We headed through the mountain pass from Lake Elsinore to Dana Point to hop on our start of the Pacfic Coast Highway, (PCH)
Some stopped traffic in the mountains with road construction had us carefully lane splitting while smiling at each other in unbelief about the legality of what we were doing. It is wild being able to just go around all the traffic. We made it to the ocean and both felt accomplished in this milestone.
We rode up to Hermosa Beach, soaking in the view. The South side of LA seemed dirty with a lot of oil rigs out in the ocean and other ugly industrial equipment South of Long Beach. When our stomachs reminded us that it was time to eat we stopped at a California classic; In and Out Burger.
Brian reminded me that one place you have to eat if you come to Cali is In and Out. It was very tasty and surprisingly well priced. They have a wonderfully simple menu that just relaxed me in ease of choice.
The night was spent at Hermosa in a little hostel right near the boardwalk. Brian and I rolled our eyes at all the paid parking and frustratingly ended up paying 10 dollars each for a parking garage. If our bikes were messed with our stolen, I can honestly say we would both probably cry. The free street parking here looked very questionable being away from street lights and other people.
In the morning I borrowed a bike from the hostel and rode up and down the boardwalk beaming with happiness. Riding a bike again was refreshing and seeing everyone out walking, jogging, biking and enjoying themselves makes me happy. Handfuls of people were already at the beach on a Monday playing volleyball. It is nice to see people being able to enjoy life instead of just being stuck working to pay the bills.
From Hermosa we cruised on up the coast and all the different amusement park rides on the large pier at Santa Monica drew my attention as we slowly drove by from the beach side road. After a while we decided to take a break and sat by the ocean enjoying the view.
Sometimes you just gotta sit and stare at the ocean for a while, ya know? We were still waiting to hear back on some couch surfing requests for hopefully staying the night in Santa Barbara. Both of us were not having much luck with couch surfing though.
After we arrived at around 5 30 to the lovely little town right on the water with a backdrop of lovely little mountains, we checked out a decently priced hostel to be declined entry to the dorms without being international travelers. Frustrated and hungry, we tasted of the excellent Mexican food scene in Santa Barbara at Mony’s. Still no word back from couch surfing and our funds are dwindling fast from the expensive west coast. Oh boy. It gets really cold out here by the ocean at night.
We headed to the beach after looking around for some good spots for hanging up a hammock around town and just sat at the beach, soaking in our surroundings and thinking about what to do. I walked over to three sunbathing ladies to ask if they were from the area and if they knew any good spots to throw up a hammock. When we looked before coming to the beach I thought I found a good place only to find a homeless man with his fully loaded down bicycle near the end of the small trail. The girls weren’t from here and I asked another guy sitting near them. Isaac had some good recommendations before saying that he would just host us. We seemed like cool guys and he hopped on my motorcycle with his long board to head to his apartment, assuring us his roommates wouldn’t mind at all. Isaac DJ’s and showed us some of his craft along with some of the surfer vibe in southern Cali by riding the living room surf board.
Our sleeping accommodations that night consisted of a very small section of couch for Brian and I to each curl up on, but we were both extremely thankful. We got introduced to his neighbors and got to talk and hang out with a lot of really neat Santa Barbara locals our age.
We headed out early the next morning to push all the way to Santa Cruz.
I started to really see even more of why people love California. It is incredibly beautiful and wildly varied. Beaches, farmlands, mountains… yup!
After putting in a bunch of miles we both stopped for a snack and both laughed when I asked Brian where we were and he said, “no idea.”
We had to unfortunately go around a huge chunk of Route 1 with work being down on it south of Big Sur. (I think there was a rock slide or something?) But on the plus side we got to see more of inland California with the 101.
Big Sur was really close at this point, and I can feel excitement rising as we get back closer to the coast and back on 1! I have heard so much of Big Sur. Monterey was first before heading south and we hammock-ed for a bit of a small break.
The southbound traffic on route 1 was terrible with the road south of Big Sur being closed for everyone. No matter for us though. I looked at Brian, flashing a grin, and began to seemingly disregard rules by cutting through traffic like James Bond escaping from his pursuers. In no time at all, and with hundreds of people (and potential pursuers) behind us, we found ourselves in the midst of dazzling overlooks and majestic roadways.
After some more lovely gazing at the ocean and some hiking, we headed north to a hostel lighthouse just a little ways North of Santa Cruz.
When we got there we found they only had 1 dorm room left and were not willing to let one of us sleep on the floor or throw up a hammock outside. Back down to Santa Cruz we went along the cold coast with the fog rolling in and nice view of the sweeping, vast Pacific Ocean.