Fondest memory We made many stops to picnic and for photos of wind-swept beaches, sheer cliffs and even elephant seals lounging but kept a steady pace knowing we needed to find a place to pitch our tent for the night. We pulled into one perfect candidate campground, with picturesque views of the ocean but no spots were to be had. Julia Pfeffer State Park was also full and our heart sank as we pondered our having to go further north and miss much of what we were seeking. The next park luckily did have spots though they were mere forested ones with no real inkling of being so close to the sea. Rather than press on and take a chance on either finding better or being forced into a room, we opted on setting up there and enjoying the rest of the afternoon sans worries about that night's place to rest our weary heads.
We found some beaches to comb and some fantastic overlooks but we could not seem to find the coastal trails we had imagined to run rampant through these hills. When the sun set, it cooled considerably and we scurried back to our tree protected tent. Cooking in the dark, we realized that camping on the bluff, while romantic and surely scenic, might not be quite as comfy as the nice forest we now found ourselves entrenched.
We broke camp the next morning and did a walk to a waterfall in the park while waiting for the inevitable fog to lift from the coast. We fared better our second day out by just looking for any kind of potential path to the ocean rather than a bona-fide hiking trail. One was a mere gated service road which petered out into an obvious path that brought us to a very rugged beach. We sat and watched the waves crash against the rocks and imagined our safe little cove at high tide and no safe retreat in sight. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
Fondest memory Back on the Pacific Coast Highway, heading north, even more spectacular chunks of the coast unfolded before us, with wild flowers in profusion and a roller-coaster series of steep inclines and precipitous overlooks enticing us to look just over their edges.
The pressure for a campground did not seem so great as the day prior and we turned down a coveted one at Point Lobos State Park in favor of hitting a promising brewery on the other side of Monterrey. Bangers, Fish & Chips with cask-conditioned ale sometimes wins out over nature. It somehow fit the mood of being near the sea except all this damn sun you might not see in a month in England.
We headed up to Santa Cruz, a town I had remembered quite favorably but it turned out to be more of a hokey boardwalk town and not the mecca of cool as I had romanticized. No worries, there was another brewery for dinner and we secured a spot for the tent in a dense forest just northwest of the city center. The key it seemed to camping on the coast was to avoid the coast, at least if you want to travel without reservations. We did have a reservation for the next night but it was for a room in our favorite city. We would find the coastal road heading there to be surprisingly beautiful too though we would linger perhaps a bit less. As soothing as it had been to have the ocean by our sides, we looked forward to exploring an old friend and San Francisco was very much that.
Fondest memory For some, the ocean is a foreboding thing, something to be feared and mysterious. Growing up near one, it's always been something reassuring to me, especially now, after two months of desert travel, lots of red rock and very little water. So, driving up this winding coastal road, with rising green mountains on my right and the powerful Pacific on my left felt somewhat uplifting. While I had not consciously missed it in the two months I had been without a glimpse, it was now very comforting to know that it would be our companion for much of the next couple months as we made our way up through California to British Columbia.
I had done this amazing stretch of highway fifteen years earlier but it was a rushed affair and I had promised myself I would return for a more leisurely exploration and to camp on the bluffs that majestically looked down on the cold blue waters below. We had planned this section of the trip for a Monday, hoping to avoid some of the crowds that routinely descend on what is arguably the most beautiful chunk of California's varied terrain. Competition for camping spots was fierce but with us traveling on the fly, it was impossible to make a reservation for an arrival date we knew not. California State Parks were justifiably popular but we were just going to wing it and hope that it worked out as well as the rest of the trip had thus far. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
Favorite thing In&Out is a rather well known burger chain which originated in SoCal in 1948. With a simple menu, it relies on never frozen ingredients and doing things like cutting their own potatoes and making real milk shakes. For the longest time a very religious family privately owned it, but I am pretty sure it has gone corporate as of late.
You can order your burgers in different fashions, which are not on the menu. Grilled onions are my favorite, but you can also ask for “animal style” which I think comes with pickles and mustard. (Gross if you ask me).
Since the In&out Corp, the quality has slipped a little and the hamburger patties have shrunk. But the John 3:16 is still hidden on the bottom of the cup.
Fondest memory John3:16 reads: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”
But this will only include 1/3 of the world’s population. Can 66% of the Earth be wrong? Regardless, whatever higher power you may (or not) believe in, she did some nice work. I’m going camping in Big Sur. Sweeeet…
Fondest memory Yes, Big Sur is that beautiful!!! And that's me and my Australian friend, Joanne soaking in the beauty of this place.....
The late Henry Miller, one of Big Sur's best-known residents, called Big Sur… 'a region where one is always conscious of eloquent silence… the face of the earth as the Creator intended it to look.' I couldn't agree more with him...
Favorite thing We saw no Ewoks. (However, does not recognizes Ewoks) A little disappointed. So we did the next best thing, we became Ewoks. Singing – Dancing.
Favorite thing The forest was forever changing. It looked just alive as it was. Shapes, shadows and colors were singing.
Favorite thing We're wearing nothing
Nothing but our shadows
Shadows falling down on
The beach sand
Remembering once out on
We wore pineapple grass bracelets
Favorite thing So why would you care
To get out of this place
You and me and all our friends
Such a happy human race
We're tripping billies
Favorite thing We are all sitting
Legs crossed around a fire
My yellow flame she dances
Tequila drinking, oh,
Our minds will wander
To wondrous places