I have taken longer road trips, but none more memorable than the road trip from Santa Barbara to San Francisco. My girlfriend was my traveling companion, and we were visiting her sister in the Bay Area.
We started out at 6:30 am and took Route 1 north from Santa Barbara, California. We headed up the Santa Ynez Mountains and stopped at a small town called Solvang for breakfast. Solvang is designed like a little village in Sweden. They have a big windmill, Swedish meatballs, bakeries serving danish, Norwegian architecture and horse drawn carriages. It is a family-friendly town with nice parks and play areas for children
Back on Route 1, we passed Los Osos, Moro Bay and we stopped at a quaint little beach town called Cayucus, where we had tasty fish tacos for lunch.
The road leading us to Big Sur spiraled up to the sky and as the altitude got higher the road got narrower. Some parts of the trip we were so high up and close to the cliff that my girlfriend, who’s afraid of heights, refused to look out the window.
At Big Sur we stopped at San Simeon to see the mammoth elephant seals. Some were molting, some were growling, and some of the male seals were fighting each other over their harem of females. They were huge, 8 thousand pounds with a length of over 20 feet. These magnificent creatures made the most ominous guttural sounds and barks.
We also stopped at a place called the Jagged Edge Cafe and took pictures of the steep mountain drop. Big Sur is where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise sharply from the Pacific Ocean. It’s a beautiful coming together of ocean and mountain, a marriage made it heaven.
Before our final destination to San Francisco, we stopped at Halfmoon Bay, a beautiful coastal city with a poetic name. It has an old town feel with great restaurants and antique shops. We had dinner at Pasta Moon. I had a simple meal, a chicken caesar salad with fresh juicy chunks of chicken. The clam chowder was creamy and gently flavorful.
The delicious meal topped off our short road trip. I will always remember the Swedish town, the dramatic cliff, the humongous elephant seals and that tasty meal at Halfmoon Bay.