The Big Trip: Pacific Coast Highway

From Las Vegas we headed further west towards the Pacific coast. We had initially planned to drive through Death Valley and heading north through Yosemite National Park before reaching San Francisco.  Unfortunately we were not able to visit either due to weather restrictions we were not able to visit Yosemite so we changed our route and headed in a more southerly direction instead.

Our first port of call was Bakersfield.  We didn’t get to check out the town, it was literally just an overnight stop to allow us the full day to explore the Pacific Coast Highway.

From Bakersfield we drove towards Santa Barbara through the orchards outside Bakersfield and the Los Padres National Forest.  The drive through the forest was beautiful and the drive on the winding road down the other side of the mountains was spectacular, if a little nerve-racking at some points.

We finally hit the ocean when we reached Santa Barbara.  We stopped by the beach to eat lunch and the sea air before heading on our way again.

We decided to make a small detour away from the coast and head to a city called Solvang, which a friend had recommended we visit.  The city is a Danish colony and many buildings have traditional facades.  We popped into a bakery for a quick treat and a coffee before going off and exploring.  We spent a little while wandering and window shopping in the quaint stores before we had to go on our way.

Our overnight stop for this portion of the drive was in Morro Bay, a small tourist town.  It may have been because we were travelling out of season but we really struggled to find somewhere to eat in the evening.  It wasn’t even that late and the vast majority of restaurants had already closed.  We ended up at The Libertine, if you happen to be in the area be sure to see if you can spot our “We Packed Our Bags” dollar bill!  After checking out in the morning, we walked back down to the harbour to see the “Rock” and to see if we could spot the seals we’d heard the previous night.

We then made our way to the coastal state road heading north towards our next port of call, Monterey Bay.  We were lucky enough to see a large breeding colony of elephant seals.  We had no idea we would be in for such a treat and were so happy to see all the little babies enjoying the sunshine with their mums and dads.

After passing through Big Sur, we spotted a couple of gray whales just off the coast, such an amazing sight especially as we saw them whilst on the road.

Our last activity before reaching Monterey Bay was to drive along the scenic 17-Mile Drive.  The road takes you through the gated community of Pebble Beach and you get a map with different points of interest to stop at.  The entrance fee is $10 but you can recoup this cost if you dine or shop within the community.

That’s it for this update, if you haven’t seen our videos be sure to check them out here and here.

Finally, here are a few of our favourite photos from our trip.

 photo Solvang_2_zpsfihqs0vh.jpg

 photo Solvang_1_zpsa69heyz7.jpg

 photo Pacific_Coast_Highway_zpsd9wdzei8.jpg

 photo Elephant_Seal_1_zpsoq3zhene.jpg

 photo Elephant_Seal_2_zpssogwe2oq.jpg

 photo Pacific_Coast_Highway_2_zpsfku6fvza.jpg

 photo 17_Mile_Drive_1_zpss4x2knah.jpg

 photo 17_Mile_Drive_2_zpsseuu0z83.jpg

 photo 17_Mile_Drive_3_zpsp59rsuud.jpg

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