our honeymoon: santa cruz to san diego

Maybe it's the fact that my holiday vacation is coming up, but all I can think about is taking a break and just relaxing for a while. I've found myself in a mood to post holiday photos and dream of warm, sunny weather. It's for that reason that I felt like sharing photos from the rest of our honeymoon. Previously, I posted about our time in Orange Country and San Francisco. Today, I'm sharing photos of all the other cities we visited on our glorious two week road trip through California.

Let's pick up in Santa Cruz, at the beautiful amusement park on the beach...

After Santa Cruz, we drove south to Monterey, where we found a great, simple hotel right on the beach. Do you like our sweet rental car?

The water was so cold!

Right beside our hotel was this beautiful path. I could have followed it forever. Maybe if I'd done so I could have gotten a bit of a tan. Surrounded by bronzed people in California, I was painfully pale! Although let's be honest, I'm pale even among the pastiest people. I'm like an Alpha Pale.

The next day, we started driving further south down the absolutely magnificent Pacific Coast Highway.

Whenever possible, we would pull over and walk along the ocean. This is Big Sur. It was what my version of heaven would look like.

I wanted to set up camp on the beach and fall asleep there. The air was unbelievably fresh.

About ten minutes before we reached Heart Castle, we discovered that the highway was closed and we were forced to turn back and try to find an alternate route south. There is only one road that cuts through the mountains from the ocean to the central valley in between Carmel and San Simeon. It's called Nacimiento Fergusson Road and it is... treacherous! To quote Wikipedia, "The road is well-paved and maintained over its length, but is winding and has precipitous drops at almost every turn." This is the view from about halfway up. That road you see at the bottom? That's the highway we drove up from. If you have even a mild aversion to heights, avoid this route at all costs!

Eventually, you come down the east side of the mountain range and drive into an army training facility. This was a beautiful drive.

Finally, after sadly missing our tour of Hearst Castle and forfeiting our tickets, we arrived in San Luis Obispo.  We quickly realized that it is an awesome, stunningly gorgeous city.

After grabbing drinks at the famous Madonna Inn, we strolled around the college town, sipped coffees in a cozy cafe, went out for a great dinner and then caught a move at the historic Fremont theatre. We loved this little city!

The next day, we headed down to Santa Barbara, stopping in briefly for lunch, shopping, and a walk on the beach.

We kept driving and arrived in LA in the late afternoon.

We checked in at the Downtown Standard and quickly hopped up to the roof for a swim and some drinks.

At first, it was kind of weird seeing a ring on Brian's finger, but I quickly grew to love the sight of it.

At night, we went for drinks at the Chateau Marmont, which had an incredibly cool atmosphere and amazing (strong) drinks.

The next day, we drove around the city, saw a taping of Conan, and went to dinner at my relatives' house.

The following day, we spent the afternoon in Santa Monica, Venice Beach, then met up with some friends for dinner and drinks in Silver Lake.

The next morning, we woke up and drove east into the desert, finally reaching Palm Springs.

We were lucky enough to get a room at the Ace Hotel, which was the most fun hotel I've ever visited!

Our friend Peter was coincidentally also staying at the Ace!

I drank four fantastic mojitos by the pool, and basked in the afternoon sun and dry heat, enjoying that elusive perfect buzz that can only be attained through a perfect mix of relaxation and booze.

The sunset was so unusual, dipping below the mountains and maintaining an indirect glow for hours afterward.

Until it melted into pastels and beautiful silhouettes.

The next morning, we drove the incredibly scenic Pines to Palms highway down to San Diego.

San Diego is a much smaller, quieter city than I'd envisioned, but I really liked it.

The Zoo, of course, was pretty magical.

And there was bright bougainvillea everywhere.

We drove out to Ocean Beach to watch the surfers.

Then to Mission Beach to watch people bike and text.

For our last night, we drove out to Coronado Island for sunset. It was a perfect way to end a dream honeymoon.