Most of the people in my life in the USA are on the East Coast or in Seattle, but we still hoped someone could and would somehow join us for part of the road trip. Unfortunately there is zero space in my car to take on another passenger, so that option was swiftly ruled out. Our hopes materialized when our bff James said he would join us on our evening of camping in Big Sur, which was only a couple hours drive from his place. Spending time with him at his place in Los Gatos was great, so we were thrilled to have his company for a night of camping. Besides, I love when James and Andrew are together. They are constantly debating & talking about sports, tech stuff, science, the meaning of life, or just general nonsense, of which I can only add minimal commentary to when James is not around. Guys need their guy chat once in a while, eh?
Side note – One of the highlights of our weekend in Los Gatos was heading to downtown San Jose one evening to watch the Sounders game and meet up with a childhood acquaintance of Andrew’s from the town he grew up in, Bishop’s Stortford in England. Andrew, James #1 and I arrived at The Britannia Pub ((fitting, right?!)) and waited for James #2 and his wife Natalie to arrive ((if you only knew how many people called James are in our life – it’s crazy)). After introductions, James #2 and Andrew immediately began catching up on adult life away from the Bish, while Natalie and I started chatting about my blog & travel plans, and about being married to Brits. We gabbed away and drank non-stop until it was time to call it a night. We had so much fun that night, and we hope to see James & Natalie again soon, either in the USA or England over the upcoming holidays.
We received several recommendations to visit Big Sur while driving through California, and for that reason, could not leave it off the itinerary. After a stellar weekend in Los Gatos with James, the three of us packed up our respective vehicles, and headed southwest toward Big Sur. We took Route 1, and I quickly realized just how much the narrow road hugged the very high sea cliffs. I am such a chicken when it comes to heights AND cliffs, so I was holding my breath for half the journey to Big Sur. But my goodness, it was just beautiful.
In an article in Sunset magazine, I had skimmed through a list of best places to camp in California, and happened upon a place called Kirk Creek in Big Sur. I emailed the link to Andrew, as we were in the planning stages of our trip, and like with all my emails, he dismissed it and never opened the link ((do all husbands do this?! you guys better realize an email from your wife should be given the highest priority and thoroughly read and replied to immediately, as well as waiting to see if you can be of any further assistance)). Luckily I have a good memory and knew the name of the campground.
Kirk Creek Campground is very small ((only 34 sites)), but without a doubt has to be the best place to camp on the West Coast. If you don’t make a reservation eight days prior to your stay,
good luck finding a site it is walk-in only. We really took a chance by not having a reservation, and even though the sign said “Campground Full” which made me sulk and think we’d have to find another place to stay, Andrew took a closer look at all the signage on the bulletin board and noticed two sites were not yet crossed off – meaning they were available. COULD IT BE TRUE?? Noticing a couple standing by their motorcycle with the same defeated look as us, Andrew swiftly & stealthily walked over to find the two sites to confirm if they had been snatched up yet. One had just been taken by a group of four, and the other was entirely open and available. I quickly backed the car into the site while Andrew registered & paid. IT WAS LIKE WINNING THE LOTTERY. I’m still scratching my head at how we managed to snag that very last site in the Taj Mahal of West Coast campgrounds ((and I don’t mean lavish – no running water meant pit toilets and certainly no cell service here)).
We spent the rest of our day & evening hiking past the creek and down to the giant rocks that make up the beachfront, wandering around the campground, and playing eight hundred hands of a card game James taught us, called “shithead.” Silly name; very fun game. Then the three of us turned in for the evening and had the worst night’s sleep of the trip. For some reason, we thought three people in our little tent on the bare ground would work out just fine for a night’s sleep. Not quite, especially for James whom I don’t think slept for more than an hour.
The next morning we played a few more games of shithead ((cannot type that without giggling, such a teenage maturity level over here)) before bidding farewell to James and departing the campground to continue south towards the next destination, Malibu. Thanks for hosting us at your place and then joining us for part of the adventure, James! See you in Europe.
If you find yourself driving down the California coast and need a place to camp, I highly recommend Kirk Creek. But book in advance, and try for sites 9, 11, 17 or 22. These sites have the most stunning ocean views.
Watch for my upcoming post about our time in Malibu and a brief stop in LA to be an audience member for my favorite show on tv ((just to be clear – my favorite since Oprah is no longer on the air))