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I have lived by the ocean all my life. So if I am away from the coast for too long I start to get a little crazy; a little anxious. It’s a kind of landlocked claustrophobia that can only be cured by a good lungful of salty air and an infinite horizon.
So as we made the scenic drive up the California Coast and into the town of Santa Cruz I rolled the window down and breathed in deep. That’s what I’m talking about: salty air, stinky seaweed, crashing waves and, in this case at least, even barking seals.
After six weeks of inland travel through the United States we had finally reached the part of our trip that was by the coast. Santa Cruz was our gateway for Big Sur: an area of rugged and wild coast with views that make you want to stop every two minutes and just, well….stare in awe!
We were planning to drive along the California coast scenic drive from Santa Cruz, through Oregon and finally up to Olympic National Park in Washington state with a small deviation inland to Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains.…over 1700 miles (2700 kilometers) along one of the most picturesque coastal driving routes in the world. And one hell of a road trip!
However, after six weeks of being on the road, we were utterly exhausted and really needed a place to chill for a while before embarking on ‘stage two’. I suggested a place I stayed at when I was in the states ten years ago: a lighthouse hostel perched on cliff tops overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
In my memory it was near perfection but nowhere can be that good, right? Your own private beach at your doorstep, falling asleep to waves crashing against the cliffs below…a relaxing place to revive the spirit before we moved on. We booked for five nights and when we arrived it was just as I remembered. My travel companion was speechless. Almost.
“It exactly as you described it! I thought you had to be exaggerating.”
Our lighthouse retreat was just what we needed. We spent days lazing on the beach, browsing the farmers markets, drinking coffee, eating organic food, reading, walking, cooking…and breathing in that good old salty air! All in the name of travel.
And now we are ready for the second part of our journey….it’s not quite the red convertible I dreamed of, but the Suzuki has a full tank of gas and we are hitting the road!