Although we’ve just entered the middle of winter, the high today (Sunday) and Monday is projected to be 70-72. So I’m thinking of spring…
And when I think of spring, I think…road trip! And my favorite road trip is a drive down the California coast, although the Oregon coast has a lot going for it too. So I’m going to reminisce photographically about three coastal road trips – the Oregon coast, northern California coast and Big Sur.
Let’s begin in Oregon and head south!
In July 2000, we flew into Portland and then drove to Astoria, on the Columbia River in Oregon’s northwest corner and across from Washington state. This was the beginning of the almost 340 miles drive on Hwy 101 to Brookings, which is just a few miles from California.
What I like about Oregon is that most of its coast is dotted with state parks. You can’t go far without coming upon a park, which ensures public access to the water, unlike Florida which has all sorts of private development along the coast.
About 25 miles south of Astoria, at Tillamook head, is Ecola State Park. Check out this view!
Along the central coast, Cape Perpetua offers spectacular views.
Just south of Cape Perpetua are the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area.
The highway between Coos Bay, just past the Dunes area, and Port Orford has been called the “fabulous fifty” miles. About 20 miles south of Coos Bay is Bandon Beach.
About five miles north of Port Orford is Cape Blanco.
For the California coast, we’ll start in Eureka which is about 300 miles north of San Francisco. We drove this in November 2011.
The first 50 miles of Hwy 101 south of Eureka departs from the coast and travels 25 miles through the giant redwoods area, including the Avenue of the Giants, but since this is a “coastal” trip, I’m not including any redwoods photos.
South of Fort Bragg is the Mendocino Headlands State Park.
About 25 miles south of Mendocino headlands is Point Arena.
We have driven south from San Francisco to Monterey Bay and Big Sur at least three times but the following photos are part of the 2011 trip. South of San Francisco, between Moss Beach and Half Moon Bay is Pillar Point.
About 25 miles north of Santa Cruz and it’s famous boardwalk is Pigeon Point.
Although Monterey is the “big name” town on the peninsula for which it is named, Carmel and Pebble Beach have name recognition for Clint Eastwood, who served as Carmel Mayor, and the Pebble Beach golf course which is on the water. But for scenic views, the relatively unknown Pacific Grove is the place to go because its waterfront is undeveloped.
South of the Monterey Peninsula, the 75 miles of Big Sur is one of the most spectacular drives in the country. Every time we’ve driven it, we take the whole day. Because of all the twists and turns, it’s difficult to drive faster than about 35. And, it’s difficult to drive more than a quarter mile without pulling into a turnout to admire the incredible view.
This is the view looking north to Bixby Bridge.
This year is the 45th anniversary of my graduating high school. My class is planning a reunion in San Diego for October. That’s the only part of southern California I’ve been to. And in San Diego, Coronado Island, with the famous Hotel Del, is a popular beach.
So until October, I’ll be California Dreamin’…