Cruisin’ California – Part 4

(A blog series on the adventures my wife and I enjoyed during our honeymoon.)

We got going pretty early on this particular day. Of course, we’d been up since 6 a.m. so why not? The two-hour time difference didn’t bother us during the trip…we just tended to get up early each morning and go to bed early each night.

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So, off we went. Back to that winding, beautiful stretch of pavement they call Highway 1. We were getting into the idea of just driving from town to town, staying the night and then leaving the next morning. A good sign for our future plans/dreams to buy an RV and just randomly travel the country together. Anyway, back to this trip. 

One of our first stops that day was the Bixby Bridge. Oh man, it was sweet! I’d heard of it, courtesy of a Death Cab for Cutie song a number of years ago. Any bridge mentioned in a song must be cool, right? Indeed, it is. This is one incredible structure.

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We spent a fair amount of time just enjoying the view and, of course, taking more photos. We also chatted with a couple from New York making the same trip we were along Highway 1, except going in the opposite direction. Nice folks.

Made another stop along the side of the road a little later that morning and had the privilege of seeing a condor, some 600 feet below, through the eyes of a kind gentleman’s telescope.

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I mentioned 600 feet – yeah, this road is perched at a crazy high elevation in many places. When you combine the twists and turns, oh and the fact that there really aren’t guardrails along the edge, it is actually quite an exhilarating ride if you think about it. More than once, my wife mentioned the lack of anything between her and the ocean way, way down below.

Our next stop was a pretty one. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is right off of Highway 1 and is home to a variety of spectacular scenes – everything from a Caribbean feel to a wooded, almost jungle-like atmosphere in some spots.

The highlight of the park is the majestic McWay Falls, an 80-foot waterfall that spills onto the sand, next to water with a color that resembles something you’d expect to see in the islands somewhere.

The inland trail we took led us past redwood trees, a nice little creek and another waterfall. Three hours had passed, by the time we drove out of the park. Definitely recommend it!

The Big Sur area in general is full of natural beauty. Tree canopies over many areas of Highway 1, and just a really fun drive. We passed through Los Padres National Forest as we continued south. More sky-high curves in the road. More sweeping vistas with (multi) million dollar views. More photos. More fun!

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The flowers were blooming throughout our journey…so many colors and shapes to see. They’re great accents to the seaside landscapes.

It’s not every day that you see hundreds of elephant seals (or any elephant seals, I suppose) hanging out just a few feet away from you, so we decided to check this beach out, near San Simeon.

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Lots and lots of elephant seals!

We stayed at a little roadside motel, called the San Simeon Lodge that night.

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Granted, my wife prefers staying at places with the doors on the inside of a hallway, but it was just fine. 🙂 Had some great burgers at the restaurant there and relaxation mode was kicking in, until…

…I noticed the sun. Hadn’t seen it for the past several hours that day. But, there it was. It was low in the sky and the ocean was right across the road from where we were sitting. That meant only one thing. Sunset photos!

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So, naturally the next course of action was for us to sprint across Highway 1, grab the camera and start firing away. It was worth it. What a day. Just writing this, it makes me realize how thankful I am that we were able to see so many amazing sights that week.

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Make sure to come back for the next, possibly final (depending on how much I end up writing about this fabulous journey) installment in this series. You’ll be along for the ride to Santa Barbara and beyond…surfers, a piece of history and more memorable meals. See you soon!

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