What we call PCH is actually, State Route 1 (SR 1) also known in sections as Highway 1, Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), Cabrillo Highway, Shoreline Highway, or Coast Highway. It is a group of various roads along the California coast line that runs south and north and has been renamed SR 1. In various sections the locals still refer to it as it was known most commonly. Thus the many names for this particular road.
For those in a hurry, The Pacific Coast Highway is not the route to take. Especially on weekends, the speed limit can average little more than 25 miles an hour driving through the charming little towns. Also, it can become confusing when the name of PCH changes when the road itself jogges off onto another coastal road.
Some areas of PCH are not as charming as others. By virtue of the jagged coast line or sogginess of the land closer to the Pacific Ocean, the road can move more inland and even the sight of the coast can be lost in many areas.
So, if your plan is to travel a long distance in the shortest time possible, this road is not a good choice.
However, there are notable sections that should not be missed and sections that pass through charming and artistic towns or California beach communities or simply the spectacular views makes this a wonderful way to experience the coast line of California if you have plenty of time for your travels.
Before taking a long drive on PCH check the website link below this tip for road conditions at the time.
Just a reminder when visiting California, Ex-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed legislation that prohibits the use of handheld mobile phones while driving in the state. Believe me the law inforcement does watch for people using their cellphones while driving.
Effective July 1, 2008, the legislation prohibits drivers from using a wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle unless the driver uses a hands-free device. Drivers who violate the law will face a base fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. It says only $20, yet do not be surprised if you incur extra fees tacked onto that.
The law allows drivers to use a wireless telephone for emergency purposes, drivers of commercial vehicles to use push-to-talk phones until July 1, 2011, and allow drivers of emergency response vehicles to use a cell phone without a hands-free device.
California joins Connecticut, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, and some local jurisdictions in prohibiting the use of handheld mobile phones while driving.
NEW "MOVE OVER" LAW WILL INCREASE SAFETY FOR CALTRANS HIGHWAY WORKERS
Sacramento –Caltrans wants the public to know about a new law signed by the governor that requires motorists to move over or slow down when they see a Caltrans vehicle flashing warning lights.
The new law, Senate Bill 240 (State Senator Roderick Wright), adds Caltrans vehicles displaying flashing amber warning lights to the list of vehicles for which motorists must slow down and, if safe, move over to a lane not immediately adjacent to the stationary vehicle.
“This protects the safety of our workers,” said Caltrans Director Randy Iwasaki. “Highway workers face the same dangers from fast moving traffic as emergency personnel and tow-truck operators. We appreciate the leadership and recognition of the legislature and governor for the need to provide a safer working environment for our employees.”
Since 1924, 174 Caltrans workers have lost their lives in the line of duty. On July 23, 2009, Caltrans worker Don Lichliter was struck and fatally injured by a passing truck on Highway 99 in Lodi. He was with another worker applying a fertilizer treatment to keep eucalyptus trees healthy. Their truck was parked on the shoulder.
To date, 45 other states have enacted similar laws requiring motorists to move over or slow down. Violation of the new provision is punishable by a fine of not more than $50. The new law also makes the safety protections permanent by removing the sunset date (January 1, 2010) from existing law.
This law basically says, if its raining or your using your wipers, you better have on your headlights "ON".
A motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, shall be:
(1) Equipped with at least two headlamps, with at least one on each side of the front of the vehicle, and, except as to vehicles registered prior to January 1, 1930, they shall be located directly above or in advance of the front axle of the vehicle. The headlamps and every light source in any headlamp unit shall be located at a height of not more than 54 inches nor less than 22 inches.
(2) Operated during darkness, or inclement weather, or both, with at least two lighted headlamps that comply with paragraph (1).
(b) As used in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), “inclement weather” is a weather condition that is either of the following:
(1) A condition that prevents a driver of a motor vehicle from clearly discerning a person or another motor vehicle on the highway from a distance of 1,000 feet.
(2) A condition requiring the windshield wipers to be in continuous use due to rain, mist, snow, fog, or other precipitation or atmospheric moisture.
Added Sec. 2, Ch. 415, Stats. 2004. Effectve January 1, 2005. Operative July 1, 2005.
