We didn’t allowed enough time for the coastal drive up the Big Sur Highway 1. If there’s ever a time you need to be reminded of God’s stunning creation, make your way to the west coast of the US and take a few days to just drive. The opening stretch from Santa Barbara to Monterey begins with sleepy, foggy towns and hundreds of sea lions. They sun bake on the beaches for hundreds of meters, groaning and chatting to each other, using their muscle and flab to roll over each other and get into the perfect position.
Leaving Santa Barbara, you travel through lush green fields, wineries, driftwood filled beaches, and rocky hills. The scenery changes so much and so often, it feels like you need a day for each section to really absorb the beauty of it all.
You could watch the sea lions all day. They’re slow, loud, and a little bit grumpy. They roll over the top of one another like big slugs, and stand up to fight like brown bears without arms.
I’m such a lover of fog. It has this creepy beauty about it, and on the west coast of America it rolls off the ocean in a matter of seconds. We stood on a long jetty and watched this little town disappear beneath the clouds.
As we continued up the highway, we gradually rose in altitude and the clouds sank beneath us. Soon enough, we were driving on the edge of a cliff, clambering over each other to see the clouds hovering over the ocean beneath. Staggering cliffs drop hundreds of meters below into the ocean, and as we dipped and rose the fog would surround our car and make the road feel smaller than ever.
To be honest, the photos don’t do it justice. My proper camera ran out of battery, and the iPhone is good, to a point. Nothing could capture the majesty of the Big Sur coastline. These photos are underwhelming in comparison to the real thing. The drive takes you through big red gum forests, on the edge of huge cliffs, and on high plateaus.
We came to an open stretch and saw a bunch of surfers pulled over. We climbed down the cliff to the ocean and found a dolphin with a big shark bite from its mid-section. Apparently on the coast the sharks are common, with all the sea lions and otters. The photos are a bit graphic for a blog, but if you imagine a cartoon bike out of the side of a dolphin, you’d be imaging it correctly.
This is a place we’ll go back to. We need a few days to take in that coast line, and we saw beautiful yoga and yurts retreats and cool campgrounds along the way which are begging us to stay. We’ll be back as soon as we get the chance.