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Friday, 3 January 2014

Holiday Report US West Coast: Part 4 - Highway 1

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Bindi and I have been able to see lots of places that we could never have afforded to, if it were not for using points, or at least defraying the cost by searching out bargain fares on flights or hotels.  

We've been spending some time in Panama of late.  So we started our trip from there. 

In September we converted Delta 35,000 points each, to travel up to visit my family in Ohio, and then from there to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary by driving and touring the US West Coast.  

Delta allows you to have a stopover at 1 location, and then another flight to an entirely different destination, when redeeming award tickets.  Effectively, you're getting 2 trips, for the price of 1 redemption. 

So we flew from Panama to Ohio, then later to California, and finally back to Panama at the end.  All for 35,000 points. 

We had decided to visit Las Vegas, the Napa Valley, and drive south along Highway 1, since these are places we've always wanted to see.

Holiday Report US West Coast: Index
Driving Highway 1
Firstly, it's definitely not overrated.  We started out early and ended Day 1 in San Luis Obispo.  But along the way we could not stop taking photos.  The beautiful vistas, sloping mountains, jagged cliffs, and lots of wildlife, were spectacular.  

As usual, we find ourselves saying, "if there were only more time".   But, we were just glad we did have time, and were here!  Lots of folks never get to see these places, so we don't want to sound ungrateful.  I wish lots more folks knew that when you redeem a US airline reward ticket, you can get 2 stops and not just 1.  Then no doubt many more would tack on another destination like we did and see more places with their limited money and time.

There were too many places to see, we finally had to just keep moving, or else we would have to stay overnight on the road and never get to our hotel in San Luis Obispo. 

The View from Cafe Kevah
Along the road you should stop at Cafe Kevah, for incredible views of Big Sur. Prices are reasonable for such a remote cafe, a coffee costs ~$5.  There is also a much nicer full restaurant next door, but much pricier.  We had brought along food to eat during the trip in the car, so didn't feel the need to splurge ~$30-$40 and wait in a long line!  But if you want an incredible view and experience stop at the cafe or restaurant just upstairs.

We arrived late that night in the Los Angeles area. Again we stayed at another free night that we found with IHG, saving us ~$130. 

The next morning we were off to the airport to catch our flight to Atlanta, connecting to Panama City.  

As we traveled home we couldn't help but think of our incredible trip to the West Coast, and what better way to celebrate 15 years of marriage than to see a place we'd always dreamed of, thanks to points and ultra-cheap travel tricks!

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