thirty eight from california / by Amanda Liew

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  For years we made the trek. Nine hours plus however many bathroom breaks it took to reach San Francisco from San Diego. It was to see my grandparents which was great, but it meant being thrown in the car at the wee hours of the morning where your only activity options were sleeping or eating or staring out the window. So when my dear friend Victoria and I were planning our much needed vacations, the concept of a road trip, much less a road trip in California, seemed less than enticing to me. Nevertheless, a few scheduling coincidences and a chance to reclaim the California coast in the make of adventure finally swayed my vote.

Thus, just as fall was quickly ushering Manhattan into its arms, we skipped backwards into the eternal summer of San Diego. Right before we left, I made the spontaneous decision to purchase a Fujifilm Instax instant camera and a boatload of film to document our adventures. What came out of it was thirty eight prints - some posed, some candids, some given away as gifts, and many that will be treasured for a lifetime.

On my turf, Victoria was shown all my favorite spots and some of my favorite people - Marine St Beach with Maegan, the Cove, Don Carlos with Ruth, Extraordinary Desserts with Drew, Balboa Park and Coronado with my family, and so much more.

We then began the first part of our journey and headed up North to Santa Barbara where we spent time leisurely walking along boardwalks, destressing for the first time in too long, and of course basking in the sun on both the beach and our rooftop pool.

After Santa Barbara, we faced the ambitious task of conquering the Pacific Coast Highway in one day. Unfortunately, our giant stacks of Swedish pancakes at our first stop in Solvang put us off to a delayed start (and a dangerous food coma while driving), but we made it to Morro Bay without w hitch. We then tackled Big Sur which was hands down my favorite part of the trip. It's gorgeous driving along the coast no matter what, but to have these enormous cliffs alongside you and breathtaking beach inlets below you was just something else. We managed to find Pfeiffer Beach which you cam literally only identify by sign that says "No RVs." You them drive about 2 miles down to the beach itself where the powerful waves have created a hole in an enormous rock formation and the sand runs purple from erosion. Not wanting to say goodbye, we pressed on to do the 17 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. It's a fascinating neighborhood with ridiculous coastal views that even managed to make a La Jollan jealous.

Finally, finally we made it to our last destination of Sam Francisco where my amazing Big, Lauren, hosted us in her oh-my-god-is-that-the-golden-gate-bridge-from-your-window?! apartment. We had the chance to see Brad and Laura for some phenomenal views of The Golden Gate Bridge and oysters out on the deck of The Ferry Building. The food was such a highlight of San Francisco: Dinner with Nate and Alex at Delarosa's was phenomenal, salami sandwiches at Molinari's, chocolate at XOX truffles, and of course pizza at Tony's (with no wait!).

It was the perfect nine days. Pure bliss, wonderful rest, and the sun on our faces.

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