Monday, June 16, 2008

California: The Drive

When Chad proposed that we start our San Francisco vacation in LA and drive up the coast, I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea, but I also thought it sounded like something you would only want to do once in a lifetime. I thought it would be one of those "you've seen one coastline, you've seen them all" types of situations. I thought it would be a beautiful yet slightly tedious drive. I thought I would never have the urge to drive it again--and I was completely wrong.

I really think that next time we go to California I want to make that beautiful drive again. Chad might disagree, especially since he was the one doing all of the difficult driving on narrow, winding roads. It probably wasn't nearly as fun for him. I enjoyed the beautiful sights and scenery so much because I was just able to kick back and relax and take it all in!

Our morning drive started at about 7 a.m., so traffic wasn't too bad getting out of Los Angeles. We got on the 101 fairly quickly and were very lucky because most of the heavy traffic was headed into the city that we were leaving! We headed through the area just north of Malibu, and even though we were several miles away from the actual town on the coast, I could easily see why it's such a popular place. The area was full of rolling hills and beautiful vegetation. Someday I'd love to go back there and visit!

Our first actual stop was in Santa Barbara, which is about 2 hours away from LA. We parked near their cute little downtown and walked around looking for a local bakery of some sort where we could eat some breakfast. Unfortunately we didn't find anything quaint and local, so we ended up getting some muffins at Starbucks instead. So much for experiencing new and different things.

Just north of Santa Barbara was one of the most scenic places we saw that wasn't right along the ocean. We decided to head north on highway 154 instead of staying on the 101, just to cut a little time off the trip before we got to the most popular part of the coastal highway. I'm so glad we took this road instead of going on the 101 the whole way. This area was very mountainous, and about the time we got up into the higher elevations we came upon this beautiful lake nestled right in a little valley with a mountain right beside it. It was called Lake Chachuma, and there was a little recreation area and cabins and canoes out on the water. It was just so breathtaking I absolutely loved it! Someday I'd love to go back there and visit!

One thing I didn't know about this particular area of California is that it has it's own version of wine country. We passed vineyard after vineyard after vineyard and it was all so gorgeous. I don't know if the wine from that area is any good, but the landscapes are absolutely beautiful!

After hooking back into the 101 a few miles up the road, our plan was to veer off onto the coastal highway (Highway 1) at San Luis Obispo. However, in the preceding town we stopped off at the California visitor's center for map and some other brochures. I was so busy looking through the travel guides I completely missed our turn onto Highway 1, which I thought would be 10 miles or so up the road, but was apparently a lot sooner! I was so mad at myself for not paying attention (especially since my only job was navigator), but on our Highway 46 detour we stopped at the most beautiful scenic overlook that we would have totally missed otherwise. This place was absolutely gorgeous, with the most incredible view of a cattle-filled valley as well as the mountains and the ocean off in the distance. I guess my unintentional detour was well worth it in the end!

I'm guessing that half of my audience has probably dozed off during my riveting story about driving. Since I'm about to doze off myself, I guess I'd better stop babbling for the night! I promise I'll try to provide fewer details in the next chapter of our vacation. At this rate I won't get finished until July!

1 comment:

Tish said...

no i totally loved reading this and i live here! it is lovely in all its splendor isn't it? i heart cali today!!! (blog to come on this very topic)