Pacific Coast Highway

Technically speaking, they call the Pacific Coast Highway the road that stretches all along the coast of Oregon all the way down to the south western tip of California. Its the US101, and sometimes its the US1.

This is one of the most scenic, beautiful, and curvy drives in the world. It curves and weaves its way along the coast like a roller-coaster at times, and at other times its as straight as an arrow; at nearly all times directly along the open coast of North America.

For me it was pure pleasure; there were pull outs around every corner that I was able to stop and pull my camera out to snap a few scenic beauties off. I would be willing to bet that this road gets worse than the Jasper highway (between Jasper and Calgary in the Jasper National Park of Canada) in peak times of the summer, crowded with tourists in their RV’s, the whole way driving slower than a snail crossing a sidewalk. But, on my trip in early May, it felt like I was the only one on the highway outside of the cities.

The first stretch, in the north west corner of Oregon beside Portland was very beautiful. It was most of the same scenery that I’m used to living in the rain forests of Vancouver, but it was so much less populated that it was easier to feel like I was going to find a ginger bread house around the next bend, huddled in amongst the trees.

Early on in the drive there were a few towns like Long Beach and Rockaway Beach that were slightly surfer town-ish that had a few surf shops littered about, all along the ocean with great beach access that you could enjoy the surf in. However, it was fairly windy, and talking to locals, at this time of the year its either windy or foggy. So I was happy with the wind because it meant that I could see and take cool pictures!

The drive lead me directly into San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, which is beautiful and magnificent, inspite the $6 (or was it $8) toll for going across it. Unfortunately for me, it was nearly midnight when I crossed so I got the city lights instead of scenic San Fran bay, which I guess wasn’t that unfortunate after all for the beauty was all in its own.

The drive into San Francisco was pretty cool, always being on a downhill slope, and the 1 takes you directly through downtown San Fran. Its always fun to take the trip right through the heart of the big cities. That’s what trips are all about in the end aren’t they?

Once through San Fran, I found myself a bit off the coast, so it required a little bit of winding to make my way back to the coast. I B-Lined it over to Pacifica so I could get right back onto the US1 and the coast to capture more scenic photographs, which was the goal of my trip; do the coast the entire way.

By this time one notices that the landscape is slowly turning to more dessert type vegetation, and for me I saw my first palm trees about 1km outside of the California State border. Its weird how that goes.. Although, when I was driving along the coast everything was still very green, but once the road took me in land a while, there were signs everywhere for the dunes.

Santa Cruz is a cool town, which the US1 takes you directly through. I stopped here for to find a grocery store that could supply me with the vegetables and fruits that I needed to stay alive! I’ve started big time to support Clif Bars, which give amazing nutrients, cheaply, and organically.

I soon found myself in Big Sur, weaving through this beautiful stretch of heavily forested & beautiful coastline view roads. I must have pulled over once every km or so to stop at the turn out and take pictures. It was so amazing, and if I ever have a chance to retire from the regular way of things, I think I will choose an area like Big Sur to live. As long as I’d get a nice patch of land to grow my veges on! Apparently its one of the top areas in the world that scientists say will be gone soon. They say because of the rising tide, but really, there were very big cliffs at spots to get down to the water.

After rolling through Big Sur, I ran into a big parking lot that had a tonne of sea lions beached, just chilling there; relaxing with each other and enjoying the surf. It was an amazing thing to see from this close, since usually the only exposure to the animals is either in a zoo, or from a boat thats about 20ft off a rocky island that idles safely at a distance. I literally could have walked out and amongst the giant animals, but I choose to stay on the human side of the fence…. segregation?

The highway soon smoothed out, and pleasantly I cruised on along towards the final destination happy and content with the warm sun beating down through the sun roof in the car.

Totally content so far on the trip, I was feeling lucky and rather blissful. It may have just been the drain of entering into the land of the sun, but I think it was due to the enjoyment I was having on the trip. Going down the coast, seeing all these sights and beautiful coastline photos was literally fairly dreamy. I hope I will remember all that I saw, and all that I went though, but I also have lots of photographs to remember it by.

You all should do the trip.

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