The Mercedes-Benz E 350 on the California State Route.

My Guide: travelling the California State Route.

Discovering the most beautiful spots between Santa Cruz and Big Sur with My Guide in a Mercedes-Benz E 350.

E 350:

Fuel consumption combined: 5.5–5.1 l/100 km;

combined CO₂ emissions: 144–133 g/km.*

Lifestyle meets unspoilt nature.

Travelling in a Mercedes-Benz E 350 along the Californian west coast on an AVIS Best Road, the famous Highway 1: there are about 70 miles ahead of the two bloggers Doriana and Jeff Hammond – from Santa Cruz to Big Sur – along one of the most breathtaking coastal roads in the world.

Front view of the Mercedes-Benz E 350 on the California State Route.

A unique road trip that combines the relaxed Californian lifestyle with vast, untouched countryside along the rugged cliffs of the Pacific coast.

“Happy Coffee Time” and relaxing.

The journey starts in Santa Cruz, the surfers’ city on the Californian west coast. Not far from the Beach Boardwalk with its famous bright amusement park, the day starts with a coffee at Verve Coffee. “Happy Coffee Time” – that’s the motto of the brand’s three outlets, from the coffee bean to the interior design. Step inside, relax and have a coffee: just enjoy the moment the way the locals do. Each member of staff and each barista who prepares the fair-trade coffee is selected on the basis of being able to provide his or her guests with a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. It is so popular that “Happy Coffee Time”, an export from Santa Cruz, now ensures a pleasant atmosphere in LA too.

A member of staff of Verve Coffee in Santa Cruz preparing one of their coffee specialities.
The Mercedes-Benz E 350 on the California State Route, with an island in the background.

Splendid view of the Pacific.

From Verve Coffee the journey continues on Highway 1 along Monterey Bay, heading for Carmel-by-the-Sea – the classy hot spot with one of the most spectacular golf courses in the world. Here you can improve your stroke and your handicap on the fairway while looking at the Pacific coast. Or simply enjoy the view of this natural paradise and watch the massive Pacific waves thundering onto the cliffs. The beauty and exclusivity of this resort have made it a hot spot for celebrities. Actor Clint Eastwood even made an impact as the mayor of this small town in Monterey County, which in the past also inspired authors like Ernest Hemingway.

An landmark in art déco style.

Keep your cameras at the ready, because we’re about to see one of the most famous motifs along the route: the Bixby Bridge. The reinforced concrete bridge in art déco style takes the highway over the Bixby Creek.

The Mercedes-Benz E 350 on the Bixby Bridge, where the California State Route crosses the Bixby Creek.

If you wish to photograph the world’s highest bridge without intermediate supporting columns, it is best to park in one of the numerous little parking bays along the route.

Relax and enjoy the countryside.

What follows is one of the absolute highlights of the trip: spending the night in the forest. “It’s not scary at all, it’s absolutely wonderful,” says Jeff. His favourite spot where you can relax and commune with nature therefore is the Ripplewood Resort, in among the impressive redwoods which seem to reach up into the sky and never end. It is ideal for camping or staying the night in one of the small cabins that are equipped with everything you need: a kitchen, a little balcony overlooking the river, and a fireplace.

The Mercedes-Benz E 350 in front of one of the cabins at the Ripplewood Resort.

All you can hear is the river lapping peacefully as it flows past the resort. After sunset, however, Doriana and Jeff sit round a crackling fire under a clear starry sky.

Coffee cups in the Big Sur Bakery on the California State Route.

Impressively delightful and enjoyable.

After about 65 miles, endless impressions along the route and a night in the forest, the two are in need of some energy: it’s time for a little breakfast at the Big Sur Bakery, with its delicious home-made baked goods and light bites. In the lovingly designed bakery and the adjacent restaurant, every dish is prepared with care using organic produce. Most of the ingredients are sourced locally.

The perfect end.

At Pfeiffer State Beach you can see the rugged beauty of Big Sur: the perfect opportunity for Doriana and Jeff to stretch their legs away from the California State Route. “The little stretch of beach with its twin rocks is a must-see on the route,” says Doriana. “When the sun goes down in the evening, many tourists gather to see how the light momentarily breaks an opening in the rock.” The perfect end to the day and also this unforgettable road trip from Santa Cruz to Big Sur in the Mercedes-Benz E 350. The route, including travel tips, can be found at Mercedes me “My Guide” and downloaded as a GPX file.

Doriana and Jeff Hammond at the beach on the Californian Pacific coast.

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