Amended Sec. 9, Ch. 311, Stats. 2006. Effective January 1, 2007.
I have little or no use for house cats but I have a deep fascination with, and appreciation for, big cats so it has been encouraging to read about their resurgence in the Americas, from the Yukon to the Southern Andes, in recent decades. A recent report which I read regarding the danger to humans from mountain lions (AKA cougars, pumas, wildcats, et al.) in California was thus somewhat disconcerting. According to this article, California is home to the most terrifying encounters, mostly due to the state’s swelling human population. In the U.S. and Canada, there have been 80 attacks and 12 fatalities in the last two decades, with half of those deaths in California. The elusive cats—which usually attack when injured and/or hungry—pounce on prey and often lock the head of their victim in their mouth.
Survival Tip: To avoid attacks, don’t bike or run alone in wooded areas. If provoked, stand up straight, swelling your chest, making eye contact and lots of noise. Never run, crouch, or turn away. If you just happen to have a gun with you and he/she charges or jumps for you, a shot to the face will probably slow him/her down but DO NOT shoot unless you are a good, and confident, marksman.
My husband parked the car at the parking lot closet to Alcatraz and a man motioned for him where to park and collected the fee. My husband assumed it was the parking lot attendant. Later on after we had left and had returned to re-park we notice that you are supposed to pay a machine and the parking pass the man gave my husband was for a different lot further away. We were not towed so we didn't feel too bad about getting ripped off, and we found free street parking.
Though I had been in some desert conditions while traveling around Australia the previous year, 1994 was the first time without being on some type of tour where someone else took responsibility for my safety. It was also my first time in the Western US and it began in the Rocky Mountain states and then down the coast before arriving in the southwest. So, Joshua Tree and Death Valley were my first exposures to driving in the desert. Since I was doing an extended car camping trip, I had pretty much everything you need to survive in the desert like a tarp, a tent, sleeping bag, sunscreen, food, and of course plenty of water.
I'm an Engish woman in my 50s who has travelled alone in California a lot. I'd like to add a couple of things to the comments here:
1. I tend to fly in to LAX and stay in Santa Monica in a hotel near the beach until I have recovered from jetlag. You definitely don't need a car there and it's close to the beach too. When you're ready, rent a car and wander north up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu once or twice. It's an easy and beautiful drive to get you started.
2. Be careful about driving in some of the place you've mentioned. Big Sur, for example, is terrifying to drive and often subject to dangerous weather. I also found it scarey driving to Death Valley (via Trona) and ended up turning round. So think carefully about whether you can cope with the driving.
I absolutely adore California and come as often as I can, but I have learned not to be too ambitious in terms of my own energy and ability to drive long distances alone.
Beginning in July 2008, it will be illegal to use a cell phone while driving a vehicle unless a hands free device is utilized. The legislation passed well in advance of the deadline, but the enactment date was delayed so people could get their hands free devices. So be sure to use a hands free device when talking on the phone and driving in California, otherwise you might get a ticket.
The state has established food and agriculture checkpoints at highways along California's boarders. The intent is to protect the state's agricultural industry from bugs, pests, and other infestations. You may have to surrender your lunch when entering California. Inspectors are also present at airports. Although, only once did I see a fruit sniffing dog locate a contraband apple left over from an in flight meal that was forgotten in a carry on bag.
Continued from Part 1
Susan Gurley, executive director of the Alexandria, Va.-based Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), says that international travellers need to be aware of and prepared for such border searches, even though they are relatively rare. This is especially true because so far little is known about the DHS's policies relating to the practice and what it does with the information collected during searches of electronic devices, she says.
"This is by far not an epidemic of any sort," Gurley says. "But we think people should know that they basically are leaving their right to privacy at the door when they cross the U.S. border. There is no assumption of privacy [at a port of entry]," she said. Here are five factors Gurley says travellers should know about:
1. No evidence needed to take your laptop
Border agents do not need any evidence or suspicion of illegal activity to examine a laptop or other electronic device.
Every time you cross the border, customs officials have the right to look at anything in your possession, including the content on your laptop, handheld device, cell phone, USB memory stick and digital cameras, Gurley says. They have the right to both view that information and to download or mirror it if they think it's necessary, she said.
