Road Trip Summer 2015, Highway 1 in California, Lead The Way!

Summer 2015 road trip, where shall we go?

Two years ago in June, we embarked on our very first long road trip adventure to San Diego. Up until that trip we had only traveled 8 hours together in the car and San Diego was double the amount of time, a whopping 16 hours from Boulder. We learned in the summer of 2013, we road trip well together. How could we not? Of course there are wonderful snacks with a few smatterings of foods we would never keep in the house, stops in random towns, miles upon miles of beautiful scenery, lots of laughter, The Series of Unfortunate Events audio books, singing, oodles of photo ops, and a very special bond that forms when you spend days together cooped up in a vehicle. Last summer we returned to southern California, which was wonderful, but I've been longing for years to drive Highway 1 through Big Sur. This year, I finally had my way and we set sail on our longest road trip to date, 2,990 miles!

We did things slightly different this time around, we took two nights on both ends of our trip to get to and from California. We may have tested our boundaries in the past to spend more time at the beach, with the inevitable if we do this, we'll have to drive straight through 16 hours back home (yeah, we can do it). Even though we did it with no problems, we were really crabby, the girls had to sleep in the car, we had to drive many hours at night, and road tripping with two children like we did when we were in our 20's is simply not ideal. But in the moment…two more days at the beach really had us convinced otherwise.

We quickly discovered this time around, more travel time is our sweet spot, it left us time to have a real dinner in the town we arrived in for the evening. We only drove during daylight hours, which I love from a sight seeing perspective and as someone with terrible night driving vision. Every hotel we stayed at had a pool, so the girls had the opportunity to burn off some energy and something to look forward to as the miles ticked closer to our landing spot.

This trip was certainly one for the books, we stayed in a beautiful mountain luxury condo, a delightful no frills mountain cabin, a few hotel chains, a wonderful home just blocks from the beach, a boutique hotel on the beach, a vacation club, and last but not least a motel in the mountains of Colorado. California cities we checked off our road trip list were Olympic Valley (Tahoe), Berkeley, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, Monterey,  Carmel, Cambria, Morro Bay, and Santa Barbara. Of course that included Big Sur and all the lovely spots along Highway 1 from San Francisco to Santa Barbara.

Bixby Bridge in Big Sur was a place I've dreamed of visiting for years. I've always had a strange, albeit fearful, fascination with bridges and the picturesque Bixby Bridge topped my list of bridges I've always wanted to cross. When we arrived at this very spot, it was simply breathtaking. My eyes didn't know where to look first, the sweeping views for miles up the coast and out to sea, or an occasional vehicle coasting around the corner and passing over the brilliantly engineered architectural splendor of a bridge. The breeze kicked up and the waves crashed, I put my arms around my girls and told them I had always dreamed of standing in this very spot. We put away our cameras and hit the road, hundreds of miles of coast ahead of us, the view was magnificent mile after mile. There were too many, wow look over there, moments to count. Our hearts swelled from the natural beauty we were experiencing and our love affair with California blossomed, all from simply allowing Highway 1 to lead the way.

…more stories and photos to follow