Big Sur – July 4th 2012 (Planning for Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Hearst Castle, Big Sur Lodge and Hiking, Carmel, San Francisco)

Posted: June 6, 2012 in Bucket List, Happiness, Hiking, Travel, Travel Resources, Vacation, Worthwhile Activities
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Santa Monica PierWe decided to use the 4th of July week for a getaway to Big Sur and San Francisco. We will be driving up there, but not until after seeing Train at the San Diego County Fair. Save Me San Francisco should put us in just the right mood for a road trip. Way back in the mid-1990’s I drove up California Highway 1 through the Big Sur area. I’m sure at the time I didn’t know that it would be over 20 years before I would be back. That was just a Drive By, this time we plan to spend a night at Vandenberg Air Force Base, three nights at the Big Sur Lodge, and 2 nights in San Fransisco.
Eric and Jenny on the Temescal Canyon trail
I’m sure we’ll also find some time to stop at the Santa Monica Pier, one of my Favorite Places. Maybe we’ll do lunch somewhere along the Santa Monica Third Avenue Promenade. Then we can head up the coast past Malibu and one of our favorite coastal hikes at Temescal Canyon… probably won’t have time for this one, but we’ll be back another time. Then past Santa Barbara, probably too early for dinner, but we can stop at the pier anyway. The coast past Santa Barbara is beautiful so we’ll want to see this before dark. Once we turn north the scenery drops off for a while, so a sunset before we turn north would be perfect. A night at the lodge on Vandenberg Air Force Base will save us some money, but that is space available so we’ll have to call a couple of weeks before to make reservations.

On day two we’ll drive up to Hearst Castle for a “not too early” upstairs suites tour… this is a vacation after all… and a get away for the two of us. We have reservations at Big Sur Lodge for 3 nights after that, and plenty of time to explore Big Sur, go on some hikes, take plenty of pictures, and we’ll definitely have time for a big event while we’re in Big Sur! For hiking the we’ll do some research but a good starting point appears to be the map on the Hiking In Big Sur site. The site has a good layout, some great pictures in the Gallery, and good descriptions of the different hikes – just click on a hike name on the map. Since neither of us has hiked in Big Sur before we’ll just sort the hike list into favorites order, and let the weather decide if we hike the bluffs above the Pacific or not.

I’ve been saying for a few years that my next car would be a convertible, so we could enjoy driving along the Pacific Coast Highway on a nice summer day. So we decided to get a convertible rental for the week. On the Avis site it was close to $500 for a weekly convertible rental. I was able to save over 30% on Priceline! The only downside to Priceline is you are locked in to the days and times you bid for, so be sure before you click the Buy button. So we’ll be driving with the top down along the most beautiful coast in California, maybe anywhere, and loving life.

I’m sure we’ll still be ready for more Big Sur after 3 days, but it will be time to move on to a couple days and nights in San Francisco. We plan to stay near the cable car line and stay in the urban mode for at least one of the two days. I’m sure we’ll do a loop around the bridges, check out what they’ve done with The Presidio, and have some seafood at the Fisherman’s Wharf. Chinatown is also high on my list. So far two things on my list that include food… “eating healthy” and working out like crazy right now so food always sounds good. We considered the Alcatraz tour, but that will probably wait for another trip. If we can find a good Marina to rent a smaller boat we’ll give it a try. Either way, I’m adding renting a larger boat (they have a couple 27 foot boats) at the Presidio Yacht Club and sailing to the Golden Gate bridge to my Bucket List. This will give me a good reason to take another sailing class and rent some larger boats here in San Diego.

Here are the posts for the trip:

Road Trip – San Diego to Big Sur (July 2012)
Big Sur and Carmel California – Wedding, Hiking, Dining, and Driving (July 2-5 2012)
Quick Visit to San Francisco – (Honeymoon Part 2 – 5-7 July 2012)!

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Comments
  1. Dani says:

    That’s so funny that you are taking this trip! A few weeks later in July my boyfriend and I are flying up to San Francisco for a few days, renting a car and then driving along the coast and camping our way back into San Diego stopping in Big Sur, Santa Barbara and possibly stopping in San Luis Obispo for a night. Great minds think alike it seems! Have a great time, can’t wait to pick your brain about things to do along that amazing trip!

    • eric.rial says:

      July should be a good time for this trip. We thought about a 1-way rental too but decided to just drive back on the 5. I’ll definitely be posting some pictures and ideas when we get back.

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