There was a time in my life when I dreamed of living in California even though I never visited California for the first time until I was 18 years old. When I was in high school, I dreamed of attending UCLA for college to study filmmaking. When I was in college, I dreamed of attending UC-Berkley for grad school to study documentary photography. I pictured California as a beautiful state with mountains dropping into the ocean and lots of sunshine. I can’t pinpoint to how I exactly first learned about Pacific Coast Highway but it is likely through one of many travel publications I read regularly. When Alex and I discussed about what to do when visiting his hometown, Los Angeles, I told him that I really wanted to take a road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway as I have been dreaming for about a decade to witness the windy roads through California’s beautiful coast. Alex made the trip happen and I am sharing my thoughts on my blog.
Alex and I took off from rainy LA in a nice little Prius car. We made our first stop in Santa Barbara where I got a delicious crab cake sandwich for lunch at On the Alley, a restaurant offering reasonably priced meals for those on a budget. We then continued on Pacific Coast Highway also known as Highway 1 to San Luis Obispo where we spent a night in Madonna Inn and another night in an Airbnb.
During our two days in San Luis Obispo, we visited a Farmers’ Market where we tasted delicious barbecue meat and apple pies, climbed the “P” mountain, one of the mountains in the town, ate the most delicious tri-tips at Firestone, walked around the town center, and strolled at Avila Beach.
We continued our road trip after our two-days stay in San Luis Obispo. Alex and I were supposed to spend most of the day at Big Sur but we encountered a road closure on the way that was not marked at all in google maps and so we had to back track a bit and make a huge detour driving through the farm fields and passing all of Big Sur. So we arrived at the north of Big Sur late in the afternoon giving us only a few hours to travel south and photograph. Then we had to turn around and make our way back up north to San Francisco Bay Area. I was so sad that I had only a few hours at Big Sur, a place that appears to be so magical at every turn. I felt rushed, having no time to be immersed in one of the greatest beauties on the planet.
Alex was the most incredible boyfriend. He took his girl back to Big Sur two days later. This time, because we had most of the day at Big Sur, I was able spend quality time relaxing and soaking in the sun. More importantly, I was able to take time to view the sceneries and take pictures.
Alex and I spent the following three nights after San Luis Obispo in East Bay with his friends and then two nights in Mill Valley. A separate blog post will be made sharing my experience in San Francisco Bay Area.
Place to Eat in Santa Barbara:
On the Alley || Located by the water. Offers a good selection of sandwiches and tacos at a reasonable price for those traveling on a budget.
Places to Eat in San Luis Obispo:
Firestone || Located in the heart of the town. Makes the best tri-tips sandwiches in the world.
Farmers’ Market || Takes place every Thursday evenings. Wide variety of food vendors.
F. McLintock’s || Located in the town center. Offers a good selection of hearty breakfast dishes. Try their french toast which tastes like a cinnamon roll.
Where to Stay:
Madonna Inn || San Luis Obispo || A very unique hotel with imaginative interior design. Each room is individually decorated with a theme.
Airbnb || San Luis Obispo || Simple private room that includes all basic amenities.