I found it hard to keep my eyes on the centerline as we drove along the most scenic coastal road in California, Big Sur’s Highway 1.
After leaving the Trona Pinnacles (see our last post) we quickly crossed the San Joaquin valley and spent the night in the Carrizo Plains National Monument. The park is nothing but fields of green and the wildflowers were beginning to bloom. We must come back here someday.
We then cross the coastal range and find ourselves at Morro Bay on the Pacific Ocean. As we turn north up Highway 1 we realize the current weather and the 7 day forecast look outstanding!
We are on a mission… the goal is to get our good friends Brad and Brenda back to the Sacramento area within a few days and see as much of this glorious coastline as possible.
Earlier in the trip Brad had expressed concern about the size of their motorhome and the narrow sinuosity of Highway 1.
I reminded him that Polychrome Pass, the narrow, windy gravel road he managed for over 30 years in Denali National Park, was half the width.
He relaxed and drove it like a pro!
As we progress up the coast we stop to take in the grandeur of Hearst Castle. Then on to view the Elephant Seal rookeries. It was mating season on the beach and things were getting exciting.
North of Ragged Point we enjoy lunch in a wide pullout with magnificent views of the coast.
It was in the mid 70’s with a light breeze and puffy clouds. Due to recent El Nino rains the surrounding hills were vivid green with wild flowers blooming everywhere and gray whales cruising northbound just off shore….we had found paradise!
Traveling without reservations we found Pheiffer Big Sur State Park full but we scored a nice quiet corner all to ourselves in the overflow parking area.
Since it was our last night together we decided to splurge and have dinner at Nepenthe, a historic restaurant just south of the state park.
For those of you who have not experienced Nepenthe we recommend dinner and a sunset… something you will never forget.
There is also a gift shop with stunning local art for sale but most importantly the restaurant is situated on the top of the knoll with one of the best views of the Big Sur coast.
They present a fantastic menu and are best known for their Ambrosia burger.
The next morning Brad and Brenda had to head north and we decide to retrace our route south.
We travel back down the coast to Kirk Creek Campground where we were able to get one of the last remaining campsites. This is a very popular campground.
Its location situated on the edge of a cliff overlooking the pounding surf makes for some breathtaking camping.
We spend the next week exploring the wild coast of Big Sur.
We hike its coastal trails, we wander up its Redwood lined Creeks, we laze in the green grass and the pups play in the surf… truly a paradise!
During our wanderings we find a spectacular boondocking site located just above the coast road and spend several days on our own enjoying the fantastic views up and down the coast.
Our most memorable moment came when we spotted 7 endangered California Condors flying just above the road and out over the surf.
For 30 minutes we watched as the largest bird in North America circled overhead. They never once flapped their wings… truly a magical moment and one we have been waiting many years for. (sorry no photos)
We felt very fortunate to have experienced such glorious conditions along the Big Sur coast.
In the last 40 years we have driven this route many times. Often in a driving rain or a thick fog but this trip was exceptionally wonderful.
Brad and Brenda were very lucky to have experienced this coast for their first time with blue skies, warm temperatures, green hillsides and glassy seas.
We had great fun driving the grand loop with them and hope we can travel with them again in the future.
Don’t miss our latest video “Breezin’ Along The Big Sur”
Pop in the ear buds, crank up the volume and be sure to view it in 1080hd
Next we are off to see the Super Bloom in Death Valley
Keep you posted…….