West Coast Road Trip Day 7 – Carmel to Santa Monica

West Coast Road Trip

If CashArtBlog is primarily about art, artists, and being creative, why dish out several long  posts on a west coast road trip? Because for me, and I suspect for a lot of people, traveling and “getting outside your box” is essential for getting and staying inspired, energized, and living a more full and complete life. This west coast road trip was the most visually exciting trip I have been on in a long time. Having said that, the 2011 west coast road trip extravaganza is winding down as we venture on from the art and beauty of Carmel, and hit California highway 1, south towards Santa Monica and Southern California…


West Coast Road Trip

Bixby Bridge, 1932, 320 ft. span

West Coast Road Trip Day 7 – Big Sur

Another early, cool and cloudy morning finds us 1274 miles from home, and getting one last look and listen at the Carmel City Beach. Early on a Friday morning in August there was a light breeze, some clouds, and a few people wandering around the beach, but not many. It was time to go and hard to leave. As we made our way out of Carmel to highway 1 and started heading south, it did not take long before the beautiful coastline started to work its magic on the senses. Dramatic, rugged and rocky cliffs, winding roads, steep hills, wind-blown trees, turnout after turnout, beaches, a lone surfer, campgrounds, a few houses here and there, a gift shop or two, and the massive Pacific Ocean.

Big Sur gets it name from the Spanish phrase “el sur grande” or “the big country to the south”.  The Big Sur Coastal Highway has a lot of similarities with Highway 1 in NorthernWest Coast Road Trip California. Heavy on the natural beauty, with all its character, and light on the creature comforts, which was fine by me.

 It is about this time on our west coast road trip that we realize about every 10th car is a Ford Mustang! It was funny. From here on south, no automobile more than the mustang made its presence known. It is also amazing to me what some people will do to live near the ocean. There may be no services for miles and miles, and then, there it is…the house, by itself, on a cliff overlooking the sea…Hey I love the ocean, but there is a limit. But to each their own, right?

West Coast Road Trip Day 7 – Cruising South on Highway 1

 Driving South from the Big Sur area, there were more beaches, a few small towns, and we thought we would check out the Hearst Castle in San Simeon. I had heard about it over the years, and it would have made a nice addition to our west coast road trip. We took a vote, and while it looked like fun, our senses have been on overload for several days, and we were ready to get to Santa Monica, where we will spend the night, so we kept going. But we did see the Hearst Castle perched high upon a hill from Highway 1, with what must be an incredible view. Maybe next time…

West Coast Road Trip

Olde Port Beach

As suggested by our ten-year old son, we took an excursion to check out Avila  Beach, which is south of San Luis Obispo. Avila Beach was too crowded for us, so we wandered down the road aways and found another, less crowded beach called Olde Port Beach. The pier near this beach is the longest one I have ever seen, and we need the zoom lenses on our cameras to see the end of it. After getting some beach time and feeding the seagulls, we moved on and stopped at a nearby farm where they were selling fruits and vegetables, and loaded up. I don’t remember the name of the place, but it was family friendly and kind of busy for a Friday. Oh, wait, I’m in California. It’s busy everywhere…

 West Coast Road Trip


West Coast Road Trip Day 7 – On to Malibu

West Coast Road Trip

Woman looking out at Pacific Ocean, north of Malibu

A West Coast Road Trip with Malibu, California on the itinerary is pretty cool. I remember many years ago a friend of mine had a buddy that was from Malibu. They always said that everybody in the world wants to live in the United States, and everybody in the U.S. wants to live in California, and everybody in California wants to live in Malibu. I don’t buy it, but Malibu would be a great place to get a P.O. Box…

Before we could get to Malibu, we had to travel highway 101 through Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Oxnard. Well, let me just say that the traffic was stop and go the whole way through Santa Barbara, and we just wanted to get out of there. I’ve heard Santa Barbara was very nice, however we didn’t spend any time there, except while waiting for the traffic to move. Frankly, it wasn’t a whole lot better until we got south of Oxnard on our way to Malibu. I’m sure these places have some interesting things to offer, but at this point on our west coast road trip, we needed to keep going.

We weren’t going to stop and do much in Malibu, it just happened to be on our way, and I wanted to check it out. Pretty cool, although we arrived in Malibu late on a Friday afternoon, and the traffic was what you might expect. Malibu is a lot bigger than I thought it would be, and I would really like to explore it another time, given the chance. It was not all razzle dazzle, but yes, there were the beautiful homes, surf shops, gift shops, and restaurants. There was Pepperdine University, and Malibu High School. I even saw a grocery store and a gas station!!

West Coast Road Trip

Malibu Beach, looking south


 West Coast Road Trip Day 7 – Wrapping it up at the Santa Monica Pier

 It was about a 350 mile day with several stops on the west coast road trip, and I was shot. But I was also out numbered. So at about 9pm on a Friday night in Southern California, we got back into our hot rod jeep, and went to the Santa Monica Pier. It was fun, it had a good vibe, but I thought it was mainly for kids. There were quite a few people fishing off the pier, and some interesting characters here and there. But overall it was something fun to do once, although I think there was more to do that we did not explore.


West Coast Road Trip
The Ferris Wheel at Santa Monica Pier


Next time: West Coast Road Trip  – The Conclusion –  Hollywood, Anaheim, and a flight home 


Thanks for reading about a great West Coast Road Trip, and feel free to leave a comment below if you so desire. Also you can get free email updates by leaving your email address in the  box at the top right of this page. It’s free, easy, and confidential.  


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