Pacific Coast Highway – A Road to Remember - Part 3
In the last episode of this journey, we had left San Francisco in our Dodge Challenger northbound across Golden Gate Bridge.
At this point, about 450 miles from our starting location, we were beginning to notice the slight changes in temperature and vegetation. We did this trip in September. L.A. was still quite hot. While some of you may love the sun and the heat, I prefer the mercury to sit in the lower parts of the thermometer. Needless to say then, I was getting closer to my comfort zone with every mile that we drove north.
Only a couple of miles later, we had reached Point Reyes National Seashore. While it is a dead end and about a 35 mile detour to get from Point Reyes Station down to the lighthouse and back, it is definitely worth it! On your way you will pass a cypress tree tunnel. With the right lighting, you could take spectacular car (or bike) pictures there. Unfortunately, I only got this blurry shot. You get the idea…
Although the foggy weather did spoil a few of the great views atop the coastal cliffs, it made for some interesting photo opportunities. If you don’t mind the climb, you can walk down to the lighthouse. Just be aware: the steps seem to go on forever.
If you’re lucky, you might also see whales during their migration from here. Overall, Point Reyes embodies the atmosphere of the Pacific Coast Highway perfectly, forming an immediate connection between the road and the sea.
Having made our way back to the shoreline highway, we stopped and had lunch at a place called Nick’s Cove, which we can certainly recommend. Not only do they have delicious food, you can also sit outside by the water. That makes any food taste even better!
Point Reyes is also a nice day trip if you’re staying in San Francisco. It is so close that you really only need about half a day and it is time well spent!
For us, though, there was only one way: north. And while you can always opt for the much faster parallel running 101, we stuck to California State Route 1 along the coast. By now, we should be getting sick of it, but the existence of more amazing photos proves the opposite.
The ever-changing perspectives simply force you to stop at every second corner. And before we actually left the ocean behind for a while, we came across a series of lagoons. About 9 hours along the coastal highway, we entered the Redwood National and State Parks area.
Since we really wanted to do some hiking as well, we started early the next morning. And as a reward, nature’s treasure chest opened up for us once again.
Within about half an hour of driving, we were entering a completely different world. Most of the time, we were surrounded by dense vegetation. But then there were a few spots, where we could get a glimpse of where we actually were. I bet, nature made them for the whole purpose of bragging about its own beauty. Or some dude with a chainsaw cut them out for tourists. Either way…
When we actually entered the "Avenue of the Giants", it felt quite surreal. Sure, everyone has seen big trees. Even really big ones. Now imagine the biggest one and multiply it by 3. Just look how they compare to our Challenger. Keep in mind, this is a fairly large car…
And with an idiot standing next to them, they look even more ridiculous. And that's quite an achievement compared to what they're up against...
We did two hikes over the course of two days. While the park area is quite large, you can identify the trails very easily.
You have to visit this beautiful place and see it with your own eyes. Also, if you are just passing through, make sure to plan at least a 24 hour stopover. Because even if you’re not a nature person and even if you’re not very good on foot – you have to take the time and take this in. There are also very short trails for the lazy ones and we saw some accessible to wheelchairs as well.
And you won’t even have to search for them. Simply click here! They also have several information centers that you are going to come across on your way.
No Excuses. Visit. Now.
In the next part of this series, we will be leaving California to make our way through Oregon all the way up into Washington State and Olympic National Park. Check out the other episodes if you haven’t done so already.
Until then, thank you for reading and stay safe!