Thursday, May 26, 2011

cruisin' up the cali coast

 4. Drive the PCH and make good on my promise to the Cali girls. - DONE!

So after spending two days in LA, a day at the Magic Kingdom, and a day and a half in San Diego, Sadira and I started our long trek up the Cali coast.  This leg of our trip was 563 miles, approximately 11 hours of driving, just me and my 3 year old navigator.  She had plenty of things to keep her occupied, books, coloring book, a DVD player and tons of movies, but she never touched them once.  I was pretty excited that Sadira was just about as excited as I was to drive up the coast.

Best part?  We were driving in what used to be my DREAM CAR when I was 16!!!!!  What is this car, you ask?

Why it's a trusty four door Jeep Wrangler. :) Seriously, it was the best car ever, and so much fun to drive.

LOVE that car.  Still wish I would've gotten one.  Maybe one day I will.

To be honest, I think this part of our journey is best told through pictures.  So here we go...a pictorial journey up the Pacific Coast Highway.

As we left Jess's house, we were greeted with the view of snow capped mountain tops. Pretty cool.

It wasn't too long til we were at the coastline and at the beach...

Passed by the airport...

Saw Catalina in the distance...

Drove through Alix's 'hood one more time..

Passed the Getty Villa..

Had a late lunch with Alix (there was no way we could be so close and not spend time with her!)

It was delicious!

Swung on the celebrity swings..

And played on the celebrity jungle gym...

Then it was time for cupcakes. (I think this is my single most favorite picture of Sadie and Alix EVER!!!!! They were obviously looking forward to the cupcakes)

Played Paparazzi in the "Paprazzi Free Zone" (I don't often follow the rules...)

Posed for more pics (she's pretty well trained at this point)

We got back on the road just in time to see this beautiful sunset.

The west coast really has the advantage when it comes to sunsets!!! GORGEOUS!

We passed through Ventura Beach...

Pretty cool view on a Saturday night..

Then we stopped off in....Santa Barbara!  Where we....

enjoyed some Pinkberry,

listened to some jazz,

hung out with JB,

went shopping,

and picked out some cool accessories.

It was our goal to make it to San Luis Obispo, but I was getting tired---and fast.  So we stopped off in Santa Maria for the night and stayed at a hotel that I SWEAR was haunted.

Seriously SPOOKY.

I mean, just look at this place..

But it did have this cool frog out front.  The next morning we said bye to the frog and hit the road.  Yes, Sadie wore the same outfit two days in a row.  I can't remember why.

Lesson learned?  Anytime a hotel is described as "historic," that most likely means HAUNTED.

We swung past Pismo Beach...

It was a little overcast, but we didn't care.

Of course we had to check out the beach view.

We got some breakfast at a super cute little cafe.  They had the best crepes, and I had a cafe mocha to wake myself up.  The lady working there was so sweet, she gave Sadie some hot cocoa on the house. Lucky.

See how cute?  Such a tiny little place.  And yes, that's nutella in the window, and yes, I had nutella in my crepe.  DELISH!

Sadie made friends with Sunny the Golden Retriever outside.  While she was shaking his paw she said, "Nice to meet ya, Sunny."  SO CUTE.

Back on the road!  And it started to rain harder...

We ended up just driving through San Luis Obispo.

There was a mosque named after me,

and these awesome, cute little painted houses.

That's about all we had time to see in San Luis Obispo.

We drove a little further and pulled over to take a shot with the beach.  It was still drizzling.

We past by the Hearst Castle, but unfortunately didn't have time to pay a visit.  Next time!

Just north of San Simeon, we pulled off to the side of the road to see the elephant seals!

It was still rainy, and very windy, but we didn't care.

The elephant seals were cute, but REALLY LOUD!

The water was crazy choppy.

The next leg of our trip north was where it REALLY started to get interesting.  Up until this point we had been driving from beach town to beach town.  There were other highways and roads nearby; however as we got closer and closer to Big Sur, the road got narrower and narrower, and the scenery outside was limited to ocean on one side and trees on the other. 

This is the type of land where you sees signs like, "last gas station for next 100 miles, fill up now."

Sadie was excited, to say the least.  She's got adventure in her blood!

Pretty soon I realized we were navigating on a tiny road on the side of a cliff.  In the rain.

This is what it looked like:

The trusty Jeep!! Best car ever for this type of roadtrip.

This was the road behind me.  There a road with a mountain on one side, and cliff that falls into the ocean on the other.

The road ahead.

This was truly just the side of the cliff:

Still smiling!

Sadira loved to get out of the car and peek over the side of the cliff.  This gave me heart palpitations.

Soon the rain stopped.  Although the fog continued to roll in, our visibility started increasing.  Which made me happy and freaked out simultaneously.

Just a mile or two south of Big Sur:

Still 185 miles till our final destination!

At most points during this commute, I could pull the Jeep off the road and be RIGHT ON THE SIDE OF THE CLIFF.  It was pretty amazing.  Several times I would do that, just staring out at the view, and the next thing I knew, 15 minutes had gone by...breathtakingly beautiful scenery.

Black sand beach:

Pictures just can do it justice to show just how high up this was.  Trust me, it was HIGH.

We stopped here to stretch our legs and have some snacks.

The sun slooowwwly started to peek out...which made the view that much more spectacular.

We saw some surfers dudes waaaay down below.

The road up ahead stretched out before us just as the sun came out!

But the minute we got to the top of the cliff, we hit the clouds again.  And this completely random stoplight on the side of the cliff.  (There was no intersection....)

On the road again...

Then we were treated to the best views yet.

First this:

And then this:

And the I saw the bridge.  The first of two bridges that I had had NIGHTMARES about prior to this trip.  Nightmares that an earthquake decided to break out just as I was driving over it...

Very happy we survived and I made it to the other side:

I think this photo shows best just how this road is clearly ON THE SIDE OF A CLIFF:

Higher and higher the road climbed...

I think this speaks for itself:

The classic "Big Sur" photo.  I couldn't wait to make it across this bridge.

Bixby Bridge up ahead in the distance:

Getting ready to cross the bridge...

Looking back at the bridge from the other side:

We made it!!

Sadie was very upset, because she was asleep when we crossed the bridge.

Pretty soon we were back to civilization, passing through the Monterey Peninsula.

We kept chugging through Santa Cruz, and up to San Jose and EVENTUALLY....we made it to San Francisco. :)  The final leg of our journey!

I have to say that although I loved every bit of our amazing two week vacation, this had to be one of my most favorite days because it was just the Sadie Bug and I, out on our own adventure.  I hope she always has the sense of wonderment and adventure that she has now.  She's hands down the best travel buddy I've ever had.

Just a week or two after we got home, I read about this happening.  An ENTIRE SECTION of route 1--the very highway we were driving on--just south of Big Sur crumbled and FELL INTO THE OCEAN.  Unreal.  I'm grateful that it didn't happen while we were there, and I'm grateful that our trip wasn't a few weeks later, or the entire road would've been closed.  Crazy how things happen.

Next up...our Stieper San Francisco adventure!


dawn said...

that looks like the best trip ever! So many fun memories and pictures for you to cherish. You are one awesome Mom!

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