Last year, I had the pleasure (and exasperation) of driving almost all the way down California; the only places we missed were the beautiful areas north of Shasta Lake and the stuff south of Los Angeles County. The trip wasn’t a planned one. Rather, my partner and I were experiencing some transitionary parts of life and had no direction, so we wandered for about a month before ultimately deciding to leave Cali.
On our way, we hit Santa Monica, Oxnard, San Luis Obispo, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Santa Cruz, Redding, Shasta Lake and everywhere between. Carmel was one of the most beautiful seaside vacation spots I’d ever seen and a stark contrast to the hot, flat beaches of sugar sand that I’m used to. The entire Pacific Coast has weather patterns I find quite cold and dreary in comparison to the Gulf. Much of northern California makes up for that with beautiful geography, Carmel especially. Mountains already capture my heart, but mountains that dip into the ocean are magical. It is nestled on the southern end of Monterey Bay, beyond the inland Carmel Valley and between mountains that fall off into the Pacific. Too bad I discovered it right before I left, and no middle-class person could ever afford to live within 60 miles of the place.