If you are ever in San Francisco, make sure you set aside a day to drive south on the Pacific Coast Highway, Route 1. It starts just south of the town of Pacifica, which is a cool little beach town 16 mile south of San Francisco. Make sure you bring a camera and no agenda. There will be many photo ops along the way.
This road just begs to be driven. The hills & curves make this road seem like a roller coaster. Even better is the view. Though the road begs to be driven hard, make sure you slow down to admire the view. You will never regret it. There are plenty of shoulders wide enough to pull over and look at the beach down below of the cliffs.
You will pass throught quaint beach towns like Half Moon Bay & Pescadero just to name a few. There are a number of State Parks along this route with ample parking. So if you wanna pull over and catch a wave along the drive, bring your surf board ... the waves are perfect all along this coastal route.
A really cool stop was the lighthouse at Pigeon Point. This stretch of land juts out into the Pacific waters and provides a scenic view of the PCH & the landscape. The lighthouse itself is closed to the public, as it looks like it has seen better days. There is a little hostel right next to it, so if you like it enough to spend the night that is an option ... who wouldn't like to sleep with the sounds of the waves crashing along the rocky shores. There is a wooden deck behind the lighthouse with great views of the waves crashing on the weathered rocks. Great photo op here. I got a great shot of me & my wife on this deck.
Be weary of the many bicyclists along this route. Many long distance bicyclists ride this road and pack a lot of gear. Some of them have bike trailers that sit on an axle and have a wide profile. Give them the right of way.
When we rolled into Santa Cruz, we decided to stop & grab some lunch. The town was so cool that we decided to check it out. It is a very picturesque town ..... and (having grown up in NYC) absolutely spotless. I never saw a town that was so clean. However, that is another review.
If we had the time we would have drove all the way to Monterrey. However, we had dinner plans with an old friend back in Pacifica, so unfortunately, we had to cut the trip short. If you make it to this part of the country, don't sell yourself short. Drive as far as you can, make lots of stops, check out the towns on the way, maybe stay overnight at some dive hotel, enjoy a beautiful Pacific Coast sunset, and most of all just soak it all in.
There are no words to describe the experience. If you are ever close enough, just drive it. It will be an experience you will never forget. That's all I have to say.
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