Tag: Big Sur

Big Sur’s “Heartbreak Road”

Big Sur’s “Heartbreak Road”

(Originally published June 7, 2017; last update on July 19, 2018.)

A half-century ago, in 1967, San Francisco experienced the “Summer of Love.”

A year later, I lived through a personal “summer of love” when on nearly every weekend from June through August I drove California’s scenic and fabled Highway from Monterey, through Big Sur, and down to Pacific Valley to see my girlfriend who was working as a summer hire for the U.S. Forest Service.

While you’ll be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love” this year in San Francisco, mud and rock slides and damage to a bridge on coastal Highway 1 means that you won’t be able to “do” the drive down the entire Big Sur coast south from Monterey as in years past.

(Davide D’Amico Flickr Photo)

But the good news is that enough of the road is open at its northern and southern ends to provide ample things to see and do in this part of California.

(Update, October 14, 2017: The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the rebuilding of a bridge over Pfeiffer Canyon on Highway 1 near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has been completed so residents and tourist can now drive south from Carmel to Lucia at the Monterey-San Luis Obispo County line. Unfortunately, the highway south of that point remains closed due to mudslide earlier this year and is not expected to reopen until late in the summer of 2018 at the earliest. So “doing” experiencing the scenic drive up that entire stretch of California’s Central Coast is still not possible.

Update, May 1, 2018: The San Francisco Chronicle now reports that the highway south of the Monterey-San Luis Obispo County Line will probably not re-open until mid-to-late September of 2018, effectively precluding summer visitors from traveling the entire length of the “Big Sur Coast.”

Update, June 14, 2018: The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports that the section of Highway 1 south of Ragged Point is now expected to re-open by the end of July, much earlier that originally anticipated, and allowing Big Sur Coast visitors to drive the length of the famous coast highway at least during the last weeks of summer.)

Update, July 19 2018: As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Highway 1 is now fully open, end-to-end. View this video of cars driving the newly-reopened road. But will the news of the reopening of the highway flood it was cars, making the scenic drive a trip from Hell? It may be best to wait until September, when weather along this stretch of coast is more likely to be fog-free, with fewer cars traveling it after school-age kids have returned to their studies instead of counting “99 Bottles of Beer on The Road” with their parents behind the wheel.

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A Perfect Fall Day Along the Big Sur Coast

A Perfect Fall Day Along the Big Sur Coast

Summer along California’s Big Sur Coast.

Lots of gray clouds hanging over a gray-green ocean.

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Lots of tourists snapping photos with their camera and cell phones.

Lots of traffic.

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For a picture-perfect day trip along California Highway 1 south of Carmel and Monterey, skip driving the cliff-hugging route during summer and come in the fall when the weather will likely be better, the scenery spectacular, and the road less traveled.

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Travel Photo Thursday: A Picture-Perfect Bridge

Travel Photo Thursday: A Picture-Perfect Bridge

The Big Sur Coast of California is one of the most scenic pieces of “ocean-front property” in the Golden State.

Each year, countless numbers of tourists drive all or part of the 100-mile stretch of California Highway 1 between Carmel and Cambria.

Along the way, they are likely to pull over to the shoulder of the road, grab their cameras and smartphones, and shoot countless photos of the picture-perfect arched concrete bridge spanning Bixby Creek.

I took my first photos of the bridge back in 1968 when I spent nearly every summer weekend in Pacific Valley where my then-girlfriend (now wife) worked as a “summer hire” for the U.S. Forest Service, collecting fees from and answering questions for those pitching their tents or sleeping in “campers” or vans in the USFS coastal campgrounds.

Forty-years later, and just a couple of weeks ago, I shot my last set of photos of the Bixby Creek Bridge on the way back from lunch at the Big Sur Roadhouse, on Highway 1 at the Glen Oaks hostelry.

And as you can see, I wasn’t the only one snapping away. The other travel writers accompanying me on a four-day trip around the Monterey area were doing the same.

But lasting impressions of Big Sur don’t have to be recorded digitally or on film. As this plein air painter demonstrated, capturing the landscape in the old-fashioned way, works just fine, too.

(Click on an image to enlarge to full-size. Visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more of this week’s Travel Photo Thursday shots.)

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(Tales Told From The Road publisher, Dick Jordan, received a complimentary lunch at the Big Sur Roadhouse, and transportation to and from Big Sur, during a recent stay with other travel writers in the Monterey area arranged through the courtesy of the Monterey County Visitors & Convention Bureau.)

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