Day 5 | Leaving Pismo Beach and arriving San Francisco

The morning started clear in Pismo Beach and again the kids were a little shattered from the drive the day before fom LA. It felt cold but seemed like it wanted to be a fine day. When it comes to weather it is pretty hard to get the clues as to what it is going to do next. On a fruitless trip in LA on Day 3 we had noticed some grey skies and wondered if it indicated rain – we stopped this guy and asked if he thought it would rain – he looked at us as if we were completely mad, but said it was unlikely going to rain – within 10 minutes it had started to rain!!!Before we checked out of Pismo Beach we checked out their free breakfast – unfortunately we had been spoilt by our last accommodation and so this one just didn’t measure up. 

Up the road was a place we had spied the night before that was only open for breakfasts and lunch that seemed rather intriguing. The place was called Huckleberry’s and was themed on the Mark Twain character, but with our background all the galv buckets and corrugated iron roofing seemed equally Alice Springs as Mississippi. The menu was promising and after establishing we didn’t know our ‘sunny-side’ up from our ‘over-easy’ we successfully got massive breakfasts, endless coffee (yay-Angus) and some half-inch thick pancakes (flapjacks, apparently). Delicious, un-completable (it’s an American food term I’m working on, still desirable when you are full but physically impossible to consume). French toast, crispy bacon, and buckets of maple syrup and freshly squeezed OJ, etc it was so Nom Nom Nom we could barely move on exit.Conveniently it was directly across the road from the outlet mall at Pismo. We spent a couple of hours there. Rosie went in every shop and found alot of bargain – for everyone. One thing we have noticed is how orientated on customer service they are – they greet you when you walk in, make sure you have everything you need while shopping and then make you feel like your leaving friends when you leave, like they really are sad your going. While Angus was in the Levi shop the young guy on the fitting room was personally waiting on Angus, he introduced himself asked your name and then began bringing him ranges of things to try on, he asked a few pertinent questions and came up with some great options. Told us how to get better discounts etc – we loved that shop. Two pairs of Levis for Angus, one for O’Regan and a pair of work pants for $100 – now that’s a bargain.In one of the ladies dress shops Rosie was asked by the assistant what the hottest temp was in Australia??? (She really meant in Brisbane) They didn’t believe it was often 40 ish (or 105 in their measure), she wanted a round of crikey etc and wanted all the typical 'Aussie' sayings, it was very amusing for all the customers watching. 

We left about 3pm and travelled for about 30 mintues and the kids were hungry so we stopped at ‘Taco Bell’ this was a first for us. It was pleasantly not too bad. 
Finally on our way up the famous Highway 1, Pismo to Cambria to Big Sur. This is the road that has a seal infested beach (planning to visit it) and Hearst Castle on it and some of the most famous coastal views in the world. On the first way-point there was a sign that there was a road closure due to a slip and we had to take the inland 101 (Angus feels this is another Matterhorn moment), which isn’t quite as pretty but gives you a hell of a taste of why Californian agriculture is so big. No seals, castles and no Hearst. Never mind. Mile after mile (that’s km after km for us) of vineyards, strawberries, broccoli, lettuce and all sorts of unidentifiable things can be seen. Different altitudes had different crops and the road rose over 1500 feet. A few oil wells too just to remind you you’re not in NZ or Australia.It was a long trip to San Francisco and it grew dark at San Jose, soon showers started. We followed the wrong address in the GPS to Russian Hill (scary, R-rated central San Fran) rather than across the bay at the Hilton Gardens. The highways, freeways, tollways and expressways in San Fran are even more serpentine than LA but we finally made it. It was a scary stressful drive in the dark, in the rain and at the end of a long day (and in desperate need of a bathroom break).We arrived at Hilton Gardens just after 8.00 pm, very nice hotel, about 12 stories and we are on the third floor so no real views but its okay. The beds are small but comfy.We have used the gym and the laundry tonight, ordered in room service and its off to bed for a fun filled day tomorrow.Highlights of the day:O’Regan and McKay– Huckleberries breakfast sandwich
Angus – almost completing Highway 1, damn those unseasonal slips and the dude in the Levis store. 
Rosie – duh shopping of course, and the massive breakfast and freshly squeezed OJ.

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