Mendocino - need to know
WHERE TO STAY
Highway One extends for more than 660 miles, so one could spend a week driving it, with a day in San Francisco in the middle.
On the lower, more populous half of the road, there are plenty of motels of the kind that America does so well: clean, with huge beds, and costing a fairly standard US$75 (¤51) for a double.
Outside August, there is no need to book ahead except in Carmel, where reservations are always recommended as the town gets so busy.
North of San Francisco's Bay area, booking is a good idea: the Highway is a lonely old place up there.
THREE PLACES TO STAY
• The Normandy Inn
In Carmel, three blocks from the beach, this pleasant 48-room hotel built in 1921 has working fireplaces inside and a heated pool outside.
Doubles cost around US$175 (¤119) in June (001 831 624 3825; normandy inncarmel.com).
•Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel
Fifty miles south of San Francisco and half an hour north of Santa Cruz, these former lighthouse keepers' cottages are among my favourite places to stay on Highway One.
Don't be put off by the word hostel: you can book private rooms. Doubles cost less than ¤60 year-round -- not bad for one of the most beautiful spots in the Pacific.
I went to sleep to the sound of crashing waves (001 650 879 0633; norcalhostels.org/pigeon).
•Howard Creek Ranch Inn
This ocean-front farmhouse, built in 1871 by the owners of a logging mill, lies on the upper reaches of Highway One near Westport and Mendocino.
Converted with pitch-perfect taste, it has 13 rooms in various outbuildings, with rates in June ranging from US$90 to US$198 (¤60-¤135).
Go for the converted boat, snug among the 1,000-year-old redwoods, with its own kitchen (001 707 964 6725, howardcreek ranch.com).