Day three is about to begin and it’s going to be the coolest day ever! (If you missed Day 1 and 2…go here to read it first so you are in the loop!) I am leaving Santa Barbara then driving up the coast on the famous Highway 1 all day. It’s going to be amazing and I hope the weather stays nice for me! Here is the game plan for driving today… 7 hours of driving (minus stopping along the way) to my final stop of Merced where I am staying tonight in an Airbnb.
I missed out on seeing Santa Barbara last night so this morning I walked to the pier and grabbed a coffee and breakfast and took some nice pictures. I wish I could have seen the sunset here last night!! I left Santa Barbara and began the gorgeous drive along the coast. And let me tell you. It was gorgeous.
*Side note*- staying in a hostel was cool! It was just noisy. Between others snoring and people moving around and 5 girls sharing one bathroom, it was mediocre. I could do it again but honestly I booked private rooms on Airbnb for the same price so I would prefer that if possible! I highly recommend ear plugs and getting a top bunk. Also, I’m pretty sure most hostels aren’t as fancy as the one I stayed at.
I would love to come back here one day and see some of the beaches and of course the sunset. I’m tempted to stay on the coast until sunset time tonight. It’s my only chance on this trip to see a west coast sunset. I started much later today than I had planned which seems to be my norm! That’s the thing with planning ahead of time though. You feel like you are rushed. Sometimes I have to make myself chill and take it all in and go off plan a bit. It’s always worth it.
I began the drive up Highway 1 and was immediately stunned by the green mountains around me. It looks like pictures of Ireland or New Zealand! I don’t think I’ve ever seen greenery so GREEN before.
Pictures just don’t do it justice. Along my drive today I stopped about 30+ times! Around every corner was a better view of the ocean and the cliffs. It reminded me of driving the Icefields Parkway in Alberta because I had to stop so many times. The highway is VERY winding and you have to go 20-30 mph around most corners. Ferraris and Lamborghinis were racing past me but I took my time because this Kia Soul has the touchiest pedals and I did not want to end up over a cliff.
Here are some pointers for driving Big Sur… plan WAY longer than Google maps says because you are going to stop. Take non-drowsy Gravol if you are easily motion sick; if I wasn’t driving I would have become sick for sure. Fuel up before getting onto Highway 1 because gas stations are rare and when there is gas, it is very expensive. I also could not find a bathroom the entire day. My poor bladder LOL! Bring food with you too! I’m glad I had some snacks because I wasn’t able to stop until around 5:00 for a proper meal. Soak it all in because it’s over way too soon. I feel empty inside now that I’m not on the coast anymore. One thing I would do next time is drive the opposite way up the highway (South instead of North). It would be much easier to pull off to the side plus you would be on the ocean side. I also would make sure I was with someone who could drive for me so I could just take pictures the whole time. Here are all the pictures from today… read the captions for info about each place! 🙂
Interjection!!! Can I please obsess over the Elephant Seal Viewing Point!?!?!?!?! I have never been so happy. They gather here every year to mate and have babies. They are the laziest fattest things and I would have to say they are the equivalent to humans’ spirit animals. They scratch themselves with their fingers and flip dirt onto each other. It was fascinating. If you want to see a video of them, I posted some on my story on Instagram (look for it in my highlights under Cali). I don’t think I will ever stop talking about this moment.
I’m obsessed. One of my favourite parts was watching all of the people watch them. Kids, middle aged, and seniors were all smiling and laughing and loving life. It made me happy seeing everyone else happy! Okay…continuing on.
What just happened!? I still cannot process it all. I’m telling you- you need to come here. There’s nothing like being by the ocean and driving through the cliffs and hills. Once I was finished seeing the coast, I sadly drove an extra two and a half hours to my Airbnb in Merced in order to get a head start for tomorrow’s adventures in Yosemite National Park. My Airbnb tonight was only $55 CAD! It’s a HUGE house and I have been talking all evening with a girl who actually works at Yosemite of all places. What a small world. I considered staying by the coast until sunset but I was hungry and tired and knew I needed to do a load of laundry tonight still. I am getting a little sick of driving but I am also doing a great job of breaking the long stretches up. Tomorrow is another long day so I am going to get some sleep and hopefully get an early start! Here’s a few shots of my Airbnb room…only $50 CAD and I did a load of laundry and there’s free breakfast.
Thank you for reading!