HI Hostels Blog

A Trip along the West Coast Route 1

Dear F came to join us in a raining night. Now our crew members are all set: Darling J, Fancy F, and me, the driver and maybe the “mom” as well. (You can’t believe how wild those two can go, and how lack of skill they were in practical things, for example, driving.) This was a long planned trip; finally be put into practice. We drove from San Diego to Santa Barbara directly and then went for the spectacular Route 1 until we reached San Francisco. Many scenery places along the beautiful coast, thus a little research beforehand would be very helpful. The trip was set to be in two days, so the only driver would not be exhausted to death. Day one is from San Diego to Cambria. Day two is from Cambria to San Francisco. Bridge Street Inn – Cambria Hostel and HI-San Francisco-Fisherman’s Wharf were the places we chose to stay.

A little bit research beforehand

From San Diego to Cambria, LA passed. Here, plenty of fancy cars caught my eyes. However the view itself was not worth to mention comparing to whatever happened afterwards. Scenery opened up and turned its color from gray to various greens as LA was further and further left behind. The beautiful open space and mountainous terrain presented itself as what so called wild west meant to be. It is very easy to feel lonely in this road, because not many residents and towns along the road as well as exits. All you have is endless road HWY 5, big open sky, and a land stretching to the horizon.

At Santa Barbara, we headed towards west and joined Route 1, where two blues meet each other, the sky and the ocean. Sunlight traversing through the pacific without obstacles, colored the ocean blue with light golden. There are several places in Route 1 are world famous for self-driving enthusiastic. Big Sur is at the top of them.

But before tomorrow’s Big Sur, HI Cambria Hostel right above San Luis – Obispo was the place for tonight. It is hidden in a quiet little town with a classical country house looking; a little yard is in front of the house, probably would remind you of grandma’s place, not fancy at all however sweet and feels like home. It is at the end of a road which extents towards a little forest in hill. We arrived at night so it actually took a little while for us to find this place.

Bridge Street Inn – Cambria Hostel

Sometimes a detour would not trouble one much while surprising one quite a lot in an unexpected way. The next morning, instead of leaving for Big Sur directly, we went deep into the hill. A divine yard was at the top waiting for us. Deer walked around making a guard.

Big Sur doesn’t need a GPS to identify. When you see trees became lush and their shape became various which almost make you believe them having a little bit personalities, you are in Big Sur. Darling J and Fancy F began to sing like birds in the car. The only regret that we had was, nobody remembered to bring any camping equipment along. Several interesting camping grounds just flew through out the window. And beautiful road carried on. 17 mile drive is another great place must to see, before drawn into endless San Francisco and San Jose suburban industrial land and farming land. Almost instantly after 17 mile road, forest receded. For a while, I felt I was driving next to a beach, just without seeing the ocean. A beach without ocean is like a desert.

Route 1 in Darling J’s camera

After all the sunlight faded away, we were run out of suburban regions. City lights were reachable ahead. A passing through golden gate bridge followed by a crossing through a long creepy tunnel and a continuing heading into a total silent darkness made San Francisco-Fisherman’s Wharf a remote and a dreamlike place. Here it is, San Francisco-Fisherman’s Wharf, our destination for this trip, a secret back yard of SF.

HI San Francisco-Fisherman’s Wharf

Our trip ended here, in this dreamland. This article is written in Nov 2012, in memory of a trip happened two years ago.

Darling J
Fancy Fu and me

Many thanks to Yilan for sharing the experience of her trip along the West Coast Route 1.

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