Coastal Road Trip Expedition Part 1:
California Coast * Mavericks and Pebble Beach* Streetart
It’s an adventurers dream to make the road trip of 2700 miles, visiting 3 states, and sleeping in 7 different cities. Not to mention capturing over 1000 images of stunning landscapes, blue crystal waters, and impressive giant trees and nature trails. I hope I got your attention, because that is exactly what we did to kick off our first timer experience on this extraordinary coastal road trip route. We went road trippin along the coast on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), Highway 1 the path along the pacific ocean coastline consisting of some of the worlds’ most beautiful scenery.
The scenery along the southern California coast is magical, although overcast conditions were presented to us as we began on our journey through southern to central California. Which is sometimes typical of southern California weather, the marine layer can come in along the coast and is usually burn off by noon. We proceeded onward with our trip heading north.
But before I continue to share more of our incredible experience, I want to explain a brief overview of the planning and preparation we put into this trip.
Our goals and dilemmas consisted of the following:
- Quality of sleep and rest in a comfortable, safe, and clean hotel.
- Allowing for about 6-8 hours of driving a day only~making sure to get enough rest.
- Not paying too much for lodging.
- Food and meals: I have food sensitivities so I am limited to which restaurants and types of food I eat. (Gluten, wheat, dairy, peanut/legume)
- The quantity of food for all breakfasts and lunches. (Great for budget travel)
- Return flight – limiting the number of bags and other things. (since I had to bring all this food)
- The type of cooler to bring: disposable one. (Since we had a return flight).
The meals planned for each day were as follows:
Breakfast: Hotel breakfast for my husband, I ate Cheerios and granola together with the
Almond Milk of which I brought.
Lunch: Deli cut lean turkey meat (I brought this also)-using Gluten Free bread for me;
and a peanut butter sandwich for my husband. And tortilla chips.
Dinner: Denny’s or Mexican Restaurants
Snacks: Fresh carrot, celery, cucumber slices. Almonds and Cashews. Tortilla chips, fruit
Lodging and Transportation: The planning of this trip was not that easy.
My husband is a premier member to the Choice Hotel chains, so one of our stays was free and we gained more points again for the entire week to receive another free room or two for another stay. We found that the most comfortable hotel that offers more value among the choice hotel chains is Comfort Inn. My husband made reservations in 7 different cities and researched on Google maps to the location of that hotel to see what restaurants were nearby, and if it appeared to be in a somewhat safe area. All of this went into the planning and preparation for our exciting coastal road trip on PCH Highway 1.
We also rented an economical car instead of driving our own vehicle. This ended up being affordable and saving wear and tear on my own vehicle, and our rental car was much more comfortable for those long days of sitting. Our plan was to drive back from Seattle to San Francisco and drop off the rental car and fly home from there. For some reason the Portland airport didn’t allow Dollar Car Rental return, and it was quite expensive to fly out of Seattle to return to San Diego, so San Francisco was where we drove back to and reserved a flight for $72 one way ticket for each.
Meals: Now this was a little tricky. Considering we had a car, we’re thinking we could bring everything that we needed for a road trip, but with a dilemma of an airline flight return home. So, I thought about the foods and snacks we eat and gathered enough for each day of the week using zip lock baggies, the amount of bread for sandwiches for each day’s lunch, and breakfast meals for me since I have food sensitivities. We would seek out certain restaurants for our dinners, and those include places such as Denny’s and Mexican Restaurants of which I can usually find healthy, gluten free options from those places.
We finally hit the road around 8:45a.m. after leaving our personal car at the car rental place nearby the airport and picked up the rental car. I noticed a few pieces of art in this car rental facility which I thought was very interesting. Look closely now, this art piece is comprised of several vehicle tail lights attached to the wall. Check out these photos:
Here is another art piece that caught my eye nearby the airport and they were moving as the wind speed increased.
As I mentioned earlier, the day was a bit overcast with some clouds and haze but at least the traffic was minimal driving through the LA area. It was quite a scene driving through Santa Monica, Malibu, and Santa Barbara as we proceeded making our way towards Monterey and the Pebble Beach area.
There are so many California towns and cities I remember hearing the names of over the years, but never really knew exactly where they were until we drove through them. It certainly was a treat to see some of these smaller cities and beach communities as we passed on by.
We finally made it to our goal stop and point of interest at Pebble Beach. My husband has already experienced Pebble Beach and has played Pebble Beach Golf Links many years ago and paid $250 for the round of golf and waited 8 hours to tee off. We learned how much a round of golf is today at that same course while chatting with the starter and it is not cheap, a whopping $525 for a round of golf.
PHOTOS: Pebble Golf Course
Prior to wondering in awe around the clubhouse and shops at that Pebble Beach golf course, we cruised on our way through the infamous 17-Mile Drive along with a $10 park entry fee. This is one of the most famous scenic drives in the world. We drove through a couple of the viewing stops such as Shepherds Knoll, Huckleberry Hill, and Poppy Hills Golf Course but made a quick visit at China Rock, Bird Rock, and Cypress Point, and not to mention the spectacular Lone Cypress. This is one of California’s most enduring landmarks and has withstood this rocky post for more than 250 years.
After a long day of driving, we rested for the night in Marina, California then awoke early and hit the road onward towards San Francisco. Santa Cruz was a neat town to buzz through as we saw quaint coffee shops and surfing boutiques. But our eventual place to see and visit was Half Moon Bay and Mavericks, the place where surfers take on epic big wave challenges and the Monster Mavericks big wave international surfing contests. Waves can sometimes reach up to 60 feet high!
There is a beautiful lighthouse on this point, of which the surfers head out to sea for about another couple miles then hope to catch that dream of giant waves.
Not only do surfers face the challenge of rough and cold waters here, but the climate is quite cool and cloudy many months of the year in this particular area.
After wandering around the surfers territory of Mavericks, we made it up to San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge. We missed our photo opportunity that day as it was fogged in and overcast so we just pressed onward heading north. At this point we are on the 101 freeway and found our next pit stop to rest. Santa Rosa was quite charming as we walked around for a bit and encountered a little street fair event with live music and vendors. I noticed a couple pieces of street art of which are a couple of my favorite characters in the cartoon Charlie Brown series. The weather in this part of California was spectacular feeling the breeze of refreshing coolness and the warm sun simultaneously.
To be continued…
*Check out my adventures in Hawaii and other places here:
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