Californian highway Big Sur bonanza

Trip Start Aug 28, 2010
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12
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Heading back on to Highway 1 South we drove back past Carmel and on towards Bixby Bridge. . The drive had been beautiful the day before so it was nice to get off the 'freeway' and on to the coastal road, It was as imagined, winding roads following the Californian coast. It was a bit more windy then I expected - I assumed instant sunshine and heat in California. Wasn't completely like that but when the clouds cleared, the clear skies really stood out against the vast Pacific Ocean. We took lots of small stops at points along the way but our first main stop was at Andrew Molera state park. We took a walk along to a crossroad and were faced with an example of the tough choices we're having to make on a day to day basis. We ended up walking to where the Big Sur river meets the rocky Ocean. The sun was getting lower in the sky so we quickly headed back to make it to Pfeiffer beach. A 2 mile diversion off the highway it led to a long beach surrounded by rock arch formations. It was definitely worth it for the view. Unfortunately it was probably the windiest it had been for weeks and Tim and I were treated to a serious exfoliation as we were confronted by near-sandstorms. The winds were fierce and unexpected. Usually happy to brave the elements, it was actually too painful to check out the whole stretch of beach so we only managed to walk into the wind for 10 minutes before being pushed along in its path on our way out! The beach was amazing though and in a way it was like a free spa session so how can we complain? It's a fave spot for sunsets, maybe we'll come back one day when it's a little calmer!

Next day was quite mellow, we stopped in at a restaurant called Nepenthe which had awesome food and stunning views over the ocean. We both agreed it was probably one of if not the nicest locations we've ever eaten a meal at.

Following a hearty lunch we headed back on Highway 1. Faced with seriously winding roads and 15 mph speed limits we weren't getting anywhere fast. However after seeing parts of the ocean road had crumbled into the sea at points and facing many blind corners we were more than happy to take in a leisurely slow drive. We continued down stopping at the odd Vista point for more wicked coastal views. Our favourite stop was as the sun was setting with masses of kelp by the rocky waters, we saw sealions basking in the shallow waters by the shoreline, playing and splashing around and making all kinds of sea-lion noises! They were drawing quite a crowd so we decided to head back down on our way to San Luis Obito - a quiet town with a huge student influence that make up 50% of the town's population. We checked into the Peach inn motel - complete with TV and complimentary access to old school movies on VHS, it was our first proper US motel stop, wahoo! While there we went into some local areas, Avila - a cool little town with a very colourful village market, Port San Luis which was a great and historic fishing harbour, and then stopped for lunch at the Cracked crab restaurant in Pismo beach. This place was a little bit mad, you order a big bucket of seafood and they literally dump it on the table. ..Empty it out and let you go hammering at crab claws and making a huge mess. We even had plastic bibs which were super stylish! No messing around here! We also checked out an evening farmers market which was packed with people, had lots of food, entertainment and loads of live bands playing on side streets. Very nice town and not just for its location at one end of the Big Sur.
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