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This is the final post of the highway one roadtrip series. Nineteen hours of driving over seven days; we drove over one thousand miles and made ten stops along the way. It is a travel experience I think everyone should have on their bucketlist. We started and ended our roadtrip in Los Angeles and although we did not properly explore Los Angeles, any time spent in Los Angeles is meaningful and worth sharing. We landed in LAX ; picked up our rental and decided to head to Melrose Place to check out the farmer’s market and visit Alfred’s tea room.

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We walked around Melrose place; had tea and decided on in and out burger for lunch because we were on holiday and carbs don’t count. After that we were ready to kick off our roadtrip adventures. We kicked off at El Matador then Santa Barbara , Big Sur and Carmel by the Sea. We also made stops at Monterrey ; Santa Cruz ; Half Moon Bay ; San Fransico ; San Diego.

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We made our second stop in LA on our drive from San Fransico to San Diego - we only had enough time for food and decided to brunch at Little Doms which is one of my favorite spots in Los Angeles.

Our final stop in LA was on our last day just before flying back home. We left San Diego just after sun rise and arrived in LA with enough time to stop by Grand central market in downtown LA for a quick breakfast and visite Broad museum and Walt Disney building

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El Matador Beach
El Matador Beach
El Matador Beach
El matador beach

Possibly the best part of any roadtrip is curating it as your own. Decide what stops you want to add or skip from your itinerary. When we started planning the HWY 1 roadtrip - none of the guides we found mentioned Malibu or El Matador but I had since pictures of this beach and always wanted to visit so I made my case to “ I “ and she agreed to add it to our list (more like I played the guilt card of over a decade of friendship and she got tired of listening to me whine about it). No matter - we added it to the list and after a short visit in LA , we made our way to Malibu.

El Matador Beach
El Matador Beach
El Matador Beach

El Matador is on of three beaches in the Robert Meyer memorial state beach - which google describes as three small cliff-foot beaches. I am told El Matador was the most popular of the three and it is the closet to Malibu. We did not know it at the time we were planning, but this is apparently this a popular spot to photograph swimsuit (and we saw several photoshoots happening). What captured my heart and has earned this stop a spot on the blog - the stunning sunset above the caves and arches in rocks - an incredibly beautiful scene.

El matador Beach

We arrived just before on sunset on a Sunday and the parking lor was full so we parked along the highway along with other cars and made our way to the trail to get down to the beach. The background was so stunning we decided to have a mini photoshoot.

If you have find yourself in this part of the world or if you plan your highway one roadtrip - consider adding this on your itineraty. It is such a stunning place - see for yourself.

El Matador Beach
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El Matador Beach
El Matador Beach
El Matador
El Matador Beach
El Matador Beach


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Santa Barbara was the second stop on our seven-day highway one road trip. I have loved Santa Barbara for years; partly because it was the setting of one of our favorite tv shows - Psych (filmed in Canada) and we could not wait to explore.  We arrived in Santa Barbara late on Sunday evening. After checking into the Lemon tree Inn, it was time to find nourishment. Ideally, we wanted to do the milpas taco trek, but given the time of day that was out of the question. We picked a spot on the trail and headed off. 

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At first glance, there was nothing noteworthy about the place, but If there is one thing I have learned from my travels - when locals dine at a spot, it is fairly good bet it is the real deal. Lilly’s Taqueria is the real deal with both traditional and unique taco options. We scuffed down our meal in silence in part because we were exhausted but mostly because it was finger licking delicious. If this was all we did in Santa Barbara - I would have been satisfied. 

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The next day, we were up and checked out of the hotel by 7:30 a.m. We started the day with leisure stroll around downtown Santa Barbara lined with whitewashed houses with red roofs and lush gardens. Our first stop was the rooftop of the Santa Barbara courthouse. The clock tower has some incredible views of the Santa Barbara skyline. We could have spent all morning on the rooftop, but there was still so much to see. We explored the courthouse, including the courthouse mural room. The clock tower views were amazing, but the mural room was breath-taking pretty. One tip - take the stairs within the court house because the tlled stairways is a mini trip to Europe - reminded me so much of Sevilla. After many. many pictures, we strolled towards state street - stopping for more snaps of Spanish-esque exteriors.

