California Coast

Trip Start Apr 28, 2009
Trip End Jul 03, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, June 4, 2009

Big Sur, California
Thursday, June 4th

Sitting by a stream at a campground in Big Sur. Dappled sunlight, warm, quiet. Too many days to catch up on, better get started....

Our last full day in LA we had a good long walk on the wide wide clean clean beach (minimal waves, long curving "strand" or boardwalk (bikers, rollerbladers, Moms and nannies with strollers, and folks like us) then after lunch, went to the Getty Center, in LA not far from Mary and Murray's. Way high up on a the top of a hill, after driving 4 stories DOWN in the parking garage, you are swept up the hill on a monorail into the most glorious architecture and space you can imagine. Opened not long ago (late nineties) quite a bit after John Paul Getty died - but as a tribute to him, and supported with his money. Beautiful Italian marble in various stages of refinement, multiple buildings housing art collections and research facilities, many levels, dining, fountains, gardens, and views of the city and sea framed by the structures. Just soaring and amazing.

Around 5 we met Allan and Marti Palmer (old friends from England - Allan's parents were Nan and Tony from Uley, who our family knew so well) for reuning and drinks and food on Ocean Avenue. Fun time. Later in the evening the Spata-Burks took us to the #1 ice cream place anywhere (if you ask me...) - Diddy Reises in Westwood, LA, near UCLA - for $1.50 you get two warm cookies of your choice (like white chocolate macadamia nut, and chocolate chip with walnuts) and ice cream of your choice (like expresso chocolate chip) in an ice cream sandwich. It is to die for. To die for. That is all I can say about it.....

Next morning we all packed up and headed up the coast. Picked up the dogs at the Sandpiper Pet Hotel, where they had been lovingly cared for in Malibu on their own vacation from the camper - shampooed, blow dried and coiffed, they were silky and sleek and happy to see us. Mary and Murray in their Mercedes with the top down, we in our camper drove on up to Santa Barbara. Mary had a couple of "taquerias" in mind and we had great soft tacos for a pittance and warm tamales. We traveled independently to San Simeon - John and I stopped twice, once at a county park north of Santa Barbara to walk the dogs - a quiet, grassy agricultural valley (organic farm etc) off the beaten path, the quiet a perfect antidote to LA - dogs chased sticks and rolled in the soft green grass, happy as we are to be out of the desert! We also stopped in San Luis Obispo for coffee along the main street - Todd's old college stomping grounds (Cal Poly) - we really loved the town.

Camped together at San Simeon State Park - supper, walk on the beach, sunset over the Pacific. Cold night, sunny morning.

Today, further on up to Big Sur. Various stop to walk dogs among redwoods, gawk at the view, learn about elephant seals (lolling on the beach for a few weeks while they complete their annual molting), get coffee, gawk at the view some more - a spectacular drive if you have never done it, you must! We are now waiting to meet back up with Mary and Murray and hit Pfieffer Beach, our all time favorite...... then we'll find a brew with a view at Nepenthe (another family tradition) and get a burger to go with it before settling in for the night at our streamside campsite.

Tomorrow we'll say goodbye to the Spata-Burks and speed towards the Dorman families (and our offshoots!) in the Bay area. For now, mellow as can be in Big Sur (is there any other way to be here?!?!?)
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