Big Sur, California
After our stay in Morro Bay, we drove up to the Monterey Bay area for a couple of nights in Marina, California. There’s not a lot to say about Marina this time – it was a quick break to get some shopping and laundry done before heading down to Big Sur. On Wednesday morning, we packed up and headed down the coast to the Big Sur Campgrounds and Cabins right in the middle of the Big Sur area. This little campground is awesome! We were parked right under a couple of big redwood trees and a few feet from the Big Sur River. The campground is family oriented and they have a strict quiet time policy between 10pm and 8am but that was no problem because the fresh air and the sound of the river burbling by had us in bed and asleep by 10 each night.
THIS is what we’ve been waiting for. After spending way too much time in parking lots, it felt great to get back to a campsite in the middle of nature. Maybe it’s out Pacific Northwest background that makes us think that it takes big trees and rivers to be “in nature” but this place has lots of it. The other part of being “in nature” is that there is NO connectivity at this campground. No WiFi, no cell service, nothing. It was really interesting to completely disconnect for the first time on this trip. There was no email to be had and no web to look things up on, so we read and walked and went for drives to see the epic Big Sur coastline (where we would occasionally get little bits of connectivity, but not enough to get caught up again). We spent the first evening just enjoying the campfire by the river and the second evening reading. Very relaxing.
I got up early on Thursday morning to go shoot some sunrise photos along the coast. I forgot to take into account the fact that the mountains were east of us so a 7:00 sunrise didn’t really “happen” until around 8:00 and it was windy and kind of cold, but it was totally worth it. After the bridge, I drove by Point Sur and got a few shots as the sun was still pretty low.
Later that morning, we started driving south to explore more of the windy roads of Route 1 through Big Sur. We had lunch at Nepenthe which is perfectly situated on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific. They really accentuate their location by having rows of bar-like seating right at the edge of the deck so everyone gets to enjoy the view. The food was excellent as well so if you’re planning on making the drive in either direction, we totally recommend a meal at Nepenthe.
In our Morro Bay post, we mentioned that a number of people had told us that we should avoid towing up Route 1 because it is a bit too curvy. Between our trip up to Hearst Castle and our drive down a ways from Nepenthe, I think that this was overly cautious. Yes, the roads wind a lot and you are pretty close to the edge on some of the curves but it is totally do-able while towing as long as you take plenty of time. I suspect it is easier to do when driving south, though, because most of the turnouts, which are great places to let faster traffic pass, are on the ocean side so it is easier to relieve the traffic pressure when driving south than driving north. Either way, though, I’d recommend stopping for a night or two along the way so you can get out and really enjoy the scenery along the way, without needing to worry about the trailer behind you.