As he entered the car, a juicy thrill of fear-tinged excitement coursed through him. They took off for the main road with a rifle-toting soldier perched on the hood. A messenger galloped ahead on horseback to alert friendly soldiers to clear the route and repair a partially destroyed bridge that served as a barricade against Serb forces. “We have confidence in your generosity,” Eric concludes, “and we thank you in advance.” purchase nexium online

Pacific Coast

The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.

Pacific Coast Highway Beaches

Running right along the beach, the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy-1) heads south from Oxnard around the rocky headland of Point Mugu (pronounced “ma-GOO”), where the U.S. Navy operates a missile testing center and the Santa Monica Mountains rise steeply out of the Pacific Ocean. Most of these chaparral-covered granite mountains have been protected as parkland, with hiking, cycling, and riding trails offering grand views and a surprising amount of solitude. Before or after a hike in the hills (or a Harley ride along the coast, the preferred mode of arrival), the ramshackle Neptune’s Net restaurant (42505 Pacific Coast Hwy., 310/457-3095) is a great place to hang out and “star”-gaze while enjoying fresh seafood, served up on paper plates for that down-home Hollywood feel.

Silhouetted by the sun reflecting off the waves, a young boy runs on the sand of Leo Carillo State Beach.

Leo Carillo State Beach. Photo © michael, licensed Creative Commons No-Derivatives.

South from here, state-owned beaches mark your progress along the coastal road, but this stretch is basically natural wilderness—apart from the highway, of course. Biggest and best of the beaches hereabouts is the lovely Leo Carrillo State Park (310/457-8143), which has a sandy strand, some great tide pools, and a sycamore-shaded campground (reservations 800/444-7275). Leo Carrillo (1880-1961) was an actor (he played Pancho in The Cisco Kid TV show) and preservationist who was instrumental in expanding the California state parks.

South of Leo Carrillo, which marks the Los Angeles County line, there are many more public beach areas, including (in roughly north-to-south order) Nicholas Canyon County Beach, El Pescador State Beach, and El Matador State Beach (where episodes of TV’s Baywatch have been filmed). At big, brash Zuma Beach County Park, where volleyball courts and snack bars line the sands, the PCH bends inland around the headlands of Point Dume State Beach, a great spot for winter whale-watching.

Printable Travel Map of the Pacific Coast Highway

Travel map of the Pacific Coast Highway in California.

Pacific Coast Highway travel map from Full-sized map available for download (2mb).

Point Mugu
Neptune’s Net (42505 Pacific Coast Hwy.)
Leo Carrillo State Park
Nicholas Canyon County Beach
El Pescador State Beach
El Matador State Beach
Zuma Beach County Park
Point Dume State Beach
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