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  • Writer's pictureJenise Spiteri

Road Trip Up Highway 1

Updated: Jun 4, 2020

Last week my friend Kyle came to visit from Long Beach with the intention of getting out of civilization for a few days so we jumped in my van and headed north up Highway 1. Here is the photo story of that trip:

With no plans other than to hit the road and see where we ended up, we left San Francisco and headed north across the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin.

Our first spontaneous stop was shortly after our drive began when we caught a glimpse of Muir Beach and decided to find a way to get down to it with the parking lot closed.

We didn't make it too far before our next stop, the Muir Beach Overlook. It was honestly hard to drive more than 500 feet without seeing cool to go check out. The walkway out to the overlook point was so cool, and I definitely leaned over the railing to have a Titanic moment.

After another twenty minutes or so of driving we stopped at Point Reyes Station for lunch. I parked my van at the edge of town with an open view of a lush green valley. Kyle and I sat on the deck of my van and ate our packed sandwiches and White Claws and then did some skateboarding on the street. Forgot to photograph any of that, but I did take a picture of this cool Frog Kyle found in an abandoned barn.

We pulled into a random parking lot in Bodega Bay to look for something to skate and ended up having a good little session on the curbs and ledges.

On the back side of the parking lot were some docks. I wonder if the restaurants in that lot haul in fresh fish catches right on site... I thought this boat looked cool and was lucky to capture this sea bird in the same shot.

We caught this sight driving through the town of Carmet as the sun began to set and had to pull over for some photos. If you think it's breath taking in photos, just know it was 10x more incredible in real life.

These stairs headed down to Carmel Beach in Carmet and I just about die thinking about how beautiful that spot was. Look at how itty bitty my van is up on that cliff.

Had to let my still unnamed van take in the view from the cliffs of Carmet too.

With dusk officially upon us as we drove through the town of Jenner, it was time to find a spot to pull over and stop for the night.

Because we only traveled 80 miles on the first day, we vowed to drive at least an hour before stopping on day 2. So 45 miles (an hour and ten minutes) later, when we saw this secluded beach from the road we allowed ourselves to check it out. Most of the beaches along the way were closed, but this one actually had an open trail down to it!

Down in the gulch we set up my beach chairs and watched the waves while we ate our pre-lunch snack: red wine, and Trader Joe's tomatillo salsa with black bean chips.

"Hey look over there! It's me posing for an Instagram photo!"

We found this cool little cave on the edge of the beach so naturally we went in and took some photos of each other.

The first real town we came upon was called Point Arena. We microwaved some burritos for lunch at the grocery store and then cruised over to the high school where Kyle got a shot of a front shuv down this stair set. The day before had been his first day skating in over two months because of an injury so it was really cool watching him land this. We also saw a llama somewhere at some point.

Just before driving through the town of Elk, we saw this section of the coast that looked straight out of Hawaii. So amazing!

Because of the nice long days, we were able to get to Van Damme State Park for a hike before it got too dark. The walk was pretty long because the parking lot was closed, but a park ranger told us the park was still open for hiking so off we went.

It's good luck to kiss a banana slug (maybe)! Just make sure your lips are clean so you don't hurt them with your salt.

Big tree, small human, tiny lizard. Kyle was honestly the king of finding animals. He found the frog, banana slug, and this little guy.

We made it to our northernmost part of the journey, Fort Bragg, on the third day of the trip and headed over to Glass Beach.

Glass Beach is cool because you can literally just scoop up a pile of sand and come up with a handful of sea glass. Unfortunately, year by year there's less glass because of the tourists who come and squirrel away bag fulls of it.

I dug for cool pieces of glass and artifacts to look at while Kyle explored some rocks.

One of my favorite things about Glass Beach was the tide pools. There were so many cool things living in the pools like little crabs, big crabs, snails, tiny fish, and anenomes.

Our last stop of the trip was Navarro River Redwoods State Park. We pulled off onto the side of the highway and got out for a little exploring in the trees. Once it got dark, a park trooper drove by and announced all cars in the park overnight would be fined, so we headed out to the next town we could park in.

The next morning I drove Kyle back to the airport and our little nature escape came to an end. I really hope to go back up and see more of the North Bay and Mendocino areas when everything is open again.


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Rick Young
Rick Young
Feb 21, 2022

very very nice photos.


Feb 05, 2022

Beautiful coastal route. Trip looked fun.

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