Roger and Jane embarked on a four-week adventure along the West Coast of America. Their goal: to see the sights and enjoy the California sunshine - here at Abbotts Travel, that’s something we can take care of!
Starting in San Francisco the duo drove through Yosemite, Carmel, along the Big Sur to Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego, before flying to Las Vegas. Roger took his Triride electric bike, which attaches to his day-to-day wheelchair, and is designed for forest trails, countryside roads and hard-to-access areas. The pair were ready for adventure, here’s how it went…
“Arriving in San Francisco, we stayed at the Argonaut Hotel for four nights, superbly located on Jefferson Street. We used the hotel's bike vouchers and rode to the Golden Gate Bridge via the 1.7 mile route along the Bay.
We continued to the picturesque waterfront town of Sausalito. The Bridgeway Promenade is an array of colourful houses and restaurants, with the very popular Bar Bocce's overlooking the bay.
We took the Alcatraz audio tour, prearranged in the UK for $70, which is extremely interesting and disabled friendly. I was pre-boarded and sat outside the ferry across the chilly waters to the island, where an easy-access vehicle was waiting. It was fascinating to see where some of America's most dangerous felons, including Al 'Scarface' Capone and 'the Birdman of Alcatraz' were incarcerated between 1934-63.
Upon our return, we boarded the Streetcar – the iconic Cable Cars are not wheelchair accessible - to Union Square, a famous shopping destination with historical buildings.
We made a trip to Lombard Street – most people go by cable car but we walked – my Triride struggled with the steep hills, but it's not to be missed. The 'crookedest street in the world' has innumerable colourful hydrangeas and at the summit we took in the spectacular views of the Bay.
The evening was spent eating the traditional clam chowder in sourdough bread at the nearby Boudin Restaurant, where you can watch the bakers at work.
We picked up the car in San Francisco; Abbotts Travel had arranged Full Gold car insurance which meant we had no concerns.
After a four-hour drive we arrived at Tenaya Lodge, Yosemite. We spent three nights in an excellent fully-adapted Premium Room. This modern luxury resort nestled in the Sierra National Forest boasts numerous indoor and outdoor drinking and dining, swimming pools (with hoists) and spa options.
Located a short drive to the Yosemite National Park, where it costs $30 for a 7-day disabled pass. We stopped at Tunnel View before heading to Mirror Lake, where we were allowed to park next to the pool and walk the scenic route.
Back in the car we continued to Yosemite Falls; disabled parking meant it was a manageable walk along the trails for a close up view of the Park's highest waterfall. For stunning, panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and its principal points of interest, Glacier Point offers it all.
We spent the next day driving 15 miles to Bass Lake, visiting Pines Village before driving both sides of the picturesque tree lined reservoir to Wishon Point.
The following snowy morning, on our journey to Carmel, we made a pitstop at Monterey and explored the old Fisherman’s Wharf. With its abundance of fresh fish restaurants and stunning, picturesque views on the Monterey Peninsula through Pebble Beach, it’s not to be missed!
Our next home for two nights was Carmel’s Mission Inn. After a short exploration around the lovely streets of Carmel-by-the-Sea, known for hand-crafted cottages, we headed to the spectacular white-sand beach. Whilst I rode the unforgettable mile-long Scenic Road shoreline trail, I watched Jane on my right skipping along the breathtaking beach.
The next adventure was driving down the Big Sur, a rugged stretch of California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon.
The sparsely populated region has numerous state parks for hiking, camping and beach-combing.
Landslides, caused by unusually harsh winter storms resulted in a collapsed bridge and Highway 1 being temporarily closed after 26 miles, nevertheless we saw some beautiful scenery before turning back to Carmel and taking the H101 to Salinas, Paso Robles.
After spending a night in Obispo, a last minute decision led us to Santa Barbara, stopping briefly at a couple of beaches en route.
We stayed at the Best Western Beachside Inn, with an adapted standard room that overlooked the marina. Ideally located between Stearns Wharf Pier and the Harbour, we spent our time enjoying fresh seafood and steaks.
Jane hired a bike - $20 for 2 hours - and we cycled along the beach paths with wonderful views of the ocean.
State Street, the main shopping area in Santa Barbara, boasts cafes, restaurants, arcades, art galleries, wineries and boutique shops in abundance. We soaked up the atmosphere and visited several wineries in the Funk Zone - an area recently transformed from rundown warehouses with more than 20 tasting rooms and bars.
Santa Barbara was definitely our favourite stopover!”
Keep your eyes peeled for part two of Roger and Jane’s West Coast adventure.