Big Sur + Bixby Creek Bridge

“I descended a dusty gravel ridge, beneath the Bixby Canyon Bridge, until I eventually arrived, at the place where your soul had died.”

Big Sur

If you are driving north on the Pacific Coast Highway you will pass over Bixby Creek Bridge, which is the subject of the Death Cab for Cutie song, “Bixby Canyon Bridge”. The Bixby Creek Bridge was erected in 1932 which completely baffles me. I’ll never understand how bridges like these (which are still standing!) were built-in such treacherous conditions without modern equipment.

Prior to the bridge’s completion, the residents of this area of Big Sur, California were essentially cut off during the winter. They really must have felt like they were living in their own secluded world. Even the most remote areas of the United States aren’t that remote!

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Elephant Seals and Great Views

Jordan and I spent 2.5 weeks in April and May of 2016 driving the coast of California. If you’d like to start at the beginning click here.

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway

We left San Luis Obispo midmorning with roughly three hours of pure driving time left. I’m not sure why I went into driving the Pacific Coast Highway naively but I didn’t think we’d have opportunities to stop. I assumed we would admire the scenery from our cars! Silly me.

Our three hour drive turned more into a six hour drive!

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San Luis Obispo | Scout Coffee Co.

Scout Coffee Co

Despite working as a barista for almost five years, I spent many years not liking coffee. Oh the irony! I chalk it up to lack of exposure (my parents didn’t drink it while I was growing up) and not understanding the variety of ways to drink coffee. I started out slowly with extremely sugary drinks and while I still won’t drink coffee black (cream just makes everything better) I look forward to my regular morning cup!

During our morning in SLO, Jordan needed to work for a few hours so before venturing back onto Hwy 1, we settled into Scout Coffee Co. (another recommendation from Cousin Kelly). I am not opposed to chain coffee shops (they serve an extremely important purpose while traveling. Free WiFi! Free Bathrooms!), but Jordan and I always jump at the chance to visit a local coffee shop.

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San Luis Obispo

The Madonna Inn

Even though technically the drive from Los Angeles to San Fransisco is only six hours and easily done in one day, Jordan and I split the drive into two. San Luis Obispo is the perfect middle point which made it an ideal place to spend our one night on the road. Despite SLO sort of being in the middle of farmland, it’s a college town and has a lively and thriving local community.

(Fun fact: Jamba Juice began as a senior project from a graduate of California Polytechnic Institute!)

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Coast to Summerland


After a week in Southern California it was time for Jordan and I to make our way North along the Pacific Coast Highway. We gave ourselves two days/one night to reach San Jose, where we would spend a few days visiting friends. In hindsight, spending one more night on the road would have given us more freedom to stop and explore along the way. We still managed to see a lot with our time constraints and now we have one more reason to drive the Pacific Coast Highway again!

Our day one goal was to reach San Luis Obispo, which is a college town three-and-a-half hours from Los Angeles. Of course we didn’t drive without stopping! We ate lunch in the quaint beach town, Summerland, a few miles north of Malibu.

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Laguna Beachin’

Jordan and I spent 2.5 weeks in April and May of 2016 driving the coast of California. If you’d like to start at the beginning click here.

Laguna Beach

In 2009, Jordan and I spent a week in Southern California. Besides our time at Disneyland (because obviously, Disney!), our day in Laguna Beach was my absolute favorite. Oh Laguna Beach, how I’ve dreamed of returning to you ever since!

It is the perfect combination of beach and small town. There are local clothing and home boutiques and plenty of restaurants all within an easy walk from the beach. You can park in once place and explore a multitude of locations. If you haven’t been to Laguna Beach you are missing out.

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Zuma Beach in Malibu

Jordan and I spent 2.5 weeks in April and May of 2016 driving the coast of California. If you’d like to start at the beginning click here.

Zuma Beach

Malibu is about a 30 minute drive from Venice Beach on the Pacific Coast Highway. Jordan and I knew we could easily fit both of these cities into one day. So after exploring Venice Beach we made our way north towards Malibu!

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Venice Beach, CA

Jordan and I spent 2.5 weeks in April and May of 2016 driving the coast of California. If you’d like to start at the beginning click here

Venice Beach, California

It might actually take me all summer to recap our California road trip. Ha! So many things are happening on a daily basis that I’m having to just interject these Cali posts whenever I’m not writing about the current goings on.

Let’s dive in! The day after exploring The Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills, Jordan and I drove to Venice Beach and Malibu, two places we hadn’t been to before on any of our times in California.

First up, Venice Beach!

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Visit Nashville / / Sevier Park Fest

Sevier Park Fest

We went to Sevier Park Fest on Saturday and it was the perfect way to end our three-week vacation. My hometown hosted a very similar weekend festival every summer. The streets of the traditional downtown area would close for cars so that shops and restaurants could open out onto the sidewalk. There was music, games and lots of good food. It was a popular event and in high school I would often stay late into the evening doing who knows what. Just kidding we were most likely eating Dairy Queen Blizzards in the park. 😉

I was very excited to discover that our neighborhood in Nashville puts on a similar event! Jordan was in London for last year’s fest, but I made a mental note to go with him this year.

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Beverly Hills, that’s where I want to be… 

Beverly Hills California

Our West Coast trip began in Southern California and ended in Northern California. Usually, our stateside trips involve one major city at a time but I really enjoyed exploring different parts of California. Besides my home state of Illinois, I’ve now seen more of California than any other state.

Although Jordan and I stayed closer to the coast, I still feel like I got good glimpses into the personalities of regions of southern, central and northern California. I discovered that Southern California is more my speed but the views as you drive the Pacific Coast Highway towards San Francisco are unbeatable. But that is post for another day. Today we are going to talk about Beverly Hills!

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