We started our epic Road Trip from Los Angeles. After we picked up The Beast, we were ready to hit the road. The plan was to go along the California Coast, visit some National Parks and Forest and then eventually head inland for some more National Parks. Yes, lots of National Parks.
Our first drive was towards the town of Ventura. I have to say this, the LA traffic is nuts! Speeding, cutting lanes, not indicating, tying a tie, applying make up and loud music. WOW. It took us a while to get used to the madness around us. Eventually we were in a supermarket and stocking our camper with food and drinks.
Driving on California 1, which is along the California Coast, we arrived at Emma Wood State Beach. The beach looked amazing. Massive waves, full wet suit clad surfers and runners all along enjoying the ocean. We were all excited and decided to take a dip. Singing California Gurls, we changed to our swimmers and stepped in the water. IT WAS COLD! WHATTTTT. This can’t be the Cali beach we heard about in songs. Oh and another bummer. There were homeless people around so it wasn’t the safety to be roaming around till dark. But the first night sleep on the cozy cozy bed was amazing.
The sun rose and we woke up to beautiful warm sun rays and sound of the waves. After eating some cereals for brekky and updating our blog, we were on the road towards Santa Barbara. The other exciting thing was – we had no idea where we would sleep that night!
Driving on California 1, we made plenty of stops along beaches before finally getting to Santa Barbara. After a great meal and some drinks, we headed towards Los Padres National Forest to find a camp site. Luckily we did! And also lit our first camp fire. A great day indeed!
We were slowly making our way to Big Sur. I had a campsite booked at San Simeon State Park and we decided to visit Saint Ynez Wine Country and the Town of Solvang. The wineyards looked pretty under the shining sun, clear skies and mountains around. But it was Solvang that blew our mind! Solvang is a Danish town in the middle of California. The barns, the windmills and the souvenirs, the town has it all! It was like visiting some town in Denmark.
Big Sur is the famous stretch of California Coast between the towns of San Simeon and Carmels. To simplify, it could be compared to the Great Ocean Road. However, the comparison isn’t fair as the Big Sur is more famous, more beautiful (in my humble opinion) and more untouched (because of the Parks along the coast).
Waking up on Sunday, it was Shruti’s birthday and we were heading to Big Sur! We started driving from San Simeon early in the morning to enjoy the view and get a campsite. Again we had no bookings so we had to try our luck! But we had to stop when we got to the Elephant Seal Sanctuary. We had seen Sea Lions in Galapagos but the Elephant Seals were louder and wayy bigger! In fact the males could easily be 300 kilos.
As we left the sanctuary, the road turned to a windy mountainous road but the view got better and better. One of the reasons I said the Big Sur is better than Great Ocean Road is that there are no trees on the side of the road and there are pullouts every few miles. This means that you have a better view during the drive but you also have a better opportunity for photos. The view of Big Sur amazed us each time we passed a bend! We couldn’t believe our eyes.
While enjoying the view, we were getting anxious about a campsite. A popular stretch like Big Sur had limited campgrounds and they are likely to fill up quickly. We passed by the first campground and it had a FULL sign, not encouraging. We passed the Kirk Creek Campground and thought the same would be the case. But I thought we should ask the camp host and turned The Beast around. They had a spot!!! What a win!
We had a spot just above the Pacific Ocean. As Shruti prepared dinner, I got the camp fire going and we enjoyed the evening with the stunning view of the sunset and beers. It wasn’t an expensive birthday celebration but it was priceless.
To end our rendezvous with the California Coast, we visited the Marine Parks and Sand Dunes along the coast. We also saw the California Sea Lions and Sea Otters chilling in the water. The otters in particular were very cute. It was a great few days spent on the California Coast!
Golden Gate Bridge
We weren’t supposed to visit San Fransisco till the end of our road trip. That meant, no driving over the Golden Gate Bridge and no photos of the bridge with the car. Shruti wasn’t happy about that! So I decided to alter the plan. We decided to passed through San Fransisco on the way to Napa (more in next post).
The traffic getting into and out of the city was insane! Jams everywhere. After dealing with the traffic for over an hour, we were finally on the bridge. It was sooo worth it!
We then headed to a few top viewing spots for the bridge. The crazy chilly wind in June were giving us shivers. But boy, it was all worth it.