Driving Along the PCH

By Andrew Hemberger

By going to school at USC you are essentially surrounded by every type of environment. You have beaches, mountains, deserts, and forests. With just a little bit of an adventurous spirit there are a plethora of activities that you can participate in. Surfing, skiing, hiking, and biking are just a few of these. Los Angeles is a truly special place to call home for a couple of years.

During one weekend last year some friends and I decided to go camping. We didn’t know where we wanted to go, so a simple Google search directed us to a spot in Northern California called Big Sur. It was roughly five hours away by car, and we planned a fun road trip and subsequent camping experience.

We left early Saturday morning form Los Angeles and hit a steady rhythm of 80mph until we got past Ventura. Once I looked up from the road I couldn’t stop.

Waves formed and fell in magnificent fashion along the still dimly lit coastline. I could see the dedicated dawn patrol surfers floating in the water and riding glassy high crested waves.

The sunrise was starting to sparkle off of the water and we decided to keep pushing onward. By the time we had reached Morro Bay I had to stop.

We ate breakfast at a small diner while giving sideways glances at the giant behemoth rock jutting from the ocean.

Morro Bay is in an area called San Luis Obispo, about an hour and a half past Santa Barbara.

Photo from Pxhere

Although the drive could get tiresome at times the PCH, otherwise known as highway 1, makes for magnificent scenery. I would highly recommend driving during sunrise or sunset. The Channel Islands hug the coastline and for me elicited thoughts of adventure. Each island is big enough to be it’s own trip, with Catalina Island being the most industrialized.

I pondered about the Channel Islands while I ate my eggs and toast in Morro Bay. The waitress filled up the stained white mug at my table, and I sipped on the piping hot coffee. People were starting to slowly file into the small diner. First, the elderly came for their early breakfast and tea, and then young couples with small children. We watched all of this from a booth by the window. It felt like we were in our own world.

Photo from Wikipedia

When we left the diner it was afternoon, and we leisurely continued the drive north. Thanks to our countless pit stops by the time we had reached Big Sur it was dark.

We sat in my car somewhere in Big Sur along the PCH. Campground lights directed us along a narrow path. A sign barely illuminated read Riverside Campground. I remember asking myself “What River along the California coast?”

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

I drove down the steep graded cement and neared a bridge, if you could call it that. Water flowed around the car, and I was worried that I would be stuck in the shifty terrain. Despite this I kept driving.

Despite all of the potential setbacks, my trip to Sur was awesome. Everything worked out great, despite poor planning. The views are magnificent, and the fresh air has an aroma of pine. It was great to get away from the city for a weekend, and I highly recommend Big Sur to anybody.

Photo from Wikipedia

Featured image from Wikimedia Commons

Andrew graduated from USC with a degree in Economics. As a member of USC’s NROTC program, he will graduate as an officer in the US Navy, where he will serve for several years. Andrew thoroughly enjoys traveling, and his favorite aspect is getting to interact with people from all different cultures. Although he most recently lived in Washington D.C, he has lived all over the United States. Andrew’s hobbies include hiking, surfing, and skiing.