Big Sur California

Been on a California road trip this week

a rocky cliff with trees and water in the background

Gas prices in California have been floating between $5 and $6 per gallon since March 2022. I’d love to see those places where gas is so low that the average price for a gallon of gas today in the USA is $3.80. My area Costco has gas at $4.95 today. That is near the lowest gas prices seen around here since February 2022.

Damn the gas prices. Our time had come for a California road trip. Disneyland at 350 miles from Monterey is not too far away for a road trip.

I talked to Kelley about driving Highway 1 Big Sur south.

birds flying over a rocky beach
Pelicans flying over Point Lobos State Park, Monterey County, California.
a river running through a rocky area
Garrapata Creek, Cabrillo Highway 1, Big Sur coast, Monterey County, California
Bixby Creek Bridge over a cliff
Bixby Bridge (1932) Highway 1, Monterey County, California
a green hills and blue water
Hurricane Point view north, Cabrillo Highway 1, Big Sur Coast, Monterey County, California
a group of cows grazing in a field with a small island in the background
Point Sur, Highway 1, Monterey County, California
a truck driving down a road
Heading into Big Sur valley, Highway 1, Monterey County, California

The main business section of Big Sur is in a valley with redwood trees, Big Sur State Park campground and hotel, some restaurants, lodging, gas stations and markets. Highway 1 returns to ocean views after about eight miles through the valley. 

a landscape with trees and mountains and water
Nepenthe Restaurant view, Highway 1 Big Sur, Monterey County, California
a plate of salad on a table
Big Sur – Nepenthe Restaurant beet salad

Nepenthe takes a bite out of your wallet, but you will be hard pressed to find a better view on the coast for dining.

a sign on a road

Nearby, down the hill from Nepenthe is Henry Miller Memorial Library, a free-to-visit redwood retreat with books and other items to browse around. The place ‘where nothing happens’ is an entertaining glimpse into creative thought and experience. On occasion something happens when there are films and music events at HMML. Concert posters inside the store with names in the rock scene you will likely recognize might have you regretting not being in the inner circle of those in the know who actually saw the shows in this little community amongst the redwood trees.

a building with tables and chairs in front of trees
Henry Miller Memorial Library, Big Sur, Highway 1, Monterey County, California.

Piedras Blancas Rookery is just before you reach Hearst Castle. This is a great winter spot for observing elephant seals on the beach right off Highway 1.

seals lying on the beach
Elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Rookery, Highway 1, San Luis Obispo County, California
a group of seals lying on the beach
Elephant seals, Piedras Blancas Rookery, Highway 1, San Luis Obispo County, California


a statue of a woman on a fountain with a view of the ocean
View from Hearst Castle, San Simeon, San Luis Obispo County, California

Hearst Castle is a place of interest if you have hours available to take a tour and wander around the hilltop grounds of the estate house.

Lovely scenery if you take the time

I gave the Highway 1 Big Sur drive some more thought at the start of our trip and decided the drive should go a bit faster so we could reach Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach before sunset.

We drove through the Salinas Valley from Monterey to San Luis Obispo on Highway 101. The photos seen in this article were from other Highway 1 road trips I have made over the past 15 years.




  • nsx at FlyerTalk November 4, 2022

    “Nepenthe takes a bite out of your wallet, but you will be hard pressed to find a better view on the coast for dining.”

    Ventana Big Sur is better. 😉 It’s now 45k Hyatt points per night, but worth it if you can find standard award availability. (Caveat: Your spouse may ask you to return there repeatedly.) If you’re not staying there, you can pay $95 for dinner at Big Sur House, which is reasonable.

    Funny you should mention Costco gas. I discovered their Seaside gas station last weekend on the way to Big Sur. Your car must use regular gas, because premium was $5.15.

    Pro tip: The driving experience on Highway 1 is best if there is no traffic. There’s only one way to do that. Get on the road at or near Big Sur 30 minutes before dawn in May through September. You can literally drive 2 hours to San Simeon and back encountering almost no other cars, safely enjoying the scenery.

  • The Masked Poster November 6, 2022

    Those elephant seals may look like great big blobs of blubber, but get too close to one, and you’ll find out how fast that blubber can move, And they have teeth. Great pics, Ric, glad you’re back to posting once in a while.

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