for years i have been wanting to drive the pacific coast highway – or the 101 / highway 1 – in california, stopping along the way to take in the views and the beaches. when i was figuring out what i wanted to do with my week off in august, i decided it was finally time to make my way out west and hit the road. my parents decided to tag along, and last month we spent a week driving from los angeles to fort bragg and back, enjoying the scenery and the company and the time away from everyday life.
i will attempt to write some more in-depth posts in the coming weeks / months, but for today i would like to share a few of the biggest highlights from our trip:
hearst castle. william randolph’s sprawling estate overlooking san simeon was breathtaking. from the winding drive up the mountain to the gold inlay in the indoor swimming pool, no detail was overlooked in constructing the main house or the structures around it. when we got back to the visitor center at the end of our tour, my mother declared it “the experience of a lifetime”, and we all know mama swami is always right.
big sur. i have been dreaming of driving along the big sur coastline and seeing the bixby creek bridge in person for years. although the landslides earlier this year have made the area accessible only from the north, seeing it in person was totally worth the detour. and seeing the look of amazement on my mother’s face was the highlight of the day.
17-mile drive. known as one of the most scenic drives in the country, pebble beach’s 17-mile drive winds through the hills and hugs the coastline in all the right places. we drove slowly through most of the vistas, but we got out for a stroll at the inn at spanish bay and loved our little walk through the fog.
the crazy views along the coastline. every time we pulled over, we were taken aback by the views in every direction. when we were on highway 1 between muir beach and fort bragg, i loved how every turn brought a stunning new view into sight, and if we had a month instead of a week to make the drive, i might have stopped at every vista point and turnoff available. with views like that, how do you ever stop looking?
point arena lighthouse. i’m a sucker for a lighthouse, so when i learned the point arena lighthouse is the tallest one in the united states that allows visitors to climb all the way to the top, i was sold. it sits right at the point where california’s coast stops going northwest and switches to due north, and it was so cool to learn the history of the lighthouse and see the view from the top. that’s a spot i will remember for many years to come.
winchester mystery house. i first heard about the winchester mystery house on an old episode of stuff you missed in history class, so once we figured out our return route would take us through san jose, i immediately added it to our itinerary. walking through that house was such a trip, especially with those trademark doors opening to walls and staircases going to the ceiling. my mother loved the easy riser steps, and i am amazed no one ever got lost in that house and just withered away.
mosty unplugging. one of my main goals for this trip was to unplug, stay off my phone, and enjoy a real vacation. i didn’t check my email once while we were away, i think i logged onto facebook twice, and other than posting a few pictures on instagram and lining up our podcast playlist, i hardly picked up my phone. it was so nice to really disconnect from the real world and be present.
a weeklong road trip with my parents. this trip would not have been possible without them. i would have gone on my own, as i was planning to before they decided to join me, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun or as fruitful. they were the best travel companions, letting me choose everything we did and all the places we stayed and walking and roaming as much as i wanted. my journey was made infinitely better with their company, and i am beyond thankful that they came along.