We just arrived home from a New Year’s Minnie Winnie trip to Big Sur. A last minute trip. I guess I thought that my image of Big Sur was enough to formulate a proper plan for this trip. I nonchalantly left the details to my wonderful husband (who delightfully came through on 2/3 of the lodging reservations) and decided to continue my apathetic Christmas recovery/lazy-pregnant-woman-“I-grew-an-arm-today” M.O. Of course, my image was wrong and I was overdressed (“camping” was not a part of the image) and under-prepared (no ergo-baby, no stroller, no toys, limited food, and more!), but, alas, it was a glorious adventure.
Our trip began with a drive Cambria (if you’re ever in Cambria you must stop in at the teal-trimmed gem Home Arts) where we stopped for a night. The next morning we headed up the coast in search of an open motor home spot (the 1/3 that was not reserved). We lucked out with perfect weather, and it was the most gorgeous drive. I spotted more breaching whales and spouts than I could count. The water was pure blue and the hills were felted with spring green.
My husband encourages me in all things, so after stopping to see the nursing elephant seals (you must also stop to see this, but wait until the breeding season is over. Unless you like blood and gnashing of teeth. Freak.) it was my turn to drive. Yes, cyclists, pedestrians and day trippers, that WAS me in the 10 MPH-below-the-speed-limit-tin-box-of-emotion-on-wheels. I thought that was going to be the day. The day I killed us all. ATTENTION: HWY 1, Big Sur edition, is no place for beginners. Luckily, we didn’t die and I’m pretty sure all the road-hogging cyclists made it. We found a turn-out where I could dry off and change my pants.
The trip magically became beautiful again, and I contemplated not returning home. Our first stop was at Limekiln campsite which has one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. The grounds are set up around a steady river and the sites follow the river down to the beach where it pours out into the ocean on white sand studded with river rocks. There was no room in the inn, but the ladies were nice enough to let us park and use their phone (no reception along the hwy makes it difficult to call for reservations). We enjoyed a quick sandcastle-building session with the tots, but were soon on the road again. Although beautiful, Limekiln seems a more suited place for strangers to become friends around a bonfire, with the passing of some form of pipe.
The road stretched on with no vacancies. We headed up to the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and lucked out again with a parking spot for the motor home. When the roads are full, the parking lot has a strict one-out, one-in rule. We waited maybe 15 minutes for a spot we could fit in. The hike down was easy enough for our 3-year-old. You cannot access the beach, but definitely take the walk all the way down to the remains of the beach house (it’s not that far at all). It is worth the view.
We finally found a vacancy at Big Sur Campgrounds and Cabins, a serious blessing and practically our last hope. This place was an amazing end to a long and beautiful day. They have hook-ups, nice showers, laundry facilities AND a legitimately awesome playground. The kids were in heaven. The camp is tucked back into a lush, green mountainside, along the crystal clear river and nestled under giant redwoods. We would have been happy here for our entire stay.
We did end up heading to the Big Sur Lodge where we had reservations for the remaining nights. This place was huge. There was lots of stroller-less walking on well-maintained paths and over lovely bridges. The site itself was beautiful, but not ideal for our fearless littles. There is a gift-shop and gas station-esque “grocery store.” The true delight is the restaurant (salmon over spinach/ricotta ravioli with a white wine sauce and sauce-soaked kalamata olives and tomato wedges, c’mon). It was worth the wait and walk. No hook-ups, but they do have a dump station.
We headed out on Sunday and wandered up towards Carmel. More beautiful views. More whales. More full-time RV contemplation. We were determined to find another kid-approved activity and, thanks to the return of 4G, we found the Dennis the Menace Park. We were pleasantly surprised and can now continue to be the best parents ever.
So, we’re home and it looks like an RV threw up in my house. My true motivation in getting everything back in its place is to make it that much easier to head out in the Minnie again. There’s that “wanderlust” in me. The word peeves me, like “rad” and “sick.” Let’s put it to rest. No more #wanderlust. I’m going with #BeAwed because His creation never ceases to awe me.