Life is a Highway

Before embarking on this trip, Joe and I outlined our “must see” locations and attractions. For Joe, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) was at the top of the list. Now, you might be thinking to yourself…what’s so special about a highway? For Joe and all motorcyclists alike, the PCH is the Mecca of all motorcycle trips! Why? Well, the Pacific Coast Highway boasts incredible ocean views, winding roads along the west coast, and endless miles of rock cliffs. In essence, the PCH contains all elements for a motorcyclist’s wildest dream. So naturally, when Joe and I were mapping out our return trip to L.A. from Santa Cruz, we chose to return via Hwy 1 aka the Pacific Coast Highway!

Now, we couldn’t drive straight to L.A. along the PCH without stopping for a few days! That would be a complete travesty. Thus, we found ourselves camping in Big Sur.

For those unfamiliar, Big Sur is the “longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States” (Google), and let me just say, it is absolutely breathtaking.

As we drove in to Big Sur, we crossed the famous Bixby Bridge and marveled at its engineering. Later, we would drive back on the motorcycle to take pictures of it and its surrounding landscape.

After admiring Bixby Bridge and taking a few pictures, Joe and I continued along the coast until we reached Andrew Molera State Park. What we thought would be an easy, quick stop to see the park’s beach and its famous, purple, sandy shore ended up being a 1.5 mile hike, but the juice was worth the squeeze! There’s something profoundly special about watching the sunset on a beach, and we finished our jaunt to the coastline just in time to see it.

Of course we took some pictures, but not before we took time to sit, breathe in the fresh, salty air, and look out upon the ocean’s waves.

It’s moments like these I find myself reflecting on the blessings in my life, and traveling around the country with Joe is one of my greatest blessings.

One of my favorite things about traveling with Joe are the unexpected friendships we make and the adventures we find ourselves undertaking. For example, during our trip to Big Sur, as we were hiking trails around Pfeiffer State Park, we came across an area of the park involving a clear river and large boulders. As we were contemplating which direction to take, a young couple appeared, and before we knew it, all four of us were helping each other clamor over rocks upstream.

Though our game of “don’t touch the lava” was fun or in this case “avoid the icy clutches of the river,” the true excitement came from the waterfall and swimming hole we eventfully found.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I see a waterfall and/or a swimming hole, I have to jump in and swim! After an arduous hike, the frigid temperature of the river was a welcome respite, and we spent ample time enjoying swimming with our new friends as we laughed and explored the gorge.

Joe and I both agree that our time at Pfeiffer State Park was a highlight of our trip to Big Sur. We didn’t get to see everything we hoped to, but we definitely plan on coming back soon!

For now, we are enjoying our remaining few days in California. We have a few fun things planned before we take off on our return trip to Texas.

Until next time!

P.S. On our drive from Big Sur to L.A. we came across wild elephant seals! *insert squeal

See You On The 405

After 5 weeks of traveling and living off grid, we made it to California! But first, allow me to start from where we last left off.

Previously on Garcia’s Moving Castle…we were wrapping up our time in Flagstaff, Arizona. My lungs were recovering from our jaunt to Grand Falls, and Joe and I had nixed our initial plans of traveling to Mammoth Lakes, CA. Instead, we decided to take off for the coast! So, we said goodbye to our new friends, packed up the camper, and readied ourselves for the 8 hour journey through the Mojave desert.

We decided to split up the trek to Simi Valley, CA, into 2 parts. Thankfully, the first leg of the journey was uneventful, and we stopped at a KOA (Kampgrounds of America) in Needles, CA, for the night.

Let me just say…God. Bless. Hookups. After fetching and toting water, setting up solar panels and maintaining a generator for 5 weeks, full hookups at a KOA might as well as have been an all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas. A bit hyperbolic? Perhaps. Completely accurate? Absolutely.

Joe and I both agree that our night at the Needles KOA Campground was both rejuvenating and peaceful, and by peaceful, I mean we slept like the dead.

After having one of the best nights of sleep in our lives, Joe and I girded our loins for the second half of our journey…the mountain pass. Spoiler alert, we made it, but we may have sprouted a few grey hairs along the way. From flash flood warnings and random torrential downpour, to manual grade shifting through the mountains, navigating Los Angeles traffic with an 8,000 lb. trailer would make even an atheist pray!

But hey, like I said, we made it. Phew!

So, we survived the journey to California. What have we been up to since then? Lots!

Joe’s brother’s family lives in LA, and because we don’t get to see them very often, we have been making up for lost time! The first day we got in, we met them for dinner, and last night, we went to the Santa Monica Pier!

It has always been a dream of mine to visit this famous pier and ride its ferris wheel, and Joe’s brother, Rick, made it happen. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good funnel cake and amusement park, and by the end of the night, my blood sugar was certainly feeling the effects of the pizza and sugary goodness we consumed.

Induced sugar coma aside, our time at the Santa Monica Pier was magical. Feeling the ocean breeze, laughing and talking with family, and experiencing the city from the dizzying height of the ferris wheel left me with a sense of childlike wonder.

Gosh, I’m grateful.

And with that, I am going to end this post.

Until next time!