March 14th, 2022
Today’s plan was simple, just pack up and head to our new hotel in Orange County. This was a simple cruise down the 101 and the I-5 and should take no more than 40 mins. However, we are not very good at simple so we were taking the Scenic Route!
First, we were to head up into the Sierra Nevada Mountains past the celebrity haunts of Calababasa and then down through the canyon roads of the mountains. Then pick up the Pacific Coast Highway, our favorite rad in the world, grab lunch and explore malibu before making our way south to our last hotel stop of the trip. 3 hours of driving and 140 miles of scenic California!
Sierra Nevada Mountains – Calabasas
We could have picked up Mulholland right away and followed the route we did yesterday, but as we did that yesterday we took an alternate route. This was less scenic and just got us going on today’s journey, we left the interstates at Woodland Hill and headed up towards Topanga Canyon. We took a quick stop at the Top Of Topanga Overlook with great views over the San Fernando Valley then picked the Mulholland Highway up again.
We headed on towards Calabasas in the hope of some Celebrity Spotting. All of the Celebrity Homes Tours we have done non come out here as it’s too far from L.A, but this is the real Celebrity Homes location with many of the biggest stars living out here.
But another reason the tours don’t come out here, and why the Celebs do, is everywhere is Gated. They come here for privacy, all of the communities are sealed off and there is very little access anywhere. So we just rolled through really taking a look at the area and enjoying the fantastic weather and beautiful locale.
There is always the chance of spotting a Celeb gig about their day, and every Mercedes with blacked-out windows is a possible “spot” but we didn’t spot anything really of note on this day.
After a while cruising along Mullholand in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Hils we took a left, towards the Ocean! There are several routes down through the mountain valleys and we try and take a different one each time we are in the area. Today we headed down Latigo Canyon Road.
The road is really narrow and winding as it meanders down through Latigo canyon. The skies were clear and eagles soared overhead as we made our way out of the mountain range to the coast. A really wonderful drive and a real highlight of the area!
Now on the Pacific Coast Highway, we headed north, the exact opposite direction from where we were headed. This was for two reasons. One to just get to drive up the PCH for a bit and two, to visit one of our favorite little stops along the road, Neptunes Net.
From a gastronomic point of view, Neptune’s net is ok. It’s mainly just fried seafood and fries served in paper baskets. It’s hot fresh and decent but it’s not exactly a Gourmet Sensation, but the thrill here is a combination f the Locations and the History.
Location right n the highway, overlooking the Sand Dunes and the Pacific Ocean, Neptunes Net is the quintessential Roadside dining stop, and as such has attracted Hollywood Location Scouts like nectar over the years. This modest little roadside eatery has featured in many iconic Hollywood Films. It first caught my attention in the Fast And The Furious, one of my all-time favorite films growing up. This is where Dom and Brian, head after finishing the Supra, raving a Ferrari and sharing some shrimp overlooking the ocean.
It is also used in the 90’s action thriller Point Break, Losin’ it with Tom Cruise, and Iron Man 3. It also appears in TV Shows such as The Hills, which makes Kate very happy, and Gossip Girl. It was even replicated Digitally in Grand Theft Auto 5!
It is also just a really nice place to be, we sat oceanside, eating Shrimp, with the Cali sun shining down on us, and were just utterly content.
Malibu – Point Dume
After lunch, we planned to head to Malibu and have a nosey around. But first, we stopped off at the Point Dume Natural Reserve. Parking here is extremely limited but free. There is a one-way system into the parking lot and you just need to pull in and wait for someone to return and then have their space. It took us around 20mins to grab a spot, although it’s amazing how many people had forgotten their water bottle or something and looked like they were coming back to their cars just to walk off again!
The Reserve offers a number f trials that head out around the stunning natural headland and offer mind-blowing views over the Pacific Coastline. From the end, we could look down on a colony of sea lions. These were happily sunning themselves until a couple of tourists decided they needed to be on the beach disturbing the Sealinons sending them scattering for the ocean. It’s not hard to observe wildlife from a distance!