2. Anything can be searched
Everything on an electronic device is open to search. This includes personal photographs, personal banking, any business documents and stored or unopened email, Gurley says.
3. Your PC might not be returned right away
Seized devices may be kept for an indefinite period of time. Carry only a laptop or electronic device you can afford to lose or hand over for an unspecified period of time.
Sensitive data should be sent by email before crossing the border in case the data becomes unavailable if the device is seized, she says.
---- Continued in Part 3 ------
Continued from Part 2
4. Don't take anything you don't want to share
Don't carry anything on these devices that could potentially embarrass you or that you don't want others to see, Gurley says.
If it's information you don't want to share, don't carry it. That includes data such as personal banking information, photos, correspondence, health and password information. If the device is a company-owned computer, don't carry proprietary business information or personnel records on it, the ACTE advised.
5. Be cooperative
Cooperate with customs officials. Ask for a receipt and a badge number if your computer is seized. Try and get whatever information you can on the reason why it was seized.
The goal is not to hide data from border officials or the US government, Gurley says. Rather, it is about being aware that your laptop and other electronic devices in your possession could be searched and to prepare for that eventuality, Gurley says. ACTE's surveys in the past have shown that very few travellers are aware of the potential for such searches. "Our primary concern is to alert travellers that their laptops and other electronic devices can be seized at a border without explanation, provocation or even likely cause," she says.
The lawsuit and the advice come at a time when US courts have sent mixed messages on the constitutionality of such searches. In one case, the Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit ruled that at a minimum, customs officials needed to have reasonable cause for conducting such searches. In another case, an appeals court ruled that such searches can be conducted without a warrant or reasonable cause. Both cases involved child pornography.
As I have not been everywhere in the US I do not want to make a USA page - but I still want to give you some important information about what can happen to you at any airport upon arrival. As many people fly in via L.A. and San Francisco I have just chosen to post this info here on my California page:
(Text from www.computerworld.co.nz, by Jaikumar Vijayan, Framingham, on 14 Feb 2008)
Five things to know about laptop searches at US borders
Every time you cross the border, customs officials have the right to look at anything in your possession, including the content on your laptop
A lawsuit filed last week over warrantless searches of laptops and other electronic devices at US borders highlights an issue that all travellers, US citizens and others, need to be aware of when entering the country, according to the executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).
The suit was filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Asian Law Caucus, two California-based civil rights groups. It asks the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to disclose information on its policies for inspecting the contents of laptops and other electronic devices at the country's ports of entry.
The lawsuit was prompted by what the two groups contended were the growing number of reports they were receiving from travellers who claimed to have been subjected to such searches. In most instances, the searches were conducted without apparent reason and with no details offered on what information might have been viewed or downloaded by customs officials, the suit alleged.
- continues Part 2 -
Being in Californias beautiful areas means also to be in potential wildfire areas. Most of the regions in CA are extremely dry and it takes almost nothing to start a catastrophic wildfire. Sometimes even trees just explode due to the heat.
Therefore always pay attention on what you are doing when being outside. Parking a car for example in high grass can be the start of the worst.
Check the page below for current wildfires:
Geomac Wildland Fire Support
San Francisco has a BIG homeless problem. And not to get into a social commentary, but it's incredibly sad that one of America's most beloved and unique cities has become more of a financially focused metropolis than the harmonic, socially equal playing field it should have become. Few people that actually embody San Francisco's hippy spirit can actually afford a home in the capital of flower power. And for years, many have turned a blind eye to the growing problem of the street people - addicts, runaways, people have mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. You may likely find statistics saying that the numbers of homeless people in SF have decreased, but the thing is there are no real accurate statistics and I would almost guarantee you will see several of these people walking around, if not groups. Most will be innocent enough, a few may be dancing happily to the tune in their head, but others will be clearly agitated at something. The best advice if going to SF is not to worry about this really, but simply be aware that it is a problem. If you want to read up more on this issue, please go to SF Gate webpage below. They have some really interesting articles on the topic as well as an interactive map as to where they mostly reside.
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