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Eventually, we arrived at State Street, the palm-tree lined the street with shops and restaurants should not be missed. We stopped at the French press coffee shop. It came highly recommended while we were planning the trip and it did not dissapoint. The coffee was amazing. A stroll through pretty alley ways till we found Tupelo junction cafe and settled in for a diner style breakfast  that we really enjoyed.

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A very quick stop at the old Mission Santa Barbara with beautiful architecture and garden. We were running behind on the schedule; I regret not having more time to explore. Before heading off to Carmel by the Sea, we stopped by Sterns Wharf for a leisure stroll along the broad walk.  

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While we were planning our Highway one round-trip itinerary, we quickly realized that spending the night in Carmel by the sea was not going to work for our budget. It is a lovely town but the hotel rates are steep if you are a budget traveler. However, just fifteen minutes down the highway, the city of Monterrey has significantly reduced rates and within a short drive of Carmel that we did not feel like we missed out choosing to camp out in Monterrey for the evening. After spending the morning driving from Santa Barbara to Carmel and exploring all that Carmel has to offer - including the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen, we were very tired. The cross-country flights to Los Angeles a few days before, daily hotel changes and the drive was starting to take a toll. By the time checked into our accommodation in Monterrey, I was almost ready to pull the plug on the rest of the road trip.

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We called it a night early. Surely our road trip blues will be cured by a good night's rest. Not quite. We planned to start out early the next day. Our itinerary included stops in Santa Cruz; Half Moon Bay and San Fransico. However, we were still a lot tired. What we should have done was sleep in or start our day early to avoid traffic etc. Instead, our FOMO (fear of missing out) would not let us leave Monterrey without exploring. We found a happy comprise with Asilomar beach. 

We found a parking spot for the car and headed down the footpath. As soon as we arrived I knew I wanted to shoot here. It was supposed to be a relaxing morning, but the site before us needed to be captured. I ran back to the car to grab my camera.

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It was expectedly quiet as we made our way past some joggers, and a few folks walking their dogs. We stopped every few feet to admire the beautiful beach and watch as waves caught into the perfectly imperfect rock formation. A lady was camped in the gazebo about midway down the footpath having her morning coffee while watching the waves. A little bit further down - another lady was painting the scenery in beautiful watercolor. It seemed surreal.

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The quiet and peace of the morning was just what the doctor ordered. We found a spot to camp out and caught up on our reading for a few hours before the reality of our road trip schedules set in.  Before leaving Monterey, we had breakfast at first awakening diner (diners breakfast is the best).  This place served up an excellent meal. I highly recommend it if you are in these part

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We arrived in Carmel just before 4 p.m. on a mid-November day. We our way past charming nooks, pretty houses to the entrance to the famed Pebble beach to explore the 17 mile stretch of beautiful homes, coast line and pebble beach. Turns out getting into this stretch of the coast has a $10 entry fee - not exhobitant, but we had a goal of not breaking budget on this road trip so we passed up Pebble beach and the 17 mile drive. We found the Carmel beach instead. Known as one of the top beaches in the Country, it more than made up for Pebble beach. We found parking quickly and picked our spot on the viewing ledge just in time for the "golden hour" of sunset.

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As we waited on the sun to do its thing - we people watched. From the guys attempting to surf, to kids building sand castles and folks playing catch with their dogs, there was a group behind us that appeared go be doing a photo shoot for a clothing line. With the "golden hour" of sunset as a backdrop, it seemed surreal. We sat in blissful silence for the next hour, people and sunset watching.  We still had some time before dinner. We decided to explore Carmel a little. 

As we made our way through town, just by sheer luck I looked up to see purple, gold and gold hue splattered across the sky. I cannot tell you if what we saw was the blue hour, civil twilight or nautica twilight(if you know, please share in the comments), but I can tell you it was the most beautiful scene I had experienced in a long time

I cannot tell you if what we saw was the blue hour, civil twilight or nautica twilight(if you know, please share in the comments), but I can tell you it was the most beautiful scene I had experienced in a long time and something I recommend for your bucketlist if you are ever in these parts.

Seriously though, what stage of sunset produces gold, purple, blue hues splattered across gthe sky as though a painter painsatakingly painted it. I am curious to know. 

Linking up this week with an amazing travel blogging community - check out this stories and other great travel stories below.

Untold Morsels