Mystery Spot, Pacific Coast Highway to Solvang

Day Four
The plan was to leave early to spend the entire day driving to reach Los Angeles area, but we got a late start. And leaving Sunnyvale and Santa Clara area became difficult when we passed Bhavika's Vegeterian Food and other such Indian snack places on El Camino Real. We stepped out of the hotel at 10:30, but after shopping for kachoris and murukku and ratlaami sev and samosas from Bhavika's, we finally left the Bay Area around 11:45 am.

We took highway 17 to towards Santa Cruz. Vikram had recommended that we check out the Mystery Spot near Scott's valley, so we stopped by. This is a 150 sq ft area in the deepest of the woods where objects defy gravity. You are bewildered when you see your self standing upright and yet leaning a good 20 degrees in front of yourself when you are in the middle of the mystery spot. Scientific minds keep questioning the presentation of this popular tourist attraction, and even the tour guide admitted that there an element of optical illusion added to enhance the natuarally occurring geomagnetic anomaly there. It seems true, when you are standing there, it just feels weird, and the crooked house through which they pass you, makes you really think that the gravitational and magnetic forces there are out of whack. Of course, I took it as more of an entertainment but Manjiri had already seen such a mystery spot somewhere in Wisconsin earlier and could not stop questioning. We left there discussing the mysteries of the mystery spot.

As soon as we got back to highway 17, it started raining, and this rain was there with us on and off through the day. We then reached the Pacific Coast Highway, California's famous Highway 1, which goas along the coast all the way to San Diego. We didn't really stop by all the vista points because it was raining and also because until we got past Monterey, it wasn't all that spectacular. but boy oh boy, as we approached Big Sur, the views changed dramatically. We now started seeing huge mountains jutting against the Pacific Ocean and the road barely staying on the mountain side. The Curves had to be manouvered carefully and luckily there were many official and some unofficial turnouts where we could just park for a while and enjoy the scenes. It was a treat for the eyes and the video/photo digital cameras. We thought of actually hiking down to the actual shore, but the hike was quite steep and in many places, the road level was a good 1000 feet above the level of the ocean, so we skipped that and continued along driving. Just before Big Sur, we stopped by at Rocky Point restaurant and had our lunch. Salad and Soup. But the viewes were spectacular. And just about then, we started seeing some clouds come in which added to the scenery. We watched the waves crash against the rocks creating surfs that retreated to be engulfed by the next larger wave crashing towards the shore. We drove and drove along the coast hugging the mountain edges on our left and the ocean on our right. Many areas of the road had signs of recent landslides, and huge boulders had fallen near the road. We were grateful that none happened while we were there.

The drive along the coast was pleasant until the started raining hard. Actually we were kind of lucky that we got to see the squall of the rain approaching the coast from way in the diatance while we were filling up the gas in San Simeon ($21 for only 5 gallons - Full serve). We left in a hurry to avoid the rains, but one of the squalls eventually did catch us. We stopped for the day at Salvang, CA which seems like a very cute Denish (of Denmark) township. We ate at A Bit of Denmark and got to enjoy some Danish cuisine. It was nice. Then we retired at Quality Inn in Buellton, CA. Salvang and Buellton are also picturusque towns very close to Highway 101, secluded in the mountains.

Today we are leaving at about 10:30 as well. Hope to finish th PCH and reach san Diego by the end of the day.