Tag Archives: car

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.

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Road Trippin’ Down the PCH

By Greg Lennon

After studying at USC for over a year and a half, I have exhausted almost all of Los Angeles’ tourist attractions.  I’ve hiked the Hollywood Sign, journeyed to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and been to Santa Monica Beach countless times.  This spring, after buying a new car, I thought I would take my new ride on an inaugural road trip.  The long weekend at the start of the semester was the perfect time.  So I rounded up a few friends, rolled down the top on my brand new (to me) Ford Mustang, and headed up the Pacific Coast Highway for the weekend.

Photo by Jeremy on Flickr

The Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, is one of California’s most storied routes, offering some of the most beautiful views the state has to offer.  The highway runs along the California coast from its southernmost tip in Orange County, all the way to Mendocino County in Northern California.  Along the way, drivers can stop for gorgeous views of the California coastline, as well as various famed attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, The Monterrey Bay Aquarium, and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

My friends and I started up the PCH late in the day on a Friday afternoon, so we were able to see the classic Malibu sunset as we sped up the highway.  Stopping in Malibu for dinner, we sampled an apparently world famous pizza parlor, then returned to the highway for what would be a long drive.  A couple hours later we arrived in Santa Barbara to fill up on gas and grab a snack.  Santa Barbara is known for its nightlife in the college town neighborhood of Isla Vista, as well as its storied downtown, where we stopped to rest.  After a quick fill up, we returned to the highway en route to our final destination of Big Sur.  As night fell on the PCH, the road grew extremely foggy, making the turns of the twisting highway that much more perilous.  Around midnight, we arrived at our campsite at Big Sur, directly adjacent to a small river, and surrounded on all sides by redwood forest.

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A Southwestern Road Trip

By Autumn Palen

Last summer, I took a family trip: The archetypal American Summer Road Trip, across the southwest. My brother stayed home, unattended, because he dislikes things like Going Anywhere At All. I started in San Marcos, CA; a logical decision, seeing as that’s where I live. Then I made my way to Tucson, El Paso, Albuquerque, Cortez, St. George, Las Vegas, and back home. 6 new cities in as many days.

Needless to say (probably), I quickly went from excited to exhausted, somewhere around the third multi-hour trip in a row. It was not entirely horrible, though. I had a lot of time to listen to podcasts (primarily Nerdist and You Made It Weird, both of which focus on T.V. shows getting made, careers getting started and continuing onward in LA), as well as marvel at how much of this country is a flat, uninhabited terrain.

The small towns we passed on the way to our destinations were often puzzlingly distant from things like bodies of water and supermarkets (the two things I require for survival). It seemed so bizarre that anyone lives in these tiny towns, where the closest thing to an “attraction” is a gift store full of mugs and other tchotchkes, regardless of how appealing the multiple garish billboard advertisements leading up to the shop made it seem. 138 miles to the Big Old Shop of Junk. 89 miles… 20 miles… Exit now for Junk.

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