Thursday, November 08, 2007

Goin' coastal

Pacific Coast Highway

I had especially been looking forward to the afternoon of Tuesday, October 23. Once I had finished sightseeing in Monterey and Salinas, I'd be driving south for close to a hundred miles along the Pacific Coast before I turned inland toward Bakersfield and Tehachapi.

The spectacular scenery started almost immediately. Just south of Carmel Highlands, Route 1 emerges from the trees and clings to the cliffs above the coastline for mile and miles -- arguably one of the most breathtaking drives anywhere in North America. There's a reason the auto makers like to film their car commercials here...

Route 1 south of Carmel Highlands, CA

coastal scenery between Carmel Highlands and Big Sur

the Bixby Bridge

late in the day
Unfortunately, beach access along this part of Highway 1 is very limited. Most of the land along this portion of the coast is privately owned. Even if it weren't, in most areas there's simply no way to safely negotiate the steep cliffs in order to reach the shoreline. But the scenery looked all the more dramatic from a few hundred feet above.
I ran out of daylight long before I ran out of road and great views. I just couldn't seem to stop pulling over and snapping photos! I was just south of Big Sur around sunset, so I had to drive the rest of the way to Cambria (and on to Bakersfield and Tehachapi) in the dark. But it was worth it.
Leftovers from Monterey and Salinas
A last look at the Monterey area...
A seal catches some sun in Monterey Bay.

early morning on Monterey Bay

The Salinas Valley

Coming next: two days on Tehachapi. Stay tuned...
nr: John Steinbeck - East of Eden
np: Reckless Kelly - "Desolation Angels"

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