Day Two of Sixteen
Miles Traveled: 97

I am not typically an early riser, but one thing you learn while sleeping in a school bus is…when all of your walls are windows…you’re not going to sleep in. So all of us, except Justin who has an uncanny ability to cocoon himself in his hammock and sleep through anything, grabbed a quick shower and hit the road.

Justin in his natural habitat. (Makers Mark for scale)

We backtracked about 15 miles to San Luis Obispo to take care of a few housekeeping items. Our custom kitchen shelving had already collapsed, but a quick trip to home depot for some 4×4’s fixed that right up. After getting eaten alive the night before I decided it would be wise to stock up on bug spray as well. With our errands out of the way we hit the Pacific Coast Highway due North. I knew from countless childhood vacations that Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos is pretty epic, so I forced the boys to make a quick pit stop to try them. Zach, being the cookie addict that he is, agreed wholeheartedly. We both bought some 12 packs at an excruciating $28 dollars a piece. Yes, they’re worth it.

 

The views from the highway were incredible pulling out of Cayucos, and they only got better as we worked our way closer to Cambria. There we stopped at the Cambria Beer Company for a round, and grabbed pretty bomb sandwiches from Sandy’s Deli and Bakery. I write about food a lot don’t I? No surprise.

Not long after leaving Cambria we were on the stretch of PCH known as the Big Sur Scenic Byway. Everyone we spoke to about our itinerary recommended against taking the bus on this road, but I had done it before and was feeling pretty confident. It was by no means as easy I thought it would be. It took us about three hours of squeezing the bus between rocky cliffs and passing cars on the opposite side of the narrow two lane road. But what it lacked in relaxation it more than made up for in amazing views. Several hundred feet below the road the cerulean waves crashed against the sea cliffs dotting the coastline with white spray. I am glad we didn’t listen to the naysayers!

We pulled into Riverside Campground down a narrow road that first passes between two massive redwoods spaced just wide enough for an RV to pass through – no more no less, followed by crossing an even narrower dam passing just above the Big Sur River with no guardrails or curb. We knew pretty quick that we had found the perfect place to spend the night. The high-strung campground host checked us in, and we settled into our spot right across from the river and surrounded on all sides with towering redwoods.

 

We threw together a quick dinner of tortellini and kings hawaiian sweet bread (could my life get any better?) and spent the rest of the night wandering through the trees, along the banks of the river and near finishing a bottle of Makers Mark around the fire. With our longest day of driving ahead of us we passed out early. I miss Big Sur already!

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

– Nelson Mandela