My Love Affair With Scenic Drives

Perhaps it’s because I grew up in New Hampshire and had to drive everywhere, often on bucolic country roads. It could’ve been the boredom-induced exploration of a state just-moved-to, one with relatively few urban areas. Or perhaps it’s the experience of rounding a corner on a winding road and being confronted with overwhelming natural beauty. I’m not sure what is the genesis of my insatiable desire to drive long distances to experience natural beauty, but I also don’t mind that California is replete with options to satisfy my needs.

To that end, I drove the entirety of the California 1 in various trips over the past six months. Better known as the Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, for much of its length, it extends from well north of San Francisco to south of Los Angeles. The 656 mile route is predominantly a two-lane highway, often precariously stuck to the edge of the continent, while frequently coupling expansive views with terrifying drops to the ocean.

When I drove from LA to SF for a company event, I traversed the central portion that I hadn’t covered while staying in either city in recent months. Shortly thereafter, I realized only the extreme northern portion remained un-driven, and fortunately had plans to be in SF long enough to take the drive to Leggett. Not risking missing the opportunity to complete the route, Chris and I spent a sunny Saturday in the car.

On the whole, the California 1 is a beautiful drive from end to end, with the expected exceptions in the larger cities it traverses. Given the nature of the road’s course, many of its most-impressive vistas come on turns too dangerous for stopping on, but I have posted a few decent photos at