As we walked along the Bluff, we kept noticing disturbances out on the water. We are traditionally pretty lucky when whale watching, (Here, here, here) but it really wasn’t on the cards today, and tbh we just thought our eyes were playing tricks. I didn’t even have the long lens with me. But the more we watched the more certain we were that the puffs and splashes were indeed whale activity!
We reached a lookout point and there was a local with binoculars who confirmed we were witnessing the Annual Grey Whale Migration and a couple of pods were transecting the headland right now. He pointed out a couple of whales and one was right under the headland, I was fuming I had left the Long Lens in the car, but instead we just enjoyed the unplanned spectacle as these massive creatures gently glide up the coast towards their summer feeding grounds.
We really stayed a lot longer than we wanted to and as we got back to the car and plugged in the journey times L.A’s traffic had a nasty surprise for us again. Our 1-hour journey was going to take well over 2 hours! We realized this was largely due to roadworks along the PCH, but also several hold-ups and accidents on the freeways beyond! Eugh.
Pacific Coast Highway
Unfortunately, this meant we had to abandon our plans in Malibu, where we had hoped to jump on a Celebrity homes tour on the Go Los Angeles Pass or visit some of the attractions in Santa Monica. Instead, we just decided to hit the road and plug our way down to our hotel.
The first section of the drive was very pleasant, cruising down the PCH, Sun blazing listening to our road trip playlist, but then just outside Malibu, we hit the first Snarl-up! This took over 30 mins to crawl about 1 mile before it freed back up again and we continued into Santa Monica.
Here Google decided the best plan was to come off the freeway again and trawl around the residential districts again! This was painfully slow as we hit endless traffic and a million stop signs! We really were right off the beaten track and driving down the smallest of residential streets with kids playing on the sidewalks!
Eventually, Google put us back on the freeway and we started cutting into the estated time by using the HOV Lanes. If you don’t know these are for 2 or occupants and can easily zip you past a large amount of traffic.
Almost two and a half hours after leaving Malibu we arrived at our last Hotel. We had three nights here and really it is nothing more than a place to lay our heads. The Kings Inn is a fairly decent Motel, the rooms are fairly large and clean and there are two large beds, which is always handy for us to arrange Luggage on! But it’s not what you would consider Luxurious. But it was super cheap and right next door to the Cheesecake Factory!
Another visit to our guilty pleasure and we managed to bypass a 50min wait by dining at the bar. We just grabbed some chicken wings and nachos and finished up with some Cheesecake. A very welcome meal after a LONG slog of a drive.
And that was it, we had an amazing trip, VEgas, Hawaii, and some great times in L.A. We had dined like kings and locals, we had seen and done everything we wanted to do and have dreamed about for the long hard pandemic shutdowns but the trip was all but over.
We just have a few days to relax and recover before our trip back home.
Have we forgotten something?
Oh yes, one of the main aims of this trip was to get back to the happiest place on Earth. So much has changed since our last visit and we have SO much to update on the Blog. In reality, we have not even been to Galaxies Edge yet due to a convoluted set of circumstances. So it’s vital we get back and really smash the heck out of Disneyland!
We have 2-Day park hoppers and plan to hit just about every ride in the park! It’s going to be a mammoth effort! But for tonight we just take a stroll around Downtown Disney, mainly to hit the Giant World of Disney Store, and just get in the mood for tomorrow.
We also nipped into the Disneyland Hotel, we really wanted to stay in a Disney property this trip but prices were really high and with all the perks removed we just stayed nearby and super cheap. We really would be spending the whole time in the parks!
We headed over to Trader Sams while we were looking around and grabbed some cocktails. There was a 50min wait for seats in the Tiki Room but outside terrace seats were walk-up so we happily sat by the pool and enjoyed our drinks.
The Calm before the storm as tomorrow we would be going hard and early! The alarm is set for 5 am!