The most beautiful road in the world…
That’s not just me exaggerating either, Highway One is officially the worlds most beautiful road.
Day 47 – Sunday 10th July 2016
We woke up after three days of Yosemite with no plan other than making our way to Los Angeles to drop off the van, which wasn’t due for another couple of days. The two hundred mile journey straight to L.A. wasn’t good enough though, not for us, especially with California State Route 1, otherwise known as the Pacific Highway, just a few hundred miles away.
For those of you who haven’t heard of this road, it stretches over 650 miles and accounts for almost all of California’s Pacific coastline. From our campsite in Oakhurst we had to drive for around four hours to get to Monterey, the closest point to the highway that we could reach without putting too many miles on the van.
We set off with no accommodation arranged for the night ahead of us, and high hopes that luck would be on our side. In all honesty absolutely everything went our way – we arrived at Monterey in good time, headed straight to the local Visitor Information Center, and booked ourselves into a campground which only cost $29 for the night!
From the campground there was a hiking trail for about a mile and a half which took us right into the heart of downtown, where loads of bars and restaurants filled the streets. We stopped at a Mexican place to eat, and then headed to the pier for more touristy bits:
We hung around for a while before trekking back to our campsite where there was a strict no fire rule in place, so played a few games of Uno and went to sleep, knowing that the drive we planned for the following day was going to be a long one.
Day 48 – Monday 11th July 2016
Having spent the night just a couple of miles away from California State Route 1 we knew that it wouldn’t take long to get on to the road, but driving it was always going to be a different story. From our campground Google said it’d take us five hours to get to Los Angeles, but we didn’t want to go all of the way, just close enough before having to return the van tomorrow. We headed for Santa Barbara, again with no accommodation arranged, hopeful that everything would work out.
We joined the highway but didn’t immediately get to see what all of the fuss was about due to some pretty breathtaking low clouds:
It took a while to clear but as soon as it did it we could immediately see why this road is rated so highly. I’ll let the pictures do the talking:
Oh at one point along the way we spotted a load of elephant seals too, look:
After well over five hours we found ourselves at Santa Barbara, where unfortunately the Visitor Information Center couldn’t offer as much help as in Monterey. We were given details of a campsite which we drove to only to find that they charge $70 a night, which is much more than we could afford! They could’ve even suggest an alternative either.
We drove to a McDonald’s, brought a coffee, and used the Wi-Fi to find another campsite about 20 minutes away, Lake Casitas Recreation Area. We had a box full of firewood and with no restrictions in place we burned the lot over the course of an hour or two whilst playing cards and drinking beer, before going to bed with our alarms set for 06:45 tomorrow (yuck).