Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway – “California Dreamin’“
When you live in Toronto, Canada, and you have been experiencing the coldest February in over 100 years, it’s not surprising the memories of driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in California come flooding back. Especially when it involves driving a white Mustang V6 Convertible along one of the world’s great highways from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Planning a car trip along the PCH means taking your time, as the roads wind around some of the most beautiful coastal landscapes in California. To experience it properly and to enjoy the stunning vistas properly, I recommend taking your foot off the pedal, as it will be a life experience you will never forget.
I had always dreamt of driving along the PCH in a Mustang convertible having watched Clint Eastwood in the ’70s movie “Play Misty for Me”. So, it felt like a dream come true heading out of San Francisco to the beautiful coastal town of Half Moon Bay, where the stunning Ritz-Carlton golf resort overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
The scenery is not unlike the rugged Links golf courses found in Scotland, with the exception being the climate, which makes California so appealing. Long sunsets literally bathe the manicured velvet greens.
Carmel is a two-hour drive away and provides some of the most stunning coastal views to date, including the famous Pebble Beach Golf Resort that lies just eight miles from the town of Carmel. Although it has been nearly 30 years since Clint Eastwood was Mayor of Carmel, he still resides in the area and owns both the Mission Ranch Tennis Resort and the Tehama Golf Club.
The drive to Big Sur takes less than an hour while providing some of the scariest car climbs I have ever experienced around the curved cliff faces. The Bixby Creek Bridge is a spectacular viewing point, where the panoramic coastline seems to go on for miles. As one leaves the winding cliffs behind for the quieter pastoral lands, San Simeon Castle, Randolph Hearst’s “Xanadu” can be seen in the far off-distance, a must visit if you can devote more time. I recommend an overnight stay in Santa Barbara as the four-and-a-half-hour drive from Carmel is quite tiring, requiring your full concentration, and is a welcome respite before reaching the city of angels Los Angeles.