Road Trip: California Coast Part Two
*This post is a continuation of Part 1 of the trip I took up and down the coast of California with AP and Krystal*
PART TWO!!!! I felt like we got into a groove by Sunday and ready to take on the next adventures out of San Francisco. Part two covers San Francisco to Santa Margarita (technically we had a fifth day of just driving straight back to Los Angeles a couple hours).
We began our day driving over the Golden Gate Bridge to another part of San Francisco: Muir Woods. More specifically, the Muir Woods National Monument. It's like what I imagine Winnie the Pooh's One Hundred Acre Woods are like but with many more tall trees. With the same kind of magic though.
We saw a deer, found out that this was where the United Nations had a memorial service in honor of Theodore Roosevelt, watched AP attempt many parkour moves and just enjoyed the immensity of the Redwood trees that surrounded us. It was absolutely stunning. The trees. And AP's attempt at trying to jump off the treed hills.
Krystal had insisted that there was this really cool, sort of secret, small hike off of the windy road we took to get to Muir Woods and that it included an incredible view at the top that had some beautiful pool of water as well.
Not sure that we ever found that exact hike, but we did find a promising path that seemed familiar to Krystal and that led us to the top of a hill that looked over the road and the land around us. So no pool of water, but still #worthit.
We also had a natural fan blowing through our hair (aka wind) that made for good photos, and also scary moments of getting kind of feeling we might be pushed down the hill we were on.
Crossing back through the Golden Gate Bridge is always a treat. I mean, passing through it the first time was cool too. From a distance the bridge stands out because it's red and it feels important because you just see it on almost everything associated with San Francisco. But once you're on the bridge, driving or walking, it's got it's own enormous credibility to it of how did they build this?!
Also, fair warning: there's a toll any time you cross the bridge. I didn't know. And then I got sent a nice money request that actually doubled because they apparently didn't receive the first payment. So pay quickly, get the receipt and double check that it's paid.
We also made some time before going to the wrong church #sabbathdaygoals and then making it to the right one about 15 minutes before it was over, to go to the row of the famous Victorian and Edwardian houses also known as the Painted Ladies. We parked. We saw. We took a picture. We got back in the car.
I love the cable lines. It's a San Francisco treat.
Sidenote: We had a goal on that Sunday to not go on social media. So no Snapchat video from the day.
Our final destination on Sunday was getting to our campsite for the night in Big Sur. We wanted to get there before it was dark so it was basically a straight drive.
AP had reserved the campsite through Airbnb (Since AP reserved it, I'm not sure the exact one we used, but this one sounds accurate) and I was pretty skeptical about it. At first it seemed kind of a rip-off to be paying extra for a camp site we could have reserved ourselves with the exception that they set up the tent.
But then... we arrived at Big Sur Campgrounds and Cabins. And we drove to our designated site. There was a tent set up, a little campfire, some lights on the picnic table that changed color at night. From the outside though, you wouldn't realize how much space there was inside the tent. When we entered and saw three FULL BEDS, a care package of s'mores and realized the mattresses were memory foam and OH SO COMFORTABLE and the blankets so soft, we realized this is the kind of camping/glamping you can never go back from. My camping expectations are so high now. It was the best. The coolest. The most fun. And we didn't even need to pack up in the morning!
The funniest part that night — aside from shining my cell phone light in their faces before they went to bed — was that one of my very best friends, Brittney, went into labor that night. THAT night. The one night I'm in Big Sur where there's little to no signal. So all I got was a voicemail that must have come through at some random patch of signal while I was driving, from her husband Scott letting me know that she was at the hospital, probably going to have the baby that night. I was FREAKING out. There was a payphone at the camp site and after it took me ten minutes (not exaggerating) to figure out that you put the money in first and then dial the number (or maybe it was the other way around... still don't know for sure) it worked and I was able to call him and leave a voicemail. And then just pretend I wasn't nervous the rest of the night wondering how everything was going.
Our social media game was back on Monday so you have a little snippet of what that tent was like.
After waking up in the morning in camping luxury, we packed up and went to get some breakfast at the nearby Ripplewood Cafe.
The first hike of the day was through Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. You do have to pay an entrance fee, but they offer some good hikes such as the Pfeiffer Falls hike and the Valley View. It took us to a waterfall and then up to see some expansive views at the lookout bench.
At one point, AP climbed a tree and almost jumped down on Krystal to scare her. Glad she didn't get to that second part.
The coastal drive itself is really one of the best parts of visiting Big Sur. There are no bad views.
My favorite site we saw was the one below: McWay Falls. Parking on the side of the road, you could see the falls from the distance. At one time, the waterfall went directly into the ocean. Now it falls onto the sand below. There's no safe way to actually get to the sand (AP tried) but even from a distance — that blue turquoise water, the greenery, rocks... I think seeing people there would ruin the magic of that little oasis. Appreciating it from a distance is enough.
The trail that you can take to get closer looks wasn't too far from where we parked. And at the end of the trail there's the remains of a house that used to have this incredible view every day and some history associated with that and Julia Pfeiffer which you can also read more about here.
Shout-out to God and the gospel, including the Book of Mormon (pictured below), which got us through this trip! In all seriousness though, as mentioned in the first post, having the spiritual goals we set out at the beginning really changed our perspective on the trip in the best way. AP and I are also converts to the church — neither of us grew up in it and we were both baptized around the same time five and a half years ago, just in different parts of the country. AP's story about addiction and recovery was published recently in a newspaper article, and they actually used the picture below. She's incredible. And so is her story. You should get to know her better. Read it here.
And look how casual and cool Krystal is. Sitting there with her awesome backpack and sweet sunglasses. She also has an incredible story. Not published yet. But one day.
And look how cool this snake is... ha. But actually it was really funny to see people freak out about this snake who just came out of some stones and slithered it's way across the path. It was like he wanted to pose for some photos.
The three of us!
On our way to the KOA in Santa Margarita, we stopped in San Luis Obispo. We attempted to do the Bishop Peak hike but it was getting dark fast, and we didn't feel safe, so AP opted to go (she's way faster than Krystal and I) and kind of made it to the top. She really regretted it later though after she had fallen at some point into a patch of poison ivy. After she got back to Nashville the itching got bad. She's all clear now though! And we still enjoyed the ice cream and gum wall in the downtown area.
Arriving at the KOA in the dark was a little creepy. I was a also stressed because it was hard to see which place was even our cabin and everything was closed. Once we figured it out though we had so much fun. The mattresses weren't memory foam, but we made do.
After almost losing the key in the morning (it somehow got to the bottom of our food bag?), we got the best breakfast of our whole trip at Southern Station before going the rest of the way back to Los Angeles.
To one of my very favorite trips with two favorite people. #californiacoasting #pchroadgoals #itookabusonce (<— the lead in a very anti-climatic story Krystal told us at the beginning of the trip. Did not reflect the end of our trip.)