Justin and I have been talking about a trip like this for a while. Starting out up north with the more rugged and wild coastline, and ending up in Ventura, Justin’s surf haven for the last couple of years.
We brought along our friends Hayden and Adrian. Hayden, super mellow and easy going. While Adrian is full of energy and itching for the next stop. The perfect pair to bring along on a trip like this. We got a late start, and spent the night in a private parking lot in Monterey. After a late night of catching up and midnight munchies, we got up early the next morning for coffee before we hit the road. I had heard about Captain + Stoker from one of my friends and decided to check it out. We were not disappointed, a good vibe and great coffee, the perfect start.
Captain + Stoker
Big Sur was first on the list. The plan was to spend two or three days here, taking advantage of the more wild kind of environment. More work to get to a spot rather than just pulling up and going. We had to plans to hike and camp and cookout on the beach. Unfortunately, the day we got there, everything shut down again for COVID. The National Forest was even closed. Not sure if it was due to fires over the summer, or the pandemic. Either way, we had no place to stay for the night. Normally not a huge deal, but none of us wanted a ticket for being somewhere we weren’t supposed to during a stay at home order.
We spent about half the day at Andrew Molera State park. It’s about a mile hike in to the beach with a nice little creek crossing. Nothing too crazy, but it was nice to get some proper outdoor time in. Opportunities have been few and far between this year.
I originally wasn’t going to bring Jack along. Beaches are so hit or miss with dogs. But my girlfriend talked me into it, convincing me he would rather be with us and take a snooze in a van while we surf than be stuck at home. Luckily, we only had to leave him behind this once.
With no idea of where to stay for the night, we got back on the road south, looking to see if anything caught the eye, and searching for enough service to look online for a place to stay and see what the situation was. Hayden introduced us to an app called iOverlander. It has pretty up to date locations on places to stay overnight. With that, we were able to find a place outside of Cayucos. Not ideal, but at least we didn’t get booted, or fined.
Cayucos ended up being a great little beach town. I got up early and went down to the coffee shop for some coffee and breakfast. While we were there, we found a promising place to stay in the Santa Barbara hills. With a solid place to sleep that night sorted already, the boys went for a surf off the pier while I gave Jack some much needed exercise on the beach.
When they were done, we made some more coffee for the road, packed up, and made our way further south.
I was so bummed about missing out on Big Sur. Luckily though, Santa Barbara gave us a bit of what we were looking for. Way up on the ridge we had a clear view of the coast. It’s tough to beat being way up above it all like that.
We set up camp, made dinner, and kicked back for the night, thankful we found a place to stay where we could fully relax and enjoy ourselves.
Santa Barbara Hills
Got up for sunrise the next morning and was met with a big reward. A beautiful sunrise, coming up over huge blanket of clouds that we were looking down on. Cloud inversions are always special, and being able to watch the sun light everything up bit by bit was so satisfying after a few days of striking out a bit!
Coffee and breakfast of course followed, and then we made our way down and into Ventura where the boys could get some surf in.
A classic surf town, we parked down the street and walked to the beach fully geared up. Palm trees lined the promenade and we got there as the sun was starting to get closer to the horizon.
Once it was dark we went back to the cars to change and go in search of food. We stopped at a Mexican restaurant and bought way too much food. After we ate, we found another spot to camp out for the night. Early to bed so we could be up before the sun again the next day.
We got up early and drove back to the beach, or close to it, for a morning surf before heading home. Getting ready in the blue light of morning meant getting out to the beach as the sun was coming up.
Freezing cold post-surf, we went and got some coffee (of course) before making the trek home.
Not everything worked in our favor throughout the week, but we did what we could to make the most of it. It’s always fun getting to spend time on the road with friends. Especially in a year like we’ve had. I haven’t gotten out and about nearly as much as normal. But some of the trips I have gotten to take this year have been some of the best I’ve had. And for that, I’m grateful.
All photography taken and copy written for this piece was from ambassador Benjamin Canevari