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California dreaming EMMA WILKINSON from Hednesford-based Timeless Travel takes us on her road trip through California THERE is no describing the sheer exhilaration of driving down California’s stunning Highway 1 in a Mustang with the wind in your hair, the sun on your face and some fantastic tunes for company. Start your journey in stunning San Francisco with the iconic and gloriously copper coloured Golden Gate Bridge framing the beautiful bay. Choose to base yourself in bustling Union Square where you are close to the famous cable cars that glide effortlessly around the hilly streets to upmarket Nob Hill with fantastic vistas. An alternative is Fishermans Wharf, right on the bay which gazes out to infamous Alcatraz Island (the prison on the rock) which is a must for any visitor. For wine lovers and foodies a trip to the sweeping valleys of Napa and Sonoma is a must. Take a tour of the vineyards which offer up the most sumptuous fresh produce and delicious wines. Collect your car from downtown San Francisco and descend Highway 1 which hugs the Pacific coast and its craggy cliffs dotted with friendly Californian towns and villages. You may wish to detour inland where your reward is the jaw dropping landscapes of Yosemite National Park. Truly breathtaking and a world away from tinsel town this natural beauty will bring a tear to your eye Waterfalls plunge from soaring cliffs that often create the most vibrant rainbows. Yosemite will stay with you long after you have left it.

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Enjoy a few nights watching the Californian sunsets from the pretty towns of Monterey and Carmel by the Sea. Stroll through the streets of Cannery Row – the setting for John Steinbeck’s novel and a poignant reminder of the humble roots that California has. A world famous Aquarium and an amazing choice of restaurants bursting with succulent seafood will make you wish to linger but your next leg of the drive is arguably the best. The Big Sur or 17 mile drive as it is known is a superb drive. Not for the faint hearted the descent will navigate a series of hairpin bends and hills that follow a craggy coastline of cliffs and rocky outcrops. For your bravery expect sweeping seascapes of the Pacific Ocean and memories that will last a lifetime. Stop often to appreciate this road trip and do not forget your camera. Break your journey in the Spanish influenced town of Santa Barbara. Red roofs and missions give way to the Santa Ynez Valley offering a landscape of grooved vineyards dotted with restaurants and wineries. This is the heart of the Californian Riviera and the southern Californian sunshine beats down on miles and miles of glorious sandy beaches. L.A has sprawling suburbs and streets that feel strangely surreal and familiar. Families may plump for Anaheim where affordability and easy access to Disneyland and the

gorgeous beaches of Orange County are perfect. Sophistication and the home of the modern day film star sums up Santa Monica. The iconic carousel adorns the pier that is home to a maze of restaurants and attractions from a trapeze school to an Aquarium. Visit Hollywood marked by its unmistakable sign located in the hills. To quote the closing lines from a famous film based here….”Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream?” This is Los Angeles, land of dreams for many. Early settlers flocked here from the East coast to look for the gold at the end of the rainbow. Next month we will feature one of the most iconic road trips in the world that ends on Santa Monica pier with a modest sign marking the spot. The Mother Road - Route 66. Cost from £1195 per person including flights, accommodation and car hire based on two sharing.

Call 0844 809 4299 and www.timelesstravel.co.uk August 2012 | 109


California