Highway 1: Part 1 (Los Angeles to the Channel Islands)

Adam JohnsonTravel0 Comments

3 months ago I took the trip of a lifetime. My first taste of the West Coast and an incredible roadtrip along the northbound lane of California’s Highway 1. This trip was something that I had dreamed of and it wasn’t until it was really happening that I realized it.

The trip started out shortly after landing at LAX. After spending only a couple hours in Los Angeles, my soon to be fiance and I drove north through Malibu on our way to Ventura Harbor in order to make our boat trip reservation for the Channel Islands. We had a rough idea of the remainder of our roadtrip itinerary but the first night was a toss up as to where we would stay. Luckily, accompanying us on the adventure was our “Wolfwhip” (see #wolfwhiproadtrip), aka a Dodge Caravan with a wolf-themed paint job we rented from Escape Campervans (Look for photos of the van in Part II).We watched the sunset over the Pacific Ocean chowing down on delicious fish tacos from Neptune’s Net, somewhere we’d planned to go all along thanks to Paul Walker and The Fast and The Furious.

Shortly after dinner we still hadn’t solidified a good spot to stay for the night, luckily we had a van perfectly suited for sleeping in. We drove north just 20 minutes or so and pulled the van off the road for the night. It was a pretty good spot, waves crashing on the rocks below and the fading light with endless views of the ocean. There was one catch though. We never expected it to be was a late night spot that led to hours of clanking bottles and loud voices as locals jumped a fence to go hang out on the point. Interesting sleepless eavesdropping ensued.

The next day heading out to the Channel Islands was ideal. A cool morning with light fog obscuring our view of the island chain becoming more and more clear as we approached. After an hour and a half ferry ride to the islands, we made our way to Prisoner’s Harbor. The boat’s second stop, a more secluded dock, this cove was another 20 minutes away but offered a much more isolated experience. The trails on this portion of Santa Cruz Island were only accessible, legally, with a guide. We met ours right off the boat and headed out on a quick out-and-back hike through multiple canyons and rocky terrain.

As the afternoon drew on my soon to be fiance Paige and I explored the island. Shortly after we begun snorkeling, Paige was immediately swimming back to shore. After yelling back and forth, it was apparent she wasn’t planning to stay in the water, claiming to have seen a shark, I wasn’t buying it. Back on land we hiked out on an isolated rocky beach and past the time until the boat was scheduled to leave the dock. Walking down the 100 yard pier towards the ferry I glanced down in the clear water and to my utter amazement saw a 5 or 6ft tiger shark swimming between the pilings. Paige was quick to receive a “You win” comment from me.

Back on board we headed across the channel towards Ventura Harbor. Not more than half an hour into the trip back our captain informed the passengers of marine activity and to be on the lookout for whales and dolphins. Soon enough we had a multitude of opportunities and the captain was even required to place the vessel in neutral in order to protect the slow moving whales. For roughly 25 minutes or so we watched pod after pod of whales swim on every side of the boat. There we hundreds of dolphins as well surrounding us which was another astonishing spectacle but everyone’s eyes were on the enormous blue whales.

Once sure the whales had moved on we made our way back to the dock. Exhausted upon arrival, it was certainly a day neither Paige nor myself will never forget.

Part 2 will follow shortly…Ventura to Big Sur.


Also published on Medium.

Leave a Reply