Back in August 2014, Ross and I took a trip to California. It was somewhere we had always wanted to visit and when we saw that US Airways were doing cheap deals to LA, we just had to go! We had booked the trip in the May and frustratingly, my health deteriorated quite significantly in the July. I was determined to go and it turned out to be one of the most amazing but most difficult trips I’ve done in my life. I have absolutely no idea how I managed to do all that I did looking back!
We flew from Edinburgh to LA, via Philadelphia, and I was so glad of the stop-over. The first flight was manageable and I actually felt alright after a rest in Philly. However, the second turned out to be very painful for me but I knew it was never going to be easy and just kept telling myself it would be worth it. When we arrived in LA I was fit to collapse and was very happy when we finally reached our hotel so I could go straight to bed. The next morning I woke up super early, filled with excitement for the day ahead. We were driving from Los Angeles up to Monterrey Bay. When I say we, I really mean Ross. I’m lucky in that he knows just how much driving tires me and he drove the entire trip. After a great breakfast, we collected our hire car and set off. I was in charge of the sat nav and typical me, I managed to set it to take the wrong route-oops!
This worked out quite well though as we ended up taking an amazing drive through Topanga State Park. Topanga itself was a pretty cool little place and I wish we had the time to stop and take photos. However, we knew it would pretty much take most of the day to drive to Monterrey so we kept going. We made it down to Malibu and I had a great time watching all the surfers and also gawking at the enormous and amazing homes. I have no idea what this place is in the photo below but it was massive!!
The drive along the Pacific Coastal Highway was spectacular in parts and it made sitting in a car for hours completely worth it. One of the main stops we made along the way was of course to see the Piedras Blancas elephant seals. There weren’t a huge number of seals on the beach but the walkway was so close to them, which was awesome. They were amusing to watch, especially the males who were incredibly lazy! This guy lay snoring and each exhale sent a gust of sand up into the air!
The females were much smaller and more nimble and these two were having a bit of a spat over what must have been a particularly good spot on the beach:
We also stopped off at Hearst Castle but decided not to venture up to see it. I was partly thinking I needed to conserve energy but truth be told, living in Scotland means I am pretty spoiled when it comes to amazing castles. Looking at the castle nestled up high in the hills, it just didn’t make me want to go and see it. It was too modern for my tastes. So we continued on. The weather began to cool down the further north we drove but the scenery was absolutely breath-taking. I never really took any photographs (other than the one at the very beginning of this post). I just wanted to enjoy being there and didn’t feel the desire to take photos (sorry!). Sometimes you just want to live in the moment.
Another highlight for me was seeing a whale breaching in the distance as we drove along the road. We quickly pulled off the road and watched the whale swim off into the distance. We also saw a couple of dolphins at another stopping point, which was fab. It made me excited for the next day as we had planned a whale watching trip! I would say the last 70 miles or so up towards Monterrey were my favourite. We passed through beautiful State Parks and Ross had a brilliant time driving along the winding roads through the hills. If I were to go back I would definitely take more time out to stop along the way and visit places like Big Sur.
When we reached Monterrey, it was cold, foggy and quite drizzly. The complete opposite of where we had came from. We quickly grabbed something to eat before I crashed in a heap and fell straight to sleep! It was a long, exhausting but wonderful day.
If you would like to catch up with the rest of the posts in this series, you can find them here.