Coast to Canyon | California

…Continuation from Coast To Canyon | Our First Roadtrip Together: Oregon

Before we made our way out of the rain storm in Northern California we found the drive through tree. It was only us and one other couple in a red convertible that were there in the pouring rain.

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After a night spent in Garberville, we woke up to Warm California sunshine, packed up our tent and we were on our way again. From Hwy 101 we took the opportunity to get right to the coasts edge on Hwy 1. This was my favorite part of the trip. The start of this highway winds through some of the tightest, twistiest roads I have ever been on(smooth too) for a good half hour through the tall trees of the Redwood forest, then all of a sudden the tall trees are in the background and you are launched around a corner to the cliffside overlooking a gorgeous ocean all different shades of blue. The next stretch along the water lastest for a few hours, top down, cruising through the warm breeze with the scent of the eucalyptus trees all along the curving, rising, and dropping seaside road. Once the highway starts to swing back away from the coast the scenery abruptly changes again to the beautiful vineyards of the Sonoma Valley. I think this was my favorite stretch of road I have ever driven on.

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We couldn’t resist stopping at this beach, dipping our feet in the ocean and resting for awhile on the warm sun soaked sand.

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Sonoma Valley

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Sonoma

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The ceiling of the Sonoma Mission building really captured my interest. I love the texture of the wood sticks tied together  with animal hide.

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Sonoma City Centre, we found out, is a happening place on Thursday evenings! There is a farmers market every Thursday evening in the Sonoma City Square and it is huge! There is live music to be heard all over the park, and plenty of vendors to find any local product you want. The square is also surrounded by one off galleries, cafes, restaurants, and boutiques making the area a hard place for us to leave, but we had to be on our way as evening was close and we had to find a campground closer to San Francisco.

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We found a great campground in Lagunitas called Samuel P. Taylor State Park. We arrived pretty late since we spent a little too long wandering around Sonoma. We set out our tent and made some dinner over the fire in the dark which proved to be a not so good idea as we were being stalked by furry masked critters. The park had plenty of these devious and crafty Raccoons, and since we were the last ones to get there and cook dinner, the raccoons were immediately attracted to our spot. We managed to thwart them off with some flashlight waving and we put our food safely away after eating. By the time we finished, the raccoons had moved on to someone else’s table who left their scraps out. I was pretty astonished at how bad people were with leaving there food and scraps around. I witnessed several campsites get ravaged through by animals. Pick up and put away your crap people!

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We camped at Samuel P. Taylor State Park for 2 nights and spent the day in between checking out San Francisco. I got a beautiful sunny day for my first drive ever over the Golden Gate Bridge(Kristen had already been on a previous trip to SF) and we found some neighbourhood parking a few blocks down from Lombard St in the Russian Hill district. It was then off to explore the city by foot!

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We walked up and down Lombard St. where we found and chatted with the above painter who kindly shared with us his knowledge of the area. He prompted us to try lunch at a place the locals love just down the street called Caffe Sapore, so we took his word, and tried it out. It turned out to be a really nice spot, all locals, no tourists(aside from us I guess, haha), and really, really good food!

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Both of our first times on a trolleybus!

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Spending the full day in San Francisco put us a little behind and forced us to cut San Diego out of our travels, but that full day in SF was definitely worth it. I can’t wait to revisit! After SF it was further down the coast through Monterrey, and Big Sur. We had planned to get to a campsite somewhat close to Malibu, but we never ended up finding it. It got pretty late, and we had already been driving 7 hours, so at that point we decided that the only logical thing to do was to drive another 7 hours to Phoenix through the night! We were thankful we did, as we avoided both the LA rush hour(though driving those freeways in the little Miata was still somewhat terrifying), and also the desert heat during the day(Remember, no A/C in our car).

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Our last stop in California was an In-N-Out Burgers in Santa Barbera; another first for me. We enjoyed the burgers and hit the road again for a few days stay at my grandparents in Chandler, just outside of Phoenix, Arizona! And that is where the next post will pick up!

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