If I actually have to explain that the PCH stands for Pacific Coast Highway, you may not be cool enough for this trip.  Either that or you are a hopeless East Coaster!  Growing up in L.A. certainly colors my perceptions, but at least I am not going to go into a bunch of surfer terms which is a whole ‘nother sub-culture.

Alaska has a net city pair, BWI-LAX, that is great for a mileage run since they leave BWI early in the morning, arrives at 1040 at LAX and then the return leaves at 2210 to arrive back at BWI at 0610 – just in time to go to work!  While we could have had a mere twelve hours in L.A., my wife elected to make it 36 hours.  So we left early Saturday morning, enjoyed a weekend in L.S. and then got back in time for work on Monday.

Driving along the PCH is a great trip if you are on a mileage run to L.A.  It literally goes through LAX (under the runway) and you can choose to go north through Santa Monica and Malibu all the way up to Ventura County or go south the way we chose.  We chose to drive south through El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, around the ports of L.A. and Long Beach, then on to Seal Beach and Huntington Beach in Orange County.  I’m just going to go through the first half going through L.A. County this post and save the rest for tomorrow.

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The PCH is technically known as California Highway 1 and that is helpful to know when starting out as it is actually called Sepulveda Blvd. in the LAX area.  Starting from Century Blvd. it is easy to find Sepulveda and head south.  Not much to see in El Segundo (named as such for being the location of Chevron’s second California refinery), although it is improving.  The first stop on your tour should be Manhattan Beach.  I had some of my college friends settle down in this great beachside community as it was close to all the aerospace contractors near LAX.  Definitely worth taking the time to park and walk down to the pier.  Very ritzy neighborhood these days, but still has a lot of nice outdoor bars and restaurants as you walk down the slope to the pier.

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Continuing down the PCH, you’ll pass quickly through Hermosa Beach and reach Redondo Beach.  This is my personal favorite of the beach towns.  They built a new pier/ tourist area since I last visited that is very nice.  It reminds me of a less crowded Pier 39 (San Francisco).  Lots of seafood to eat, but we settled for just having some wonderful gelato.  Redondo is celebrating 100 years since it was founded.

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The nearby park was built back in the ’30s and still has that kind of charm.  A wonderful place to mellow out and enjoy the great view.  The guys fishing off the pier reminded me of my Dad taking us fishing off the Santa Monica and Malibu piers when we were kids.  Can’t say I ever had a bad day at the beach…

More tomorrow on the rest of our trip!

 

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