Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hairy Otter and the Adventures of California Route 1

As I mentioned yesterday, we stole our California Itinerary from our roommate, Mary. I think the key to a successful vacation is listening to what others have to say about your destination. I am so glad we took her advice, next time I just hope she also sends us with some nicer weather.

After spending a day in San Francisco and the day in Muir Woods, we headed south on California’s Route 1 to our first campsite in Half Moon Bay.


I thought this campsite was beautiful, right on the beach! (Yes that is the Pacific Ocean creeping into the top of the picture) After pitching our tents, we headed into town to explore Half Moon Bay, grab some dinner and go on a little walk… in the foggy rain.


When night fell the clouds started to part and we could see the twinkling lights of the town in the distance. We began to hope that our rainy vacation days were over. We weren’t exactly correct.

The next day we continued to venture south on Route 1, stopping as our hearts desired. Thankfully some sun shone through during the day so we could make some stops for our Marine Science companion to play in the tide pools.


As we continued south we found a cute little restaurant, campground, cabins and hotel. The food at the Cascade Bar & Grill was amazing!!! I had a delicious grilled veggie sandwich. I wish I had taken a picture!


After lunch, we continued our drive down Route 1 to Santa Cruz and our second campsite (you can find details here). We were floored by Santa Cruz and the university there. If you are a very mellow person who loves red woods and nature then UCSC is for you. My friend, Bri, and I both worked in a residential living learning community in college that was known for its openness and diversity. UCSC is one big open community, which is GREAT, but strange to see in one place.

The next morning we continued our journey with a few more short hikes on the cliffs of Route 1.


When we came upon Monterey, we stopped for a bite to eat and some FroYo. Lunch at the Fish Hopper in Monterey was another success! Bri got 1/2 a Dungeness Crab (she likes to eat what she studies…), I got the Open Face Dungeness Crab and Portabella Sandwich and Jay got the day’s seafood salad special. We were in seafood heaven!


After our bellies were full, we explored the Monterey Harbor and picked up a few souvenirs. What Harry Potter fan could resist a Hairy Otter t-shirt? Not this one!


Besides taking in the beautiful view, we barely missed the road collapsing into the ocean…

Yes, we missed that incident by 2 hours and it did not affect our trip in the slightest. We were very lucky!!

After missing the road fall into the ocean, we stopped at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. This park is huge, but my favorite part was her house right on the ocean. The original house no longer stands, but the view is breath taking (see below). What I found interesting is that she donated her property to the State Park system because she wanted preserve the coastline after she died.


Our final campsite was Kirk Creek Campground. This was by far my favorite site! Again we were right on the water, on top of a cliff!!! This site was a little more remote, with no showers or potable water.


But trust me, none of those amenities matter here!! You will fall in love with the peaceful scenery as you enjoy your nightly s’more.


And of course no Route 1 trip is complete without Elephant Seals! On our last day on Route 1 we slowly ventured from Kirk Creek to San Luis Obispo to visit our friend Veronica.


This picture was taken last year when I visited after traveling for work. Unfortunately, this year we didn’t take a single picture with Veronica. Tragic, I know! Regardless it was nice to sleep inside, relax and live the SLO life. More on our epic restaurant adventures in SLO tomorrow.

How do you feel about camping vacations?