Hey y'all! Thanks for letting me gush about my California trip this week...you're are the best. I promise I'll be back to my regular design/DIY post material next week!
After our time Los Angeles, we packed up our rental car (a super sexy Nissan Altima...in white...oh yeah) and headed out in the early hours of the morning to drive up the coast. We were really pumped about this part of our trip because we had heard that driving up historic Route 1 (also known as the Pacific Coast Highway) was something everyone should have on their bucket list...and we were not disappointed.
Our first stop was just north of San Simeon in Piedras Blancas to see this rookery of Elephant Seals (yep, that's the name for a group of seals!).
They are HUGE. And hilarious to watch. I just stood there, fascinated by their odd behaviors including dueling each other at the edge of the water, and laying dead still on the beach except for the occasional flipper movement to throw sand on themselves. (You can read about why they do that here.) I even took a video of them because their behaviors were so cool/odd. You get to hear my awesome video voice, which always makes me cringe :).
I insisted we get a photo with the seals in the background too, although they're hard to make out here:
After our quick stop, we headed on up to Big Sur, which is chock full of amazing views of rolling hills and steep cliffs dropping off into the Pacific Ocean. Every time we went around a bend, we went, "OOooo! Look at that!" You'd think it would get old, but the views really were unbelievable.
We definitely had our fair share of stops and took a bunch of photos. BE CAREFUL though. Driving is crazy through there because of all the curves, narrow lanes, and crazy tourists like us trying to quickly pull of to take photos.
In addition to photos of the natural scenery, we also snapped a few photos with us in them along the way. We pulled off on a cute little rocky beach and got a few there...
...And up on a high point overlooking the ocean as well. Had to throw in a silly pose to change things up :).
And look at this little squirrel creature. He was quite bold and practically came right up to me...I think he's used to having tourists feed him. Sorry little guy, your'e cute, but no food from me.
Oh, and before we move onto our next stop, just a little couple of tips if you're planning a trip out there to Big Sur. At least coming from the south, there's only one real pit stop before you head into the park. Try to avoid filling up on gas there because it was $5.79 a gallon! (Price gouging much?!) We only needed a little bit, but it still hurt our wallets. Arg.
And there's no cell service anywhere. We have Verizon, so I don't know about other carriers, but I typically think if Verizon has no service, no one else does. So either bring a paper map if you're making any planned stops or hike specific trails, or have your route planned ahead of time. We didn't really have to do any of that since we were basically driving through, but we would've been in trouble had we needed Google Maps. You don't realize how dependent you are on technology until you can't use it!
Our final "real" stop along Route 1 was in a beautiful little town called Carmel-by-the-sea. Oh how we adored this little place! It felt like a Hampton's-style resort town, but with a west coast flair. It had gorgeous (expensive) houses, lots of shops (also expensive, ha!), and amazing beaches. There's white sand there people! I didn't know that existed on the west coast.
I was drooling over some of the charming houses there, including this one:
This is one of the typical Carmel style homes called a "fairytale cottage." Doesn't it look like it's straight out of a (duh) fairytale? I mean, that roof! Unbelievable. There's lots of similar architecture like this downtown in the city center as well. I wish we'd had time to wander through all the streets.
We had a late lunch there at a cute little Italian delicatessen called Salumeria Luca.
So, so yummy. Can you tell we liked our sandwiches? We picked them up to-go and ate in a park in the middle of town.
Before heading onto our final destination (San Francisco!) for the day, we did stop at the public beach in Carmel to dip our toes in the water, and get a view of the famous Pebble Beach golf course that's nearby.
Carmel is definitely on my list of places to go back to one day. So is Big Sur. Dang, we could've spent two weeks in those places alone!
I'll be back tomorrow with highlights from our couple of days in San Fran. More stories to come!