So we set off for Big Sur, Monterey and Santa Cruz, which has been on my must-see list for years. We expected the drive to be all coastline and were happily surprised to find ourselves in Los Padres National Forest for a while. The sites were beautiful but also heartbreaking. We stopped at on overlook by Bradbury Dam that was bone dry. The drought there is so bad that the lake beds have gone dry and the dramatic water level drop of Lake Cachuma can be seen on the surrounding cliffs.
Once we got back to the coast, we were awed at every turn. We pulled off so many times to take photos that I lost track of what we saw where. There are ragged cliffs, sand dunes, grasses, forests, wildlife, huge rocks, beautiful bridges, waterfalls and winding roads everywhere you look. And the fog! It kept us cool and made each vista feel dreamy. Our plan was to hit the major sites: McWay Falls, Bixby Bridge, and a big cove or two. We saw those and so much more in between, including Nit Wit Ridge, a house in Cambria built out of stones, sticks, cans and a variety of other junk.
Our final road trip stop for the day was Davenport Pier. I learned about it via gorgeous photos on Instagram and needed to see it for myself. There are actually a couple of beaches here that require a bit of a hike to access (more on that here). We parked in a lot off of Highway 1, scrambled down to the train tracks and then scrambled up to the Bluff where there are trails and beautiful views of the pier, coast and cliffs. We explored, took photos and wished we had an entire day to spend there.
But Santa Cruz was waiting…