In January, Tom and I drove from Santa Cruz, CA, down to Santa Barbara, CA, along Hwy 1 through Big Sur. If you ever get the chance to take that drive, do it! It is spectacular!
In the north part of the drive, the highway wends along the outside curve of the cliffs, leaving you, at some points, looking straight down the rock into the water. Given my familiar “driving off the cliff” dream (in which I drive off cliffs and hit the ground…and survive), I told Tom that I could show no greater trust than to let him drive me along that road.
But, as long as I didn’t look down, it was breathtakingly gorgeous. The water sparkled in hundreds of hues of blue and green, the sun darted in and out among the clouds, and the air was brisk and painfully clean (especially after Sao Paulo air).
Along the way, we stopped at Rocky Point Resort; another place I highly recommend, and where we plan to stop and stay some day, tucked away off the highway at the cliff’s edge with a stupendous view of the coastline.
One caveat about driving Hwy 1: do it when the traffic is fairly light. Three times we were stopped en route, while crews repaired or improved the highway. I can imagine that in the summer or at other high-traffic times, the delay would be grinding. For us, the delays were simply a chance to sit and soak in the beauty below.
At one point, the crews were building a covered passage around a point of a cliff, and it looked like they might be constructing a two-level portion. Whatever they were doing, it was at the edge, hanging over the dancing and crashing water below. What a workplace!
Near Morro Bay, the road moves inland for several miles, until popping out onto the coast again south of San Luis Obispo, where the geography of the coastline changes significantly. Then, it’s back inland for a bit through the valley, and out onto the coast around Refugio Beach near Ronald Reagan’s mountain ranch north of Santa Barbara.
What a view. What a drive. Take it if you ever get the chance!
Here is a glimpse of the coastline along Hwy 1 south of Santa Cruz: