicabaygettyvilla.jpg]5530Getty Villa, Santa Monica Bay
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupointdumenaturalpreserve_0.jpg]4800
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupchdriveroadsign_traffic411.jpg]4930California's Finest Drive: Route 1 Santa Monica, Malibu, Oxnard
This stretch of California coastline is among the most beautiful in the state. Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) is also a great alternative to the 101 freeway when traveling between Ventura County and Los Angeles.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupchwindyroad.jpg]4080

The New York Times calls this drive through Malibu one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the USA!    Story to follow soon, in case you want to try this 30 mile coastline drive yourself.  I highly recommend it!

Also read: Malibu Drive: PCH Oxnard-Santa Monica

 

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