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A Once in a Lifetime Drive

by Trish Utter

My daughter, Brooke and I were staying in LA but thought we would have a quick road trip. We rented a car from Enterprise on Sunset Boulevard. The assistant, named Eva, was wonderful and quickly had us on the road. We drove up Route 5 to Mill Valley near San Francisco as this was the quickest way and we were in a hurry, but on the way back down we opted for the iconic coastal road trip of Route 1.

The day started off with us driving from the beautiful redwood village of Mill Valley and over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco. The beautiful orange structure of the bridge gracefully appeared through the clouds. The traffic was light, the car windows were down so the cool air blew through our hair. Within a short time we were out of the busy city and heading through tall evergreens towards Carmel. Carmel is famous for its golf course, Pebble Beach. Not only do they host some famous golf tournaments but it is also home of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, one of the largest car shows in the US.

The trip is so jaw dropping that time goes by quickly. Before we knew it we were in Big Sur with stretches from Carmel to San Simeon. This area is a national treasure as it is the most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline. This two lane stretch of Route 1 takes you on a twisty mountain drive that dips and curves though mystical scenery. You will not find hotels, restaurants, restrooms or gas stations for miles so make sure you are prepared. If you are brave enough to step to the edge of a lookout area you will see black sandy beaches with a few sea lions and maybe a few otters. You might also see some brave surfers risking the huge waves that break on the massive, and treacherous rocks. Brooke and I could not stop taking photos, it was so beautiful and around each corner was completely different weather and scenery. One minute it was bright sunlight and warm, the next dark with mist and cool.

This road trip can take about 7 hours without any stops but It is hard to pass up all the amazing views so plan on taking your time and enjoy the scenery.

During the rainy season mud slides right off the mountains and sometimes shuts Route 1 down. There are a few camp sites and the occasional drive way to a multi million dollar house that’s not visible from the road, but is built into the side of a cliff! I have no idea how they would get groceries and this is one place that you defiantly could not call for pizza delivery! In fact there is also little to no cell service along this stretch of road.

After not seeing anyone for miles, the we started to see a little traffic, Bentley’s Jeeps and G Wagons with surfboards on top. We had reached Malibu!

If there is one drive you should do in your lifetime this is it.