Nothing like a roadtrip along the Big Sur coast!

Big Sur is an amazing coast with so many wonderful places to visit… So when the folks at Ford offered me a chance to test drive a Mercery Mariner Hybrid, my first impulse was to take a roadtrip down the Big Sur coast!

Thanks to the Ford team, good timing with WordCampSF and the help of some friends (@ribeezie and @dingman), we got to make the Big Sur trip a reality!

[By the way, if you want to skip directly to the photos, consider checking out this photoset that Jonathan Dingman created. I’m gonna use more than a few of his photos below, but there’s nothing like seeing the whole set!]

The trip down the coast started on Sunday afternoon when we left San Francisco… We stopped off in Santa Cruz, where we took a walk through downtown and to the pier where we saw all kinds of great stuff like nesting birds and relaxing sea lions…

sea-lions

From Santa Cruz, we headed to Asilomar, which I’m tempted to not even mention because it’s simply my favorite place to stay in the Big Sur area and I’d hate to see it get crowded! It’s a conference center in a State Park on the beach with reasonable prices (sounds impossible, huh?). If you’re planning to stay in the area, then Asilomar is only a hop, skip and a jump from attractions like Pebble Beach Golf Course and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The most memorable moment from our stay came during an evening stroll along the beach when we found a stranded baby sea lion late… (the photo is blurry because it was taken at night with my blackberry, but it’s the best photo I’ve got!)
sealion

From Asilomar, we headed south and stopped off many, many times to take photos of the coastal views…
coastal-overlook

overlook

We also took a short hike to McWay Waterfall, and while the waterfall’s size was a bit disappointing, the colors of the water and surrounding mountains were amazing!

mcway-waterfall

Another great detour was our hike to the bottom of the Ragged Point Beach… If you look REALLY closely, you can see @ribeezie and me on the beach in this photo. (or check out this zoomed in version)
beach

We ended our adventure along the coast with a stop off to see the elephant seals at a beach near San Simeon. These animals are HUGE and so darn awkward on the land… and yet so much fun to observe.
elephant-seals

For those of you who are map-inclined, here’s a map where I identified some of the highlights:


View Big Sur Trip in a larger map

And finally, for those of you curious how the Mariner Hybrid held up… it was awesome! It was an extremely smooth ride, got great gas milage and gave us no issues whatsoever. The only funny parts of the car had to do with me getting used to a hybrid… Things like the engine revving up to high RPMs when heading up hills and turning off when stopped/going slow surprised me at first…

mercury-mariner

Overall, I’d like to think we pushed the car a bit by taking it down the Big Sur coast and the whole experience rocked. Thanks again to@ribeezie, @dingman and the people at Ford who helped make this trip happen! I had a blast!

Heading to WordCamp SF in style!

For a short-week, it’s been ridiculously busy… and haven’t had much chance to catch my breath! In addition to the background noise of actual consulting work, I attended another great MOTM event last night, have been preparing for another RE:RnD radio show for tomorrow (featuring Jonathan Miller!), and preparing for a weekend road trip to San Francisco for WordCamp.

This WordCamp trip is going to be something special… Some folks from Ford reached out to me to see if I’d test drive on of their cars, and I couldn’t resist looking for a reason to turn a simple test drive into an “event” by organizing a roadtrip this weekend!

The plan is to head to SF on Friday morning, play in SF for the weekend and then head down the Big Sur coast early next week… and for this journey, I’ve got two great traveling companions: Jonathan Dingman and Ricardo Bueno. Jonathan’s fresh off his recent roadtwip (and a a great photographer!) so my expectations are pretty darn high that this trip is going to be well documented!

ford-marinerIt’s kinda crazy that Ford is giving me a car to test-drive because I’m really *not* a car-fanatic. There was a time in high-school when I could take apart (and almost put back together) my ’77 Camero, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done much mechanical work on my car beyond changing the windshield wipers.

My request for the car was that it was a hybrid and it be big so I could bring some friends along… and the people at Ford stepped up to the plate. They’re dropping a Mariner off at my house tomorrow morning. (I’m feeling kinda like Steve Ballmer except the CEO ain’t dropping the car off and I don’t get to keep it!)

Such a crazy week and the fun has barely begun!