California Adventure: The Big Sur

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Okay, oh boy. NOT what we had hoped nor expected, but if you like spills and thrills with your travel, then this post is for you.

After leaving San Francisco and Carmel-on-Sea, on our California Adventure, we headed south on the inimitable (okay, the Great Ocean Road will give it a run for its driving money) Big Sur coastal drive, destination: Santa Barbara.

This drive is a decent 358km (223 miles) but what makes it hairy is the cliff-top roadway, plenty of stomach-churning bends, and hardly any (as we soon found out) places to stop. Or refuel. Yes, we stupidly started this trip dangerously low on petrol, and with a hyperventilating mother in the front seat and nauseous kids in the backseat, this was one challenging drive.

Not only that - we had seriously bad weather. Think: lashing rain, howling wind that snuck its fingers under the chassis of our car and menacingly threatened to launch our little silver bullet into the pumelling ocean below.

With many a missing roadside barrier between car and car-cracking rocks/ocean below, and with not a single exit point on this road for 154km (96 miles), it might be worth noting that once you're on this rollercoaster ride, trust me, unless you turn around, you are stuck.

I think we saw ONE other car on this entire journey - testament to the intelligence of everyone else except us. And when we finally stopped at Cambria for a thirst-gasping petrol refill and some lunch, let's just say the delicious clam chowder was the highlight of this hairy journey...

...until we began the drive down into Morro Bay and Pismo Beach, that is. That's when we saw the seals. Masses of them. At first we thought they were smooth, fat rocks. But instead, they were our silver beacon, and as they appeared, the weather began to clear.

A lovely man also materialised as we pit-stopped for a roadside gawp; he was a ranger and spent some time telling us about these amazing creatures and how they arrive to birth their pups in January.

Despite the seriously hair-raising nature of this trip, we loved the experience of driving the Big Sur. Next time, we hope for sunny, fine weather and a better view of this incredibly beautiful part of the US western coastline.

Just another reason to go back.

Stay tuned for our arrival at Santa Barbara...

California Adventure: The Streets of San Francisco - Day One
California Adventure: The Streets of San Francisco - Day Two
California Adventure: The Streets of San Francisco - Day Three
California Adventure: The Streets of San Francisco - Day Four
California Adventure: Carmel-on-Sea
California Adventure: Santa Barbara Day One
California Adventure: Santa Barbara Day Two
California Adventure: Santa Monica & Hollywood Hills

1 comment:

Porcelain Pieces said...

Still great pics - despite the weather!

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