Road Trip: California Coast Part One
So listen. I know I share a lot of road trips on here, and each one is truly unique and fun and it's super cool to see so many amazing things with amazing people, but I think this four day road trip will particularly go down in my memory as one of my personal favorites. I laughed SO MUCH with these two girls (who had never met previous to this trip) and it wasn't even so much about what we were doing, but just that I got to spend so much time with these two car singing and dancing, getting tired and lost, taking lots of photos that they didn't want to take but posed for anyways (I just got my new camera lens at the time so it took a lot of patience trying to figure it out), and each of us bringing our honest selves to this.
In addition, we began with a prayer and also a small list of goals we wanted to keep in mind and emphasize on this trip. Within those goals was an intention of seeing Heavenly Father's hand in our journey and on His Earth, and doing a social media fast on Sunday — not looking at Instagram, Facebook etc. for the entire day.
Setting goals like that and keeping our faith within our journey is something I want to include on all my trips going forward. It really made such a beautiful difference. Even if I was tired when Anne Parkes suggested doing it the night before we headed out and I kind of thought it was cheesy. She was inspired.
That's where the trip really started. The night before.
Anne Parkes (aka AP) and Krystal had arrived. We went to meet a friend of AP's for dinner at this amazing sushi place called Sugarfish — which was kind of dark so the one photo I took doesn't do it justice, but this place was so so good if you're looking for a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles. I split my meal with Krystal so it was cheaper (it's a little pricey), and we got what we wanted.
And because we were celebrating ... ummm... being in Los Angeles together(do we need a reason for dessert?) we also went to Milk after and got incredible desserts. That was when the laughing started. I was in tears laughing. And I don't even know why.
Part one of our trip takes us from Los Angeles to San Francisco where we stayed for one day and two nights before heading back south on a Sunday.
Below is the map of our journey north with all the stops, and what we did in San Francisco the first day. You can also check out another amazing California Coast road trip that features many of these things and a little bit more.
And this was the very beginning...
Our first stop was Solvang. It's close to Santa Barbara — which is another cute place to stop if you have the time.
Solvang though is like traveling to a Danish Village, so you really get two trips in one! But seriously, stop by the emu farm on the way (AP and Krystal weren't too psyched about the large birds so we skipped that one this time) and then take some time to walk around the town and eat at a restaurant with some Danish food options.
I loved seeing farm land and rolling hills — a little bit more yellow than green because of the drought.
And I also love Avila Valley Barn. I visit here every time I go on a coast road trip because it's just so fun to see all the animals. In my original California Coasting post, we went at a time where they had hayrides into the farm and you could pick apples. This time, I was really fascinated by this chicken they had that just exuded a lot of attitude. And a lot of feathery fluff.
Next stop is spotting the elephant seals at San Simeon. They're very big to say the least.
Another nearby attraction here is the Hearst Castle (also talked about in this post). We really wanted to take a tour but time was limited and we opted to spend more time being able to really see the coast before the sunset.
And so began the real coastal part of the trip.
There's not much more I can say about exactly where to stop along the way aside from stopping by the historic Bixby Bridge. There's turn-outs all throughout the coast where you can safely pull over and admire the view. We just chose places based on where I didn't want to get into an accident because I was looking at the ocean instead of the road so much. We also chose one turn-out based on the parked old VW van that screamed "best road trip coast car ever".
The other place you definitely want to see at some point — going up or down — is McWay Falls. We stopped on our way back down (it would have been too dark by the time we reached it going up) but I just want to mention it now in case you don't make it to part 2.
Just make sure you leave enough time to really enjoy all these views before it gets too dark. Because there's a lot of coast, and a lot of ocean. And you won't get tired of any of it. I promise.
San Francisco!!!! WE MADE IT. All in one piece. I usually don't stay very long in San Francisco. My family took a trip up when I was younger and we went to all the "must-see's" like Alcatraz, and I liked it, but I've never left my heart there as the saying goes. I figured this time I'd spend more time in the city and get to know it better. So we spent an entire day of our trip here. And honestly, one day barely touches the surface of San Francisco.
Also, as far as sleeping arrangements. AP was set on getting an Airbnb, which I had never done before so I gave it a try. It was pretty nice and it was comfortable. Our hosts were great and it was in a cool neighborhood. I still love hostels though, and there was a hostel that was really close to a lot of things we did in Fisherman's Wharf and had awesome parking. I know because we bicycled past it.
Our first objective of the day, after I attempted to give AP a French braid, was breakfast. We thought walking would be a great way to see the city and save on an Uber. Boy were we right. And also so exhausted and hungry by the time we actually got somewhere that didn't have the longest brunch line ever. Forty minutes later I was ordering the General Hooker Breakfast from Frjtz and it turned out to be everything I could ever want or need.
We got far. But not far enough. After some difficulties with endurance and contacts due to wind resistance, we decided it was best to keep our vision for another time and turned back to the rental place. It was still a fun ride. For me anyways.
AP and I had previously made reservations for a GoCar tour of San Francisco. You get to drive around this little go-kart thing and wear the coolest helmets and choose between two different routes to see San Francisco from the streets. It was pretty awesome, although a little scary at times. Just being a little Gocar in a great city of big cars.
Our final place of eating was Capurro's — chosen mostly because of it's vicinity to Fisherman's Wharf and it seemed to have good credentials.
I was SO EXCITED to see Marissa and her boyfriend Alex who met us here to say hi. Marissa and I were suite-mates when I studied abroad in Rome.
It was a pretty epic way to spend the day in San Fran.