Road Trip To Big Sur

15th November, 2017

“If you don’t know where you are going, the road will get you there.” ~ Lewis Carroll

After 12 years of living in New York, lately all I have wanted is to run as far from its concrete lockup as I can get, retreating into the creativity and embrace of nature. The city is a wonderful place for filling up on interesting people and inspiring culture — but nature holds all the ultimate truths.

So, when Audi offered me an opportunity to test drive their new TTRS, I happily sprung at the tantalizing chance to cruise headlong into the mystic mountains of Northern California. Calling upon my dear friend Lily Kwong as copilot, we met up in Los Angeles and together embarked on one of the world’s most iconic and invigorating road trips: up the Pacific Coast Highway, along the oceanfront all the way to the coastal mountains of Big Sur — truly one of the most majestic natural habitats on earth.
Lily and I have known each other for years, but until this trip she never knew my secret lust: a deep-seated need for speed, a true and longtime love of fast cars. I first learned to drive on a stick-shift sports car, and spent too many nights of high school drag racing with the boys. My very first car was a two-seat coupe — as long as I’ve been driving, I’ve loved the feel of shifting gears, of a growling engine and of blitzing smoothly over open road.
This trip thus delivered on every wish I could have dreamed: freedom in the form of a sexy roadster and no particular plan, community in the comfortable camaraderie of a great friend, and medicine in the embrace of a wild, wondrous landscape. As Belinda Carlisle once sang, Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth? Ooh, heaven is a place on earth.
Music was really our road map: testing the limits of our Audi’s Bang + Olufson sound system, we rolled down the windows and warbled together at the top of our lungs, blasting Americana classics like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell as the TTRS woofed, crackled and purred easily over straight-lined highways and curving mountain terraces.
Accelerating from 0-60 in only 3.6 seconds, the power behind the wheel was met by the power of the rocky coastlines and redwood forests through which we roamed.

Big Sur has always attracted artists and poets — luminaries like Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac — because it’s a place where one can be truly alone, and totally confronted with the bracing omnipotence of nature. Life in Big Sur is a peacocking of the four elements. Earth offers a loving nest of glistening soil, velvet grass and cashmere moss. Air gives flight to the California Condors, who have been reincarnated from near-extinction in the region’s nourishing womb. Water is everywhere, from a boat-less ocean to dew drops that arrive with morning and stay all day. Fire reveals itself in the smoke of cabin chimneys. Endless opportunities to be absolutely awestruck abound, from dawn to dusk to darkness.

We spent our days there simply: reading in the grass when it was warm, and in front of the fireplace when the days grew cold. We drove just for the joy of it, exploring the tempestuous oceanfront, racing around the mountains’ lush curves and finding places to pull over and hike deep into the whispering forests. 

ABOVE|  Kelly Framel in a Proenza Schouler jacket, Re/Done jeans and Clarks boots

ABOVE|  Lily Kwong in a dress by Mara Hoffman

ABOVE|  love my custom Audi racing jacket; just wish I could keep the car that goes with it!

As idyllic as our days in Big Sur were, the drive back to Los Angeles was just as delicious. We set out first thing in the morning, knowing we would want the whole day to cruise, stopping for such urgencies as rainbows over the plains and peanut butter cookies at a kitschy roadside inn. With so dreamy a drive, these spontaneous pull-offs really added up — and in the final hours of the journey, we found accidental opportunity to fully flex the abilities of the Audi TTRS to bob and weave through traffic, as our happy meanderings and unwillingness to let the adventure end brought us dangerously close to the possibility of Lily missing her flight back to NYC. Realizing we’d meandered far too long, the car and I kicked quickly into high gear, and together we made it just in the nick of time, pink skies oozing in our wake.

PHOTOS|  by Kelly Framel and Lily Kwong

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TheGlamourai is a webzine produced by Kelly Framel, a multi-media creative director based in downtown New York (but constantly bouncing around the world). Part fashion blog, part glossy mag, part fantasy travel portal, it's your ultimate online destination for stylish daydreams. Tune in for inspirational editorials, beauty tutorials, outfit ideas, DIYs, jet-set travel tips and more!
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