Favorite thing: by accident, but who cares. With the sun setting, the lack of trees was cool and unexpected. I bet you here receives close to 50% less precipitation than over the ridge. With desert planes 30 meters from tropical rainforest we witnessed very awesome changes in ecosystems.
When the Spanish explorer Balboa approached the coast, he saw this sight.
When we was there, the sea was quiet. But in Winter the storms can be terrible and are able to cut the road and to isolate the whole area.
Favorite thing: This was really cool and cool. Within the valleys of the brushy hills, Nature provided us with air-conditioning. She had a cool air jet stream, only 2 meters wide, turned on. These seemed to pop up around the next corner when we needed it.
We travel Highway 1 every year on New Year's Day or the day after and it's usually lovely. We live in Cambria and go to a camp in the Santa Cruz mountains the day after Christmas to ring in the New Year with our folk music friends. Occasionally we have to change our plans and travel homeward on Highway 101 because of a winter storm. We don't like to drive down 1 in the rain because there isn't much of a view then and because the rain causes landslides which can cause rocks to fall off the cliffs. We only lost our windshield once in 20 years of driving up and down that road. The rock didn't come through but it cracked the glass which then had to be replaced. I'd take the risk if there's not a big storm raging.
Fondest memory: The magnificent vistas along the coast road, especially the waterfall at McWay canyon in Julia Pfeiffer Burns park south of Big Sur.
Like most of the Coastal Areas of California from North in Mendocino Area up to the San Diego Area, The climate in the Big Sur and Monterey Peninsula area is really made up of several mini-climates and can vary depending upon the time of year, the time of day and the area visited. Afternoons when a cool breeze blows in off the ocean a drive just several miles inland can see an increase in temperature of 5-10 degrees and more. Likewise, if it's foggy in Pacific Grove it doesn't mean it's foggy in Monterey or inland. Early autumn is the coast's sunniest time of year.
Fondest memory: always bring rain gear or weather proof gear handy and you would never know if it will rain or not or better to check on the weather forecast on your IPhone or Android Powered Smart Phone or Tablet.
Favorite thing: We were completing the loop and the remaining part gave us a good look at what we just did. The hills over here were warmer; less trees, sometimes none.