route 1, california - southbound, coastside

After a few days in San Francisco, we packed up and hit the road, along the storied, twisting, cliff-hugging Pacific Coast Highway southbound to Los Angeles.

The PCH, also called Route 1, is one of the most scenic drives in the States. We rolled down the windows and listened to the Pacific ebb and flow as we drove, the sun baking us and coloring everything we passed with gorgeous, saturated Crayola colors.

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Drop dead gorgeous landscapes of Big Sur.

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

The scenery was too inviting, begging us to pull onto the shoulder and get out and explore for a few minutes.

Thankfully, we had plenty of time to explore, because we would be stopping overnight in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
On our private beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea... happy Valentine's Day, indeed!

 

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

A bunch of dolphins were playing and swimming near those rocks, watching us curiously. Alex talked me out of stripping down and jumping in to swim with them.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

And then, of course, there was this curious little seal. He stayed right there, a few feet off the beach, watching us. Like complete idiots, we whistled to him as if he were a dog: "Here boy!"

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

We arrived at Asilomar Beach just in time for the sunset -- the most spectacular sky I've ever seen. Asilomar is on a peninsula jutting into the jagged sea, so you feel like you're at the end of the world, wrapped up in the sky.

Asilomar Beach sunset, California

Asilomar Beach sunset, California

Asilomar Beach sunset, California

Asilomar Beach sunset, California

Casanova pasta, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Valentine's Day dinner at Casanova, which has a tremendous thick tree growing in the middle of the dining room. We had big plates of delicious, olive-oil drenched pasta and a good red wine. Perfect.

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

And the next morning, back on the road.

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

McWay Falls, Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California
McWay Falls

Pacific Coast Highway Route 1, California

Piedras Blancas seals, California

We stopped at Piedras Blancas to watch the seals sunbathing in the hot afternoon sun. It seemed there were a million of them. It was jolting as a city kid to be surrounded by these unbelievably massive, lazy, happy guys. Every now and then one would slowly waddle down to the water for a dip; otherwise they just flicked sand on top of themselves to keep cool. Some life.

Piedras Blancas seals, California


In-n-Out burger, California

Of course, we stopped at California's burger institution for lunch. In-n-Out is a California-only thing, and has a "deafening hype" surrounding it -- to Californians, it is the holy land. It's just a fast food chain with two things on the menu: a burger and fries.

I am a jaded New Yorker who is not impressed by anything and also was a vegetarian for 10 years and could not care less about burgers, so keep all that in mind as I say this: In-n-Out sucks. My burger was soggy with the like 12 sauces (the In-n-Out "secret special sauce" -- ugh) they drench the poor thing in, and it was served somewhere below room temperature. Meh.

In-n-Out burger, California

Alex is one of those Californians who hears mention of In-n-Out and starts drooling and waxing poetic about its other-worldly magic. He was extremely happy and I think was brought to tears a couple times as he demolished his burger and then the second half of mine.

In-n-Out burger, California

In-n-Out burger, California
Whatever.

Photos from Los Angeles coming soon....

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