A Drive Along the Picturesque Pacific Coast Highway 1

“Visiting USA? The drive along the coastal highway is a must-do.” So advised our cousins who had made the country their second home.

Aware that Indian driving licence is valid on US roads for about a year, we did not need much coaxing! We rented a car and were soon cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

The satiny black ribbon like road lives up to its claim of being the most picturesque route. It was scenic all along with blue water splashing on rocks, frothing, misting, roaring….every rock and wave was camera worthy. The wide smooth road with hardly any traffic, was flanked by hills on one side and ocean on the other. The ocean changed colours as the sun rose up higher in the sky.

Along the Pacific Coast

Crashing waves make a beautiful picture

Sea and rocks

Scenic… all along the highway

As we reached Monterey Bay, we saw some other tourists walking downhill to a small not much frequented beach. Huge waves crashed on the hills pulling kelp from the ocean and spitting it out on beach.

When the wave subsided, we quickly clicked some pictures because we had not catered for wet clothes and shoes…what with rented car and all.

beach somewhere at Monterey beach

Huge waves crashing on the rocks

Some 190 km south of San Francisco we reached the Bixby Creek bridge which is tallest single-span concrete bridge in world. Till 1932, the residents of Big Sur were almost cut-off in winters as the old coast road used to be impassable.

We couldn’t resist stopping for a quick picture, though leaving the car unattended at Highway was not advisable.

Monterey bay

Bixby Creek Bridge…the tallest single-span concrete bridge in world

Further on, a detour led to Pebble Beach, but we drove to Big Sur instead and stopped at a river-side-inn for a quick bite only to find the food a little too expensive. Moreover, the view of the gurgling stream and birds chirping in the woods from the wooden chairs kept in the stream seemed much inviting than the glass windows and carpeted interiors of the restaurant.

It feels refreshing being closer to nature

It feels refreshing being closer to nature

Big Sur derives its name from Spanish ‘el pais grande del sur‘ and refers to the 90 mile beautiful, rugged coastline between Carmel and Hearst Castle. Highway 1 through Big Sur is called American National Scenic Byway.

It was no doubt beautiful. Many fitness enthusiasts were busy cycling, biking  and running in the bright sun with the breeze bringing in the sea smell.

Big Sur

Scenic views all along the Big Sur

wild plants

Even the wild grass looked beautiful

By the time we reached ‘Whale Watchers Cafe’ we were hungry and the place was very attractive. The sandwiches and salads here were not as costly and we were past the stage of bothering about expenditure!

Whale Watcher's cafe where we had sandwiches...

Whale Watcher’s café where we had sandwiches…

We were told that there were tours to watch Humpback Whales, Orca and White-sided dolphins which were a regular sight in October. We stared past the road side railing in the deep blue ocean but it was just not our lucky day.

over the railing

Beyond the railing, in the deep blue frolic the whales and dolphins

Energised, we sped on as we wanted to make it to Los Angeles before dark. We were advised to avoid the chaotic traffic at LA. Had we, however, gone even a bit more faster, we would have missed the wild seals sun-bathing on a rock.

As we drove past, the corner of my eye caught a sudden movement. I insisted we stop….. And there they were lazing on the rocks! One  seal raised its head to look at us equally surprised as we were!

wild seals

Surprised seals looking right back at us

Later, further ahead we came across a seal spotting deck and to our surprise the beach was full of large elephant-seals playing in sea, snoring, lazing around. it was a rookery where every year the seals come to breed, the alpha males show-off their strength to females and the best man….er…seal wins!!

Huge Elephant Seals lazing on the beach

Huge Elephant Seals lazing on the beach

Sun had set by the time, we left coast highway and drove inland. Even after driving for so long with many stops and the hot sun, we were not the least bit tired instead the breathtaking views that our eyes had literally feasted upon along the PCH 1 had  left us wanting for more …..

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About shoma abhyankar

I like to believe that I am a creative person. I read, write, paint, sketch, rustle up some quick and some elaborate meals for friends and family, love chess, su-doku and scrabble, can hum an old Hindi song tentatively, always stand up for women rights, hate fake people, bugs, roaches, spiders and cigarette smokers!! I graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Architecture in 1998. Soon after, I married an officer in Indian Air Force and have been on move since then. For a brief time of two years when we were posted in Pune, I worked as a junior architect in a firm. Being aware of frequent movement that we would have to live with, I chose to be a homemaker and concentrated on creating a warm and welcoming home for my family. But sitting at home without any creative activity was not my cup of tea. I learnt candle making and soon put up an exhibition at Poona Club when my daughter was barely a year old. I also enjoyed a short stint as a home-based entrepreneur, supplying chocolates and cakes on demand, while we were posted in Bareilly. With an inclination towards writing, I completed a diploma in ‘Creative Writing in English’ from Symbiosis College of Distance Learning, Pune. Then I discovered the blogosphere. Now I hope to not only travel and share my experiences with the world but also to pen a book someday....
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4 Responses to A Drive Along the Picturesque Pacific Coast Highway 1

  1. Pingback: What Not To Do: Three Silly Mistakes and Narrow Escapes | Thinking aloud….

  2. Pingback: A Brush with American Highway Police: A day to remember!! | Thinking aloud….

  3. Sri Kri says:

    Lovely shots.Really a drive along the Pacific Ocean is simply awesome.We made that last year.Thank you for bringing those memories.:)

    Cheers,
    Sriram & Krithiga

    Liked by 1 person

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