Roadtrippin up the California Coast: Day 1

After months of continuous planning, the day had arrived: I was boarding a plane back to San Diego for the last two weeks of December.

I had been anticipating this moment for what felt like forever, not only with the exciting notion that I would finally be reunited with friends I hadn’t seen in 6 months, but in preperation for the amazing experience that lied only a few days ahead: I was going on a roadtrip.

But not just any little drive to Los Angeles and back. A five day excursion up the California coast to San Francisco with my three best friends.

If it seems like a scenario taken straight from a movie, it honestly probably is. But that only contributed to my extreme excitement for the things we would see, the people we would meet, and of course, the hikes we’d get to go on. I was on Cloud nine, to say the least.

I stayed in San Diego for a day before we finally took off at 4am that fateful Saturday morning in mid-December. Kyriana loaded the first of the Roadtrip CD’s she had made into the dock of Juli’s 2002 Honda Odessey. I sat shotgun as Sophia took the first driving shift, and we were well on our way.

As we drove through the familiar stretch of the five that takes hopeful adventurers from San Diego to Orange County, we were quiet, still exhausted from the lack of sleep from the night before. But as we drove onto the Pacific Coast Highway into Malibu as the sun rose, the true excitement began to set in. We drove into the Malibu Country Mart marketplace, for a coffee break, we chattered happily about nothing at all, ordered some much needed Starbucks drinks, and drove further up the coast to find a nice place to drink our coffees and chat.

We found a hill in a residential area with the most gorgeous view of the ocean, laid out some blankets, and had a quick discussion of our next move over a light breakfast. Juli munched away at her Vegan wrap, while Sophia, Kyri, and I sipped at our chai tea lattes.


Sophia continued her shift as we drove up through Santa Barbara to Solvang, California, a gorgeous small town reminiscent of 1800’s Denmark. During our drive up, we jammed out to Kung-Fu Fighting and got truly stoked on full concept of what we were doing.

Arriving in Solvang, we went to Birkholm’s Bakery, and feasted on some delicious Dutch pastries. Juli bought a huge loaf of vegan sourdough bread, which proved to be quite useful for snacking on throughout our trip.


kyriana in a dutch phonebooth


the gals in front of the Dutch Windmill of Solvang

I took the next driving shift, driving through San Luis Obispo towards Big Sur, our next stop. Being the lucky one, I drove through some pretty gnarly pouring rain for about 3 hours, until we finally reached Cambria, where we stopped for some gas. In Cambria, the clouds had cleared, and although we were extremely concerned about making the drive through Big Sur in pouring rain, the skies were mostly clear, which was one of the luckier parts of our day.

Juli, being the champ she is, decided to take over driving in Big Sur. Big Sur is without a doubt, my favorite place I’ve ever been so far. I had been to Big Sur before, on a roadtrip with my mom and brothers, but the vibes were different this time, in the best way possible. We cranked some Led Zeppelin. and turned off every other mile to take in the captivating Big Sur views.

soph in Big Sur


soph and kyri cheesin

As it was mid-December, it was pretty windy and cold out, but still a total paradise in comparison to 15 degree Michigan. We continued to drive through Big Sur’s windy mountain roads until we reached Limekiln State Park, another one of my favorite spots from my previous roadtrip up the coast. We hiked for a few miles through the lush forests of the Limekilns, reaching the kilns for which the park is named, and later, the amazing 100 foot waterfall that acts as a centerpiece of the park.

juli at limekiln falls


the gals stare at giant limekilns

After about an hour of shaded hiking, we finished our drive up the Big Sur coast, coasting on the Bixby Creek Bridge, one of the most famous spots in all of Big Sur itself.

Way too gorgeous.

We continued driving through the mountains, and Juli was starting to feel exhausted from all the crazy turns and loops. A drive through Big Sur requires a lot of concentration and patience to make it through safely, but the scenery and hiking is 100% worth it.

Not gonna lie though, we were a little relieved when we reached the more flat stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, not to mention thankful for finally having the option of a second lane.

After about another hour, we finally arrived in Monterey, a small port town famous for it’s aquarium, where we would crash for the night. At this point, it was around 5pm and we were starving for some dinner, so we went to Trader joe’s and loaded up on Granola Bars, Sushi, and Salads for the night.

We stayed at the Monterey Fireplace Inn, which was a tricky find due to Google Maps having the wrong address on file (a pair of numbers were switched). We were a little apprehensive due to the fact that our door didn’t lock, but considering that we paid about $60 for the room (then split four ways), we weren’t complaining. We crashed early, as it had been a long day of driving and hiking, with a way too early start.

I hope you guys liked this post! Stay tuned for Day 2, coming Monday. For now, here’s a brief playlist for our first day on the road. Enjoy!

  1. Kung-Fu Fighting-Carl Douglas
  2. See the Sun-The Kooks
  3. On Melancholy Hill-Gorillaz
  4. Beginning to See the Light-The Velvet Underground
  5. Free Bird-Lynyrd Skynyrd
  6. Cabron-Red Hot Chili Peppers
  7. Nothing’s Gonna-The Blank Tapes
  8. Going to California-Led Zeppelin
  9. Holy Grail-Justin Timberlake&Jay-Z
  10. Cayucos-Cayucas
  11. Easy Easy-King Krule
  12. Down by the Seaside-Led Zeppelin
  13. Age of Consent-New Order
  14. White Winter Hymnal-Fleet Foxes
  15. You Keep Me Hangin On-Vanilla Fudge

If you want to see some more pictures of our first day on the road, check out the gallery below!

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One thought on “Roadtrippin up the California Coast: Day 1

  1. Love road trips with friends! I also have experienced a trip where you pull over to take photos every three minutes – it’s fantastic but means that it takes ages to get anywhere! Great play list too! 🙂


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