The Mill in San Francisco

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.


After our time admiring the Painted Ladies, Jordan and I needed a coffee (i.e. bathroom) break. After performing a quick Google search, I found plenty of coffee shops the next block over. We settled on the Mill in San Francisco which is part bakery, part coffee shop and completely adorable.

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A Full House in San Francisco

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.

Painted Ladies San Francisco

Oh, San Francisco. I’m not completely sure what to think about you. On one hand, you are breathtakingly beautiful. From oceans to mountains to old Victorian homes, it al paints a serene picture. On the other hand, you are difficult to maneuver, expensive and your homeless population is widespread.

After visiting a large city, Jordan and I like to compare and contrast them with one another. So, while San Francisco loses points on the public transportation front, it does win in many other areas; especially with its historic landmarks. Those are worth seeing.

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A Golden Visit to Chinatown

Golden Gate Bridge

After spending a week in Southern California and two days driving the Pacific Coast Highway, Jordan and I rolled into the bay area. We would be spending the weekend with friends who recently moved to this part of California.

Saturday we slept-in and ate donuts from a local shop before venturing to downtown San Jose for the afternoon. It was the perfect amount of time spent out of the house without being overly exhausting.

Sunday we settled into a delicious home cooked breakfast of dutch babies (which I’ve been meaning to make ever since) and large cups of coffee before hitting the road! Our agenda for the day? The Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown!

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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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