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driving from san francisco to palm springs

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Hello everyone,
Please help. We are driving from San Francisco to Palm Springs over the new year. staying 1 night in Big Sur and I night in Solvang on the way to Palm Springs. We plan to drive highway 101/rt 1 until solvang. Also any help in PS would be great as friends are not into food. Trying to avoid usual chains, etc. Looking for recommendations for inexpensive breakfast, lunch, and dinner spots along the way. Are there any food highlights and/or must eats along the way? Detours are welcome and All help is appreciated. Thank you.

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  1. There is NO easy way to Palm Springs from Solvang other than continuing south on 101 to 126 through the Santa Paula Valley, catching 5 to 10, and heading east through to San Bernardino area to PS. It's not scenic, somtimes choking traffic in LA, but much more chow choice and FASTER, much faster than the only other alternative...

    ...which is a round-about circuit on a network of sometimes sketchily-maintained two-lane highways though some of the most geographically isolated and chow-challenged areas of California. Depending on how patient, flexible, and adventurous you are (picnics), it can be a scenic trip or a soul-stunting bore. Let me know if that sounds like your cup of tea and I'll give details. Or follow along highways 166-99-233-58-15-10 on a Google map.

    While the long way is more scenic, the route along 101 south through Santa Paula is very pretty, and you head south on 5 for a few miles, then catch 10 and head east thorugh the Armenian food capitol of the US in Glendale, with other chow-laced areas covered on the LA board, or on the California board referenced as "The Inland Empire". It's about 2-3 solid hours from Glendale to PSprings., depending on holiday traffic, with chow all the way. You may even get snow on the S. Bernardino Mtn crest to gawk at.

    For a chow break after coming out of the south end of Big Sur, stop at Cambria for a leg-stretching stroll though the EAST village where you will find Boni's Tacos, Robin's (great takeout or eat-in) baked goodies at The French Corner Bakery, and pie or Olallieberry Cream Cake at Linn's Fruit Binn, all near main and Burton. 15 minutes south in Morro Bay, stop at Blue Moon Coffee for great Illy espresso (N. Main near Spencer's Market) or go down to the Embarcadero for fish and chips or a good burger at Lil Hut or Tognazinni's #2 near the Coast Guard pier at the north end near the Rock.

    In SLO chow abounds. Big Sky, Linea's coffee house, Natural Cafe are all downtown near Broad and Higuera. Lots of brew pubs there too. Farther south in Avila Beach is Jo Mama coffee bar in the cute village of Avila Beach. 10 minutes south (Grande Ave exit, head east) in Arroyo Grande, Doc Bernstein's serves the best super-premium ice cream treats around. McClintock's in AG village is great for bfast or lunch (tri-tip) and the Mexican markets in Santa Maria all have delis with great tacos, tortas, etc.

    Solvang: breakfast at Pattibakes in Buellton near 101.

    2 Replies
    1. re: toodie jane

      thank you so much for all your recommendations. we plan to take the scenic route until solvang and then head to PS. any additional route recs would be terrific. we are very open to suggestions. and again thank you so so much.

      1. re: als2554

        Since the entire focus of this site is chow, discussions about general routes, lodging and non-chow tourist activities are not allowed. But as far as routes are germain to finding chow, any discussion of them should be limited to chow found along them.

        Chow discussions along Highway 1 from south of Half Moon Bay to Ventura on the California board, then Ventura south to the outskirts of the desert area on the LA board.

        So tips on Big Sur, San Luis Obispo county, Santa Barbara and Solvang (which is often covered in posts about the Santa Ynez Valley wine country, where it is located) will be found on the California board. If you're anxious to get started, just enter the names of likey towns along the way here you might be stopping or visiting, and you'll get scads of tips already posted. Some might be out of date, so you can ask for updates or clarifications once you find something that sounds interesting.

        That's a huge area that you'll be covering, so you may get more responses if you make more specific inquiries.

        Good luck and let us have some feedback on your findings! Sometimes specific dates becomes crucial in chow travels, so post those if you know them.