US TRIP: The Road To Monterey

They say that a visit to California wouldn’t be complete without a road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway, and after months of talking about it with Trevor, the day had finally arrived to begin our journey together.

After spending the day before exploring in Santa Monica then spending the night in Beverly Hills, we woke up early, packed our things and escaped the city, heading north up to Monterey.

We had no specific plans, and no hotels booked as we both agreed that there was no better way to do this trip, than to wing it and see where the road would take us. And the thrill of being spontaneous on our first ever journey together excited us, as we had no idea where we would end up.

As we stepped out of the concrete jungle, and headed towards the beaches of Malibu, we were greeted with beautiful vistas all round, which ultimately resulted in the both of us wanting to stop every 10 mins to get out and take a million photos. Photographer problems.

The coast-hugging drive instantly made me miss my R34 back home (I live on the Northern Beaches of Sydney), and I dreamed of what it would be like to maybe one day ship my car over, and drive this exact same route. 

After reminding ourselves that we had a lot of distance to travel if we were to make it to Monterey by sunset, we hit the road and headed towards Santa Barbara. As Trevor took the wheel, I sat back and took in the vast changing landscapes. 


By lunch time we had made our way up to Santa Barbara, where we stopped at @silvergreens for brunch. The food looked somewhat decent on their IG, but I was soon disappointed when I realised how greasy and meh the quality of their food was when our plates arrived. Would not recommend. On the contrary, it was still better than eating at In-N-Out, which I tried for the first time two nights prior. (The Animal Style sauce is gooooood though mmmmm!)

With our bellies filled, we headed towards several twisty mountains on the San Marcos Pass Road, where we stopped at a few overlooks. If you stick on this road like we did, you’ll no longer be on the beachfront route as the road heads more inland towards the small city of Lompoc and Vanderberg airforce base. 

With every twist and turn around the breathtaking mountains, we were both in awe, and after taking a random turn down a quiet road, we decided to have some fun with the C Class...

Keep cars fun, right?

After making the car rather filthy, (myself included as I tried to 'get the shot' amongst a cloud of dirt) we got back on the road and headed straight for Monterey. At this stage I was so eager to get there before dark, so I could get a glimpse of how the location of the annual Car Week event looked like. BTW who is going this year?!


Around 5pm we finally made it to Monterey, but unfortunately the weather was rather miserable which meant no clear skies for sunset :( Lucky there is always next time!

As we pulled into town, we booked a nights stay at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and had dinner at Roy's at Pebble Beach. I had seen pictures of this restaurant on @cfeulner's IG (Trevor's friend), and was dying to experience the renowned restaurant for myself.

We ordered the Ahi Poke, Roy's Hawaiian Unagi Roll, and the Spider Volcano Roll, and each dish (including the wine) was absolutely amazing, and the entire night could not have been more perfect. It's also the night Trevor and I became FB offical lol!

The next morning we woke up super early to try and catch the sunrise, however the weather still had not cleared, and it continued to rain the entire morning. But that didn't stop us from getting out and exploring, and seeing what Monterey had to offer.

Monterey is wrapped by the Pacific on three sides, and offers wind-tossed beaches and quiet coves, fine dining and casual eats, early history and postmodern art. Everything here seems to slow down and for a moment you feel like you’re back in time. It was so quiet and peaceful, that I could easily live here.

Our plan for the day was to head down south to Big Sur before heading back up north towards San Francisco. As we began our drive, we came across a quiet, narrow drive called 'Spindrift' which provided the most incredible views...

This spot in Carmel Highlands was probably one of my favourite places we stopped at! Look how blue the water is!

I think the best part about going on a road trip with another creative, is that you not only get to bounce ideas off one another, but you also get to share each others gear! 

At this stage of the journey, my camera started to experience several issues with my SD card and my 24-70mm lens. Whilst I was angry at the time, I tried not to let it ruin my trip, and decided to step out of my comfort zone, and use Trevor's Sony for the very first time. So a bunch of these photos from this and my upcoming blog posts, will be a combination of the Sony and my Canon, which are all edited using my 'Stay Moody' presets that are available from my online shop.


With most of Highway One closed due to recent storms, we unfortunately we not able to make it down to Big Sur like we had hoped, so the plan was to just drive as far down as possible.

BTW if you are planning a trip, you can check the condition of the road on the CalTrans website. Simply enter '1' (the highway number) and search. Small mudslides will close the road for minutes or hours but after heavy rain in winter, the road can be damaged to such an extent that it’s out of action for weeks.

If the coast is only closed at one point it is worth checking out how far you can actually drive along the coast – you may still experience a great scenic drive even if you have to turn around and head back the way you came, which is what we did!

And since most of Highway One was closed, it allowed us to stop near Bixby Bridge, have a breather and clean up the car with our Turtle Wax products. The car was so filthy and full of bugs after all the driving we had just done that it needed a quick little touch up before we headed back the way we came.

Bixby Bridge is an incredible single-span concrete arch more than 80 metres (260 feet) high and 200 metres (700 feet) long!

For anyone who enjoys nature, breathtaking views, and incredible roads, I highly recommend you take this drive, as you won't be disappointed!

I am already looking forward to doing it all again once Big Sur has re-opened, and it was so nice to be able to share this journey with another photographer, who enjoys the exact same things as me.

Stay tuned for my next post which shows our journey in San Fransisco!