I decided to drive along Highway 1 for the Fourth of July weekend. I was going to make it 4 days, but I got down to Morro Bay by the first night and decided I'd rather drive back up the next day. I considered going down to the beaches near LA, but I figured they'd be super crowded, and I don't particularly like salt water anyway. It was still a fun time.
First of all, here's a map I stole from here. I drove from SF to Monterey along various roads as Highway 1 was under construction, then stayed on 1 to Morrow Bay.
By Monterey there are places with tide pools, where animals are supposed to get caught when the tide goes out. I didn't see anything swimming around in any of them, though.
Monterey has a huge aquarium. All the parking lots nearby were full, though, but I did find a 1-hour metered spot. I thought maybe I could run in, spend 40 minutes there, and run out. I got there, and just waiting in line looked like it probably would have taken most of an hour, so I decided not to go.
How cute, her cast matches her outfit. If they have different colors of wrapping, they could just re-wrap her cast every day.
Monterey has a wharf area like SF, with various shops and restaurants.
I bought a California state map for this trip, but because it covered all of California, some places weren't shown in enough detail. Here, I could either turn left (which made sense, because there were two left-turn lanes and Highway 1 should have more lanes for it than any other road), or take the far right lane (which made sense, because Highway 1 tended to hug the coast). I decided to follow the crowd and turn left. Whoops. Oh well, I just turned around after a few miles. This was one of the few intersections that didn't have signs. They really should mark the roads for idiots like me.
Point Lobos State Reserve is near Carmel. It's hard to tell from the picture, but there was a deer about 20 feet from the pathway.
The animals were really tame, and most of the little ones would eat out of your hand. I overheard one of the rangers telling people that if you touch this white flower, it would curl up. I didn't look at the flower he was pointing out, though, so I poked every white flower I saw. None responded at all.
Sea lions on a rock.
There are a lot of big white beaches, especially near Big Sur. Most are private, though, or pretty much impossible to get to as far as I could tell.
Lots of seagulls on a beach.
Some of the trails are pretty iffy. They're obviously not official trails, just places that lots of people have walked on. I don't think this one even went all the way down to the beach. I wasn't going to go much farther than this to find out, though; it's a long ways down.
The view is really pretty along the road. However, most of the time there's nothing between you and the edge except a few bushes, not even guard rails. At least in the Black Hills the trees will break or slow your fall; here you'd just roll all the way into the ocean.
Of course, people tend to bunch up behind the slow drivers, but there are tons of spots along the road to pull over and enjoy the view. The slower drivers are supposed to stop at the turnouts and let people by, but if they don't and you're behind them, you can always stop for a few minutes and let them get ahead of you. Thankfully there weren't too many people on the road when I was driving.
Much of the highway in the northern part is constant curves for hours, most of which are supposed to be taken from 20 to 40 mph. It's not so bad when you have them one right after another; the problem is when you have a little stretch where you get up to 60 and then all of the sudden you have to slow down to 20 to take a turn. And it's not just a "go into the ditch if you're going too fast" type of turn, it's the "fly off the edge into the ocean" type. I don't think Mom would have enjoyed it too much. It would be a fun road to take a fast car out on to whip around the corners except that if you mess up, you don't just scratch your car up a little, you're dead.
Unfortunately, there are no rest stops along Highway 1, and you can't park overnight at any of the turnouts. All the campgrounds and motels were full, and I wasn't about to pay $25 for a campsite or $60 for a motel anyway, so I headed east a bit to a rest stop on Highway 101 for the night.
I just slept in a sleeping bag in the back of the truck. I had a tent just in case, but I didn't use it.
Well, on the second day I was already near the south end of my trip, Morro Bay, which has this, Morro Rock.
This was a cute car wash; it looks like a house.
I stopped at Hearst Castle on the way back north. You can't even get close to the castle on your own; you have to take a tour bus up. This is the main outdoor pool there.
A patio with a view.
And another. It's at the top of a hill, so it's really beautiful to just sit and look around.
Hearst collected a lot of ancient art and used it here.
The bells in the towers are connected to a piano in the main house. When you play the piano, the bells ring the song.
One of the rooms.
Most of the ceilings were originals carted over from Europe.
The dining room has lots of vertical elements to make it seem like it is taller than it is wider, when in reality it isn't.
You can see a Persian rug on the floor. They had sensors under them, so if any of the tourists stepped on them, an alarm would go off.
The game room.
The ceiling in the game room, which is the oldest ceiling in the castle.
The piano that plays the bells.
The inner pool.
The tiles are inlaid with 24 karat gold.
The bus ride back down from the castle. I don't think Mom would have liked this, either.
At the visitor's center, crows hung out near the outside dining area. If you left your food for more than a few seconds, they would swoop down and grab it. A couple of people lost their hot dogs when they went to get napkins.
A beach with people kite surfing.
Sea lions lying on the sand. When they got hot, they'd throw sand onto their backs, as you can see the one in the middle doing.
There was also lots of poison oak along the various trails.
A view of the road heading north.
Waterfall Cove in Julie Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
The biggest redwood in Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park.
One of the homes by the highway. You'd think it would get old driving up and down every time you needed something, but the view probably makes up for that.
Bixby Creek Bridge from Old Coast Road.