The Pacific Coast Highway: From LA to San Fran
When you combine 5 friends, 1 RV, 12 days and 1368 miles, you know you have one epic road trip on your hands. The five of us reunited in Los Angeles at the start of April. Two of the boys had flown up from Mexico (Spring Break!), one from Australia, and Shauna and I were defrosting from our magical week in New York. We picked up the RV, our home for the next 2 weeks, and began the trip north to Santa Barbara, our first stop. Our plan was to take the coast slowly, driving along the Pacific Coast Highway (a coastal drive that I've dreamed about doing for years) from Los Angeles to San Francisco. We had a vague idea of where we were going, but none of us really knew what we were about to see.
The Pacific Coast Highway is a drive of EPIC proportions. The road winds and hugs the cliffs, and we couldn't help but stare in awe as we passed by the most beautiful coastal parks. Sometimes when we were able to pull over, we all scrambled out of the RV and ran to the edge of the cliff to take pictures for a few moments and breathe it all in. My favourite section of the PCH was the Big Sur region. The highway cut inland, briefly leaving the coast, and all of a sudden we found ourselves driving through a deep redwood forest. It was fascinating to me that a forest like this would sit so calmly beside the ocean. That night we camped by a river among the redwoods.
The next day we continued to make our way north along the coast. We stopped at McWay Falls, an 80ft waterfall that flows onto the beach, and one of the California's only coastal waterfalls. I had seen photographs of this place before, but I had no idea how stunning this sight would be until I was standing in front of it. The beach can only be accessed via boat, so you're looking down onto this perfect private oasis, and it is absolutely perfect. A waterfall crashing onto a beach?! It was just so beautiful - I can't really describe it so I'll let the photographs speak for themselves.
Next up, just north of Big Sur, was the Bixby Bridge - one of the tallest, single span concrete bridges in the world, and one of the PCH's main tourist attractions. It was hard to sneak in to get photographs as there were so many people stopping, trying to get the shot. The bridge itself is quite magnificent, but I think its the location that makes this place special. We took a few snaps and were on our way again.
The boys had said they wanted to stop in at Santa Cruz before arriving in San Francisco. Now this is a cool little place. I hadn't heard much about it before, but the boys told me it was famous for it's skateboard & surf history. We pulled up at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which is home to one of the last great seaside amusement parks in the US. The boardwalk has been going since 1907, and even has a huge charming old wooden rollercoaster that was built in 1924. Shauna and I bought some fairy floss and sat by the beach soaking up the sunshine, laughing and enjoying the old-school feel of the amusement park. It's been so long since I've had fairy floss, but it was just as sweet and sticky as I remember.
That afternoon we arrived in beautiful San Francisco. I've been to San Fran a couple of times now, but I loved seeing the famous painted-ladies again and walking Fisherman's Wharf with my friends. We stayed in San Fran for 3 days and made our plans for the second half our road trip.. if it was anything like the first half, we were in for something incredible.