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Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd?

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Windsor, Canada
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Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd?

Have a trip booked for Big Sur (staying in Monterey this time) starting May 1st..I have a bad feelingHwy 1 will might not be open as they just pushed the date up till the END of April now..Really considering Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd as we stayed in Cambria our last trip and wasn't planning to go down that far this time around..Is that Road really that bad? can someone describe it a bit..we have beeen on a lot of mountain roads...wondering also if it's worse now that a lot of local traffic may be using and how long it takes to drive it from 101 to the coast..Any info would be greatly appreciated. Deanne

New York City, New...
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1. Re: Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd?

It's narrow, steep and winding, but you probably know that already. No guardrails, some places where it's basically one lane, it's been rare to meet someone coming the other way, but with, as you say, a lot of local traffic taking this route, that may be more common.

Here is a coastal aerial photo of the start of NF Road:

californiacoastline.org/cgi-bin/image.cgi…

Grover Beach...
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2. Re: Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd?

Even with the Nacimeinto-Fergusson Road access into Big Sur, that is one long detour to get over to see Big Sur. Worth it if you have several days planned for Monterey/Carmel.

I have never driven that road, but it is a steep descent down to where it meets with Highway 1.

Santa Cruz...
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3. Re: Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd?

As a fairly "local" person, you would not catch *me* on that road.

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4. Re: Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd?

We arrived in Big Sur yesterday via that road from the 101. Took about an hour and a half and was pretty steep at times but fine if you take it steady

Windsor, Canada
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5. Re: Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd?

Thanks for the info! still undecided..hoping by some miracle Hwy 1 will be accessible by May 1st..I know the marathon is May 1st so I'm sure they are really trying hard for that date.

Chicago
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6. Re: Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd?

We traveled the Nacimiento Road on Thursday, April 7, and it was actually a fairly hair-raising experience. I don't regret it, but thought I'd share this detailed info for others contemplating the drive. Also, don't miss the photos linked at the bottom of this post.

First off, I've driven plenty of winding mountain roads in Colorado, Utah, Montana, the Sierras, Canadian Rockies, etc. None were quite like this. I compare the experience to my only time skydiving: it was simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying and when I got down to the ground I was sure I'd never do it again.

The road kind of lulls you into complacency. From the 101 you climb gently up into beautiful meadows with huge old trees. Then it gets a little surreal, as you go through the military test range. Among all the natural beauty, you see scorched, splintered tree trunks, burned out husks of cars and lean-to shacks used, apparently, for target practice. As you leave the military reservation, the road winds gently down into a valley and you follow a picturesque babbling creek for a while.

Then you come around a corner and see ahead of you a vast hulking range of mountains rising hundreds (thousands?) of feet above you and you know you haven't really begun. So you climb, climb, climb and climb. Everything people have said is true:

* Hairpin turns -- half the time, to see the road ahead, you're looking out your driver's side window.

* Steep drop-offs, many hundreds of feet, with no guardrails

* Cars coming down from the other direction, whipping around blind turns in your "lane." Either natives who've traveled the road hundreds of times or reckless tourists.

* I say "lane" because there's no yellow divider and it's fairly narrow.

All of that I probably could have handled. But then the rain we were going through started to get a little chunky. Wet snow! Oh well, we're from Chicago -- no biggie. Then we noticed cars coming down with snow all over their bumpers. Hmmm ... Then we got near the top and the trees were covered. Then the road was covered. Not a lot, and the asphalt is very good, so it wasn't too slippery. But all these factors together made it a real white-knuckle experience.

When we finally went over the top and starting coming down the other side and got under the cloud tops and saw the ocean I could swear I heard Maureen McGovern singing "There's Got to Be a Morning After." We were mightily relieved. We ate at Nepenthe that night and the waitress initially brushed off our tale -- they had a little snow/sleet that day, too. Then we showed her the picture and she was amazed and took the camera all around the place to show the other staff and regulars -- apparently we went through something pretty unique.

Still glad we did it, though. You just cannot miss Big Sur. The Monterey Peninsula is beautiful, but Big Sur has its own grand majesty. And for all the tension, driving that road is definitely an unforgettable experience. Here are some photos going over the road:

…photobucket.com/albums/m613/chicagorob33/

Also, the waitress told us business at Nepenthe was down 90% and most of the staff was up in Monterey drawing unemployment. So if you go, tip extra hard! (Glen Oaks was full up, but apparently that's usually the case.)

I would imagine that in fair weather things wouldn't have been nearly as intense, but just thought I'd share our experience for others to consider.

Chicago
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7. Re: Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd?

Oh, one other piece of advice. The rental car company at SFO tried to stick us with a huge boat of a car -- a Mercury Marquis that was as big as a grey whale. We switched to a compact and that was the best decision we made. I couldn't imaging driving the PCH, let alone Nacimiento, in a car where I couldn't see the end of the hood.

Grover Beach...
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8. Re: Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd?

What a great tale, rbies33! And your photos are amazing. Glad you survived the Nacimiento-Fergusson drive with all that snow. I imagine it got kind of scary going downhill in that stuff. Thanks for sharing your experience.

9. Re: Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd?

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