We’re up early (not hard to do, we were still on East Coast time) and pack the Jeep to drive up the coast.
The idea was that we were going to stop lots, take pictures, wander, look at things. Which we did and had a great time doing so.
First stop: Huntington Beach to visit the pier and watch some surfers… as one does…
For the first part of the trip, we mostly drove inland to get past the congestion of Los Angeles and surrounding boroughs. Strip malls and mountains, really.
Our first pit stop: Ojai. The birthplace of Steve Austin and Jamie Summers, the bionic couple we all loved during the late 70s.
Excitedly, SharkBoy ran into the first place that sold postcards. “We’re here to see the place that gave us The Bionic Woman!” SharkBoy cheerfully tells the woman behind the counter. “Erm… Yes! Welcome!” she says, not really understanding, I think. Back into the car.
Our next stop was Santa Barbara. It reminded me of Palm Springs, but more like old money by the sea. The pier was a welcome walk after being in the car. We managed to get a couple more shots for SharkBoy’s City Hall Collection.
Back into the car! After some pretty driving we stop in San Luis Obispo for the night, humourously called “SLO”. Really nice college town, with a ton of great cafes/restaurants and funky shops – there was a modest Apple store so I theorized that it was a college/university town based on the “young” vibe we were getting (I was proven right when we passed most of the schools the next morning). We stopped by the Mission and wandered the main drag for a bit.
After clearing away all the spiderwebs that had formed in our room overnight, we were back in the car at 6am, driving through some thick fog. Our first stop: a “seal lookout” about 45 minutes north of SLO. SEALS!! We were alone on the beach when we pulled up and the first thing we heard over the crashing waves was… farting?
After the cold got to us, we were back into the car and onward to Gorda, made famous for it’s whale watching. But as we were to find out for the rest of our trip, the fog really likes to stick around all morning long. The drive up into Ragged Point was raggety and a bit nerve racking, but every so often we would come out above the fog and see sun capped mountains above, clouds below.
The Cabrillo Highway (#1) is insane. Little rocks pepper the highway, which reminded us that rocks may at any moment fall and crush us. Or make the highway itself slide into the ocean. After a couple hours of 20 mph curves and blind corners in the fog, we started up another mountain. And up. And up. And suddenly… BIG SUR:
Arriving in Big Sur was a religious experience for SharkBoy. He literally was in tears coming across the mountain out of the fog. When we stopped for a tea and to take down the roof of the Jeep, we found the people there to be young, athletic (hills!) attractive and friendly – I can understand how some people never leave.
Our brief stop in Carmel, to see where Clint Eastwood was mayor, was brief. We found it to be rich-creepy. Like we were underdressed and poor, just by walking the streets. Back into the car!
The rest of the drive was through built up areas and the occasional state park. If you do the coast drive, I have to say the drive north would be a better option. Less traffic, less curbside cliffs and breathtaking views!