Highway 1 is one of the most scenic and famous routes in the world and goes along the Californian shore.
Depending from which direction you are driving it starts in Legett, North of Mendocino, and ends close to the Mexican boarder in San Diego. After several coastal roads were combined the highway got its name “California State Route 1” in 1964. On your way you will have several amazing sights, which you shouldn’t miss by zooming past the landscape. Instead take enough time to explore this amazing landscape in detail.
Facts about driving in California
Let me start with the fact that driving in the US is much more relaxing than in Europe. Resons are the wider highway lanes and the fact that most drivers stay in their lanes forever. This assures a better overview on a 6-lane US road than on a 2-lane Autobahn in Germany. Furthermore, the drivers - especially in California - are less aggressive. Honking, to give an example, is frowned upon and the speed limit is generally accepted, which leads to less speeding, yelling and pushing.
Since there are some differences to Europe, here are some no-go’s for driving in the US:
Breaking a speed limit – if you see locals speeding, you can be sure they know where the Highway Patrol is measuring the speed and normally get off cheaply.
Although you might want to follow them I recommend staying within the speed limit since you are a stranger and the Highway Patrol can’t take a joke! Sometimes you do not only get a ticket but are taken to the police station.
Honking, Pushing, etc. – as mentioned before driving in California is different. Instead of fighting for the right of way Californian drivers smile at you and wave you through at a stop intersection. If the driver in front of you is too slow or drives badly: do not honk and pass him at the next possibility.
My best recommendation for a roadtrip through the US is: a cooler!
Next to the fact that you are having cold drinks and even snacks available at all times you can pre-cool beverages for the evening. This will save you some time looking for a supermarket at night. At Target, WalMart or sports equipment stores etc. you will find a huge selection of coolers. Sometimes hotels allow their guests to refill coolers at their vending machines. If this is not the case, you will find large ice bags at gas stations, supermarkets, and drugstores.
Please remember that open bootles or single cans with alcohol inside the car are forbidden in the US, so keep your cooler in the trunk in case you want a cool beer at night.