Sunday, September 19, 2010

Los Angeles to San Francisco, our trip up the coast

Daria Souvorova, Sweet Daria's, Route 1Early Thursday morning, we packed up our little red Volkswagen beetle and headed out for our trip up the coast. I have looked forward to an opportunity to do this since my friend Nancy told me about her own trip earlier this year. This drive was the culmination of our trip, and we couldn't wait to get started on the epic ride.

Daria Souvorova, Sweet Daria's, Route 1On the way up the coast we stopped to say hello to Rafael's Auntie Mora in San Luis Obisbo. We stayed for lunch and a tour of the city which was hosting a sidewalk painting contest. Mora is Rafael's aunt's lifelong best friend and it was an incredible treat to meet her. We had lunch and talked about our messed up love lives and shared hilarious stories about our past, and before we knew it, it was three in the afternoon.

Daria Souvorova, Sweet Daria's, Route 1Although we were quite a bit behind our schedule, we decided to continue on our journey up the coast. Mora was unsure about our decision, she thought we wouldn't reach the Big Sur until midnight, but the drive up the coast is truly the reason for the California trip, so we couldn't forsake it.

Daria Souvorova, Sweet Daria's, Route 1We spent a bit more time chatting about the most important things to see on our route, making sure not to miss the elephant seals and the beautiful vistas and map in hand, headed out on our way at four in the afternoon equipped with four water bottles and caffeinated shots to help us survive.

Daria Souvorova, Sweet Daria's, Route 1As we made our way towards route one, all the sunshine that graced us in San Luis Obisbo disappeared into a billowing fog. Shapely, green covered mountains seemed to pierce giant pillows of fog that tumbled down their sides and stopped just above our rooftop. Although we set out somewhat disappointed by the lack of clear skies, the view of the mountain and surf through the dense fog was incredibly romantic. There is something cinematic in driving on a curved, mountainside road where everything but the coming turn is masked by an incredibly thick fog, at least it was cinematic for me since I wasn't driving.

Daria Souvorova, Sweet Daria's, Route 1As per our instructions we stopped at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. We parked our car and walked under the highway to an overlook which Mora said she would murder us if we did not see. At first the scene did not seem any different from the others, until we saw a waterfall falling on the beach right from the mountains. It was incredibly beautiful through the fog and the sounds of the waves crashing onto the shore and the waterfall frothing down the mountaintop and slamming onto the soft sand was an overwhelming experience. (You can barely see the waterfall in the above panorama, it is settled in the recess of the cliff to the left.

Daria Souvorova, Sweet Daria's, Route 1Expecting a seven hour drive and not being able to see any land marks we were expecting, we sailed right past the elephant seals, which I desperately wanted to see, but we stopped at many wonderful vistas where we were honored by incredible sights of flowing surf on beaches surrounded by cliff sides enveloped in fog. The greyish brown expanses are freckled with incredibly vibrant yellow and pink wildflowers.
Daria Souvorova, Sweet Daria's, Route 1Throughout our entire trip, I have been noticing and incredible creeping succulent that seems to cover the entirety of California. The reddish green fonds grow off almost every surface from the sandy beaches to restaurants' plotted landscapes and from the tips of the growths sprout beautiful yellow cactus like flowers. I was enchanted with this plant on my first visit to California and selfishly tore off a bit to take home with me. This plantlet grew marvelously and spread like wildfire until I moved it a bit too close to the heater in the winter, and it melted almost overnight.

Daria Souvorova, Sweet Daria's, Route 1I couldn't help myself, every stop we made to look over the cliff-side, I became more and more fond of my plan to gather another sample. Once we arrived at the famous Bixby Bridge on the Big Sur, I made my way down to the edge of the cliff towards my new little friend. I found the perfect specimen and didn't fall off the side of the cliff, so I can call the day a success.

Daria Souvorova, Sweet Daria's, Route 1We made great time even through all of our stops and reached Big Sur before sundown. We were greeted by some unexpected sunshine as we veered away from the shore side and drove through a forest of incredibly huge sycamores. The sun shining over the foggy clouds in the distance created a heavenly white light which was incredibly disorienting as we took a turn and descended back into the foggy mist.
Daria Souvorova, Sweet Daria's, Route 1We soon arrived in San Francisco and prepared for another wonderful day of our trip. Although I wish I could have seen more of the coast, and wish I could do it again, I think we were honored with an incredible romantic sight and I would not have given up the opportunity.

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