A Stunning Photo Journal of The California Coast

By Robert Schrader,

I rarely travel domestically and the reason why is very simple: The less “different” a culture is to mine, the less inspired I am by it. Many places in the U.S. are more or less the same, which is why I prefer to jet-set abroad.

The truth is that I travel internationally so much there’s almost no time left for domestic trips, save for those to see my family outside of St. Louis – I haven’t regularly traveled domestically for the sake of pleasure in nearly a decade. Frankly, I no longer have the authority to make such sweeping generalizations about domestic travel.

Consequently, one of the main objectives of my recent trip up the Highway 1 Discovery Route, which  runs along the coast of San Luis Obispo County, California, was to disprove this statement once and for all, hopefully with ample photographic evidence to support my counter-claim.

Care to take a look at some of it?

sunrise california

Sunrise, as captured from a cliff overlooking Shell and Pismo Beaches, near the southern end of the Highway 1 Discovery Route.

california roadtrip

Starting my 100-mile journey up Highway 1.

Highway 1 Discovery Route

The aptly-named Emerald Cove, located just south of iconic Big Sur.

Highway 1 Discovery Route

No trip along the Highway 1 Discovery Route, whose former name was the “Wine Coast,” is complete without a glass of local white.

Coastal California Road Trip

The town of Morro Bay is defined not only by its seafaring culture, but by Morro Rock, a volcanic “cap” that’s California’s answer to the Rock of Gibraltar.

Highway 1 Discovery Route

Morro Bay is as lively on land as it is out at sea, with fun events such as the annual Avocado and Margarita Festival.

Highway 1 Discovery Route

Fresh seafood is only the beginning along the Highway 1 Discovery Route: California strawberries at Avila Valley Barn, near the town of Avila Beach.

Highway 1 Discovery Route

Enjoying Sand Dabs, a local specialty, prepared in a lemon-caper sauce by the expert chefs at Dutchman’s Seafood, in Morro Bay.

California Wildlife

One of Morro Bay’s playful seals.

California Coast Road trip

The steady stream of birds along the central California coast is mesmerizing, especially in combination with the eternal call-and-response of the waves.

California Coast roadtrip

Yours truly in the shadow of Morro Rock – taken with the help of my tripod and remote. Yes, this is a selfie!

Route 1 roadtrip

Sunset from Shell Beach

Highway 1 Discovery Route

Neal Maloney of Morro Bay Oyster Company shows me where oysters are born.

My drive along the Pacific Coast Highway 1, as well as my two-night stay in charming Morro Bay, not only proved to me that I can be inspired by and produce great photos when I’m not somewhere whose name I can’t pronounce – it has actually inspired me to take more domestic trips, starting with a weekend jaunt to D.C. in late October. It’s like the old saying – So goes California, so goes the nation. Robert visits California – Robert visits the (whole) nation? Yes, I like the sound of that!

*All photos by Author. 

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