Finding free places to camp in California and along Hwy 1 is tough. I usually arrive after dark and leave before sunrise, helps limit the discussions with a ranger. There are several roads going west from 1 back to 101 thru the woods, many places to camp in there. Do stay on the main roads though, the pot growers don't like strangers. Watch out for "bubba" he is a bit squirrly and drives fast in the woods.
I am guessing you didn't see the forcast before leaving, California didn't look too good for the rest of the week, along the beach near San Francisco and south.
In any case Good Luck and keep the story and photos posted.