Let me tell you, California is a long state. It was a loonnnnngggg drive, broken up into two 10-12 hour days. That’s a lot of driving for someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy riding in the car. Luckily, we had all 7 Harry Potter audiobooks (thanks, Whitney!), so we were set for entertainment.
We left San Marcos around 6 am in an attempt to avoid LA rush hour traffic, which is probably the most terrifying thing in the world. After living in Eugene for a year and a half, where speed limits rarely exceed 30 mph, “a lot of traffic” means your drive took 15 minutes, rather than 10, and people generally drive cautiously, driving through Southern California was straight up terrifying. But we survived (and even scored some much missed Chick-fil-a!).
We met up with the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica and drove up to Santa Barbara.
Now, if you are a Psych fan (like us), you’ll be totally pumped to visit Santa Barbara. The show is set there, but filmed in White Rock, British Columbia. But apparently they use aerial shots of Santa Barbara for the show. Which means that the SBPD building is real! We didn’t have much time to spend there, but I wish we would’ve tried to find the courthouse. Instead, I just sang this song over and over:
Santa Barbara. Santa Babs. I’ve heard it both ways.
Thanks for following that Psych tangent. Now, back to our trip.
From Santa Barbara, we drove up to Morro Bay. Eric’s parents insisted we stop for lunch at Taco Temple, and I am so glad we did. From everything I read about it, I was expecting some kind of food truck, but it was a full, crowded restaurant. But my goodness, it was delicious. We got two tacos each, but they were so enormous that we could only finish one. The carnitas tacos were insanely good.
Now, unless you have a bizarre Psych-attachment to Santa Barbara, I’d recommend starting your coastal drive in Morro Bay. Really, nothing south of that was too exciting, and in our case, it was an enormous time-sucker since we were stuck behind a slow semi-truck for a long time.
From there, we sat back to enjoy the drive along the California coastline.
Eric’s parents also insisted we stop at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. It costs $10 to get into the park, but lucky for us, the place was so crowded that the parking lot was full, so we parked for free on the road. You can do a little hiking around there, but we were in a rush (we needed to get to our hotel in time to see the UK v. UofL basketball game), so we just walked down to the waterfall overlook. It was pretty cool to see a tiny waterfall falling onto the sand. And just look at the color of that ocean water!
We ended our first day of the drive home with a quick drive though adorable Carmel, which was just about the cutest little coastal town I’ve ever seen.
The next day, we opted to ditch the coastal drive, hoping to get home a little faster. And it’s a good thing we did because we got to drive through Sacramento. Neither of us had been there before, but the part we saw was so cute! It actually looked quite a bit like a southern city, with lots of big deciduous trees, flowers, and historic buildings. I didn’t take any pictures because it was raining, but it’s saying something that I liked a city I saw for the first time in the rain.
But the best thing about Sacramento was where we stopped for brunch: Bacon and Butter. I mean, how can you not eat brunch at a place called Bacon and Butter? It was awesome. Super, super cute, and incredibly delicious. We split a biscuit sandwich (bacon, cheddar cheese, caramelized onion, chive mascarpone, and egg), and the pork butt hash (beer braised pork butt, yams, peas, egg, asparagus, and spinach). So, so good.
After many, many, many more hours of driving, we made it home to rainy Oregon, where we were welcomed back with hail, rain, sunshine, and rainbows.