Road Trip: LA Monterey Santa Sur

We have been irreconcilably behind on our blog. No matter how hard we try, we really just can’t seem to keep everyone up-to-date on the daily occurrences of our lives. So we’re going to do a quick catch-up of our Road Trip in three Californian cities and one infamous highway in our attempt to get closer to real-time blog posts.

Los Angeles:

Too many tourists. Too many cars blaring their horns while we sat in traffic for thirty minutes without budging an inch.  Too many people talking about how pretty this and that celebrity were at such and such’s multi-million dollar party.

Stars, Hollywood, Road Trip

A Cruising Couple, Hollywood, Road Trip

We didn’t really fit in with the Los Angeles/Hollywood vibe. However, we were able to find a few redeeming qualities of the city, mostly because of the great people we spent time with. First there was Patrice, a celebrity travel agent and close friend’s mother who served as our wonderful host. Although repeatedly stating she didn’t cook, Patrice wouldn’t stop feeding us delicious food while we comfortably lounged on her couch and caught up on about five loads of laundry. Then, there was Selina, a lovely British lass and aspiring actress who navigated LA’s congested streets for us. Selina guided us to a beautiful hike outside the downtown area to see Los Angeles’ nighttime radiance from afar—much more enjoyable than actually being in the overcrowded streets. So although we didn’t click with Los Angeles in quite the same way we instantly fell head-over-heels in love with San Diego, a few nice people managed to make the city a tad bit more tolerable.

A Cruising Couple, LA, Road Trip

Monterey:

Monterey turned out to be a little bit of a disappointment.  We had visited the city with one goal in mind: scuba diving. After receiving our advanced open water dive certifications in March, we were both pretty antsy to literally get our feet wet again. Our research had told us that Monterey was a great place to dive—a bay where scuba divers often get to swim alongside seals, sea lions and otters. That sounded absolutely AWESOME to us, and thanks to a generous wedding gift, we had been incredibly excited to give it a go. But you can’t always predict the weather, and given our tight schedule we only had one day in Monterey. So when the water was turbulent with little visibility, we were doubtful if it would be wise to shell out $150 to barely see our hands in front of our face. We ended up asking some fellow divers emerging from the water for their viewpoint. They eloquently advised, “Just go to the aquarium. I can guarantee you’ll see a lot more there for a heck of a lot less than renting equipment.” With our diving dreams destroyed we reverted back to what we do best: wandering the streets. In the process we did actually see quite a few sea lions sun bathing next to a pier, and an ADORABLE otter floating on his back while bashing open his fresh crab lunch. Not quite what we were expecting, but worth the stop in Monterey just the same.

Sea Lions, California, Road Trip

Otter in California, Road Trip

Santa Cruz:

We were pretty sad to leave Santa Cruz. The beach town was cool—definitely a surfer’s paradise with massive waves ready for the taking, which made Dan wish he had brought along a wetsuit and a board—but we fell in love with the lazy beach city because of the wonderful people we met. We couchsurfed with a super cool guy named Mitch, who has some really inspiring stories about his time as a media resources teacher. Absolutely hilarious and witty but also incredibly kindhearted and generous, we felt like we could have stuck around and listened to Mitch’s stories for another week. And did we mention that he is a squirrel rehabilitator?! Mitch volunteers for an organization that takes care of all sorts of interesting injured animals, including baby squirrels that need some extra TLC. While we had previously never thought twice about saving squirrels, Mitch’s were absolutely adorable. Seriously, so so so cute.

Santa Cruz, Road Trip

Highway 1

Probably one of the most beautiful drives in the US, Highway 1 is known as the scenic yet treacherous coastal route that spans California. The northern section of the route is known as Big Sur, and definitely the area that makes you want to pull over at every scenic vista to capture the huge cliffs that tower above the sparkling Pacific Ocean. We wish we could’ve had much more time to explore the numerous hiking options that await jittery road warriors. We did make time for the McWay Waterfall, only a quarter mile from the main road and totally free!! It’s located in the Julia Pfeiffer State Park (but park outside to avoid the fee), and is one of the most popular images from Big Sur. Many winding turns later, we decided to camp on the side of the road at one of those scenic vistas we mentioned. After finding a snug place to hide our tent behind the car, we enjoyed watching the sunset over the ocean while the moon simultaneously rose from behind the mountains. If we’ve ever had one of those ‘at peace with the world, wow we’re so small moments’, this was one of them.

Big Sur, Road Trip

Big Sur, Road Trip

Big Sur, Road Trip

Sunset, Big Sur, Road Trip

Camping, Road Trip

Night Sky in Big Sur, Road Trip
Waterfall, Big Sur, Road Trip

Okay so now we are getting closer to being caught up! Just have to get around to San Fran, Napa Valley, Portland, and Seattle…..

3 Comments

  1. I used to live in San Francisco and had the opportunity to visit all of the places you mentioned. California still holds a piece of my heart. I agree that Monterey can be a bit boring, also loved Santa Cruz and find LA to be vapid unless you have great people to show you around. You’re going to love Northern California. I did the drive from San Fran to British Colombia with my father many years ago and we loved everything we saw along the way.

    Reply
    • We actually just finished that Northern California drive and it really was breathtaking! We loved San Francisco, Napa Valley and all the gorgeous redwood trees. I just wish we would have had much more time to really enjoy how beautiful everything is!!

      Reply
  2. Wish you guys had a better experience in LA! Despite its reputation, it has a lot of charm if you go the right places…

    Reply

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