Just chilling… LA style
After arriving in LA, we discovered we had 2 weeks to kill before we could borrow Michael’s mates’ massive truck for our road trip. This wasn’t too much of an issue as I was running a marathon a week after arriving, and we had some pretty cool people to hang out with. Michael also had a few mates he wanted to catch up with. To be honest, I was slightly more concerned with the size of the Toyota Tundra truck. So I used to drive a huge 4WD when I worked at CVA (Conservation Volunteers Australia), that was years ago; since then I been driving a tiny Citron Saxo in the UK, so I wasn’t too sure how I was going to go driving this beast… and on the opposite side of the road Regardless, I wasn’t going to let a bit of worry get in the way.
Some of the highlights from LA over the past few weeks included;
– Cycling along the coast from Redondo Beach past Venice beach and Santa Monica pier
– Drinking copious amounts of boutique beers with some awesome Los Angelenos
– Fulfilling my dream of consuming chocolate and peanut butter fondue with banana pieces at The Melting Pot in Redondo Beach… YUM!!! (Thank you Andre and Marcela for taking us there, it was AMAZING)
– Obviously, completing the Hollywood Half marathon, without dying or injuring myself
– Sleeping under a tree in Beverley Hills… and dog watching
– Experiencing couchsurfing for the first time (thank you Fabian and Amelie for being such great hosts)
And the LA lows;
– Public transport is shocking… not even a metro station at the beach WTF?!?
– Being stuck on an inner city bus for over an hour
– The water at the beach was FREEZING!!!
– Not being able to find a decent happy hour without being in the presence of local Los Angelenos
– Getting used to tipping… when to tip, how to tip, how much to tip?!?
So after chilling in LA for 2 weeks we finally hit the road… Let the US road trip begin!!!
Designated driver: Moi as Michael doesn’t drive… (hopefully being DD for the trip will reduce my overall alcohol consumption – I am supposed to be training for a marathon after all)
Designated cook/ dish pig: Michael (he’s also supposed to be navigator but so far proving to be pretty poor at that)
All other chores we split evenly between us (though Michael being a gentlemen tends to carry the day pack 😉 ).
Day 1: Cruising the Pacific Coastal Highway (PCH)
It didn’t take long to get used to the car, the roads, the drivers, the road rules, and before I knew it we were cruising down the PCH at a comfortable speed (I’m sure this can be verified by my travel buddy Michael). We stopped for a few supplies then continued on to Cambria (4-5 hour drive).
We mainly decided to head to Cambria because it was the start of the Big Sur Coastal drive, and because 2 awesome people we met in LA got married there, and recommended it. When we finally arrived it was insanely windy, and pretty bloody cold. Nonetheless we headed to the beachfront, and went for a walk in the wind. After walking around the town we decided to head to a campgrounds just North of Cambria and spent the night there.
Day 2: Big Sur Coastal Drive… one word… beautiful!!!
The road follows the coast for about 70 miles, along huge cliff sides, sandy beaches, state parks and blue skies. We got to see beaches full of elephant seals basking in the sun, and the amazing waterfall that flowed on to the beach at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Apart from everything being exceptional expensive, having to watch out for the ‘suicidal’ cyclists on the road, concentrating on not getting distracted by the amazing views, and one incident with a failed construction site traffic light (resulting in reversing the truck along a narrow, cliff side road), the drive was very enjoyable. I definitely can understand why the Big Sur drive is thought to be one of the best drives in the world.