We arrived in Anchorage around 2:00 AM, exchanging soft California sun for a biting cold. With the airport deserted and snow piled up outside of the clear glass doors of the warm airport sanctuary, we decided to spend the first night of our spring break sleeping at baggage claim. We would have 7 more days to camp and journey into the Artic and blistering cold of northern Alaska, so we would enjoy warmth while we still could.
Curled up in our sleeping bags constant noise blared through loudspeakers “PLEASE DON’T LEAVE BAGGAGE UNATTENDED.” Around 5am, and after a few restless hours of sleep Daniel suggested we start on the road. The Hertz rent-a-car was just opening up as a sleepy attendant dressed in the signature yellow and black vest wiped sleep from his eyes.
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.
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.