California Cruisin'

Trip Start Apr 16, 2010
Trip End Nov 02, 2010

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Where I stayed
Holland Inn

Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, June 6, 2010

West Coast

 With a box of avocados & oranges in the boot & the warmth of new friendship in our hearts, we set off somewhat reluctantly from Carpinteria & headed up the coast. As soon as we could, we got off the 101 on to Highway 1, which hugs the coastline wherever possible, & sometimes when it seems impossible! 
Once again we were astounded at the dichotomy of the American landscape, here were highways, fruit trees, airforce bases and wilderness all thrown together. We even saw a rocket take off while we refrained from walking on the beach at Lompoc in the breeding season of the Snowy Plover. Again surprisingly, we saw mile after mile of pretty isolated beach surf with few surfers and fishermen to trouble the waters. Due to the angle at which the swell hits the coast, there tends to be good shape right-handers with the excellent addition of some classic right-hand point setups. These are the home of long board surfing and the older guys who ride the points like Rincon are very talented surfers in these kinds of waves. Their speciality move is the nose ride and I saw guys hang 5 and hang 10 for quite a few seconds. Some of the younger guys ride "Fish" boards because their boxy shape is super buoyant and they handle weak surf well, a bit like our old twin fins at Waterman's Bay. I really wanted to go surfing on the West Coast and I had the board and the car (Scot's Jeep) but never the opportunity to ride a Malibu. 
 On the injury front- there always seems to be one these days- I'm carrying a fairly sore knee courtesy of the Grand Canyon and it seems slow to heal. Maybe I'm too old to surf!

In Morro Bay, a small seaside town where Scott & Susan stayed for one wedding anniversary, we decided to try a 'cheap motel'.
  [We didn't book an ATC contact because we weren't sure where we'd stop for the night.This is the one drawback of the system, though as we've discovered, there are people who are happy to welcome random strangers at very short notice! Likewise in Monterey, our contact was sick, so we had to go for a motel again.] 
 It was definitely cheap - & that's about the best that can be said for it. The advertisement said sea views - this was from the carpark, with a chain link fence & freeway in between. The room was small, the sheets polyester & the decor an Indian's idea of English! There was a window which opened, but the curtains did not, so it felt very dark  & claustrophobic unless we had the door open - basically straight into the carpark. Ah that ATC has spoilt us completely! Still it had wifi & was only one night. Peter slept quite well. 
For tea we went down to the bay & walked along the harbour. The light was magical - the food was not.
Next morning we set off again along a coastline wreathed in fog. 
 In Cayucos, another small seaside town, we stopped & had 'Fog- Lifter Coffee' & watched the locals swimming. They seem convinced it is summer, whatever the weather! 
 The next place we stopped, on our supposedly straight-through run up the coast, was Cambria, a beautiful little town nestled in amongst the hills, like Bridgetown, but with better antique shops & a beach! There was a cookware shop, a quilt shops selling incredibly cheap quilts & a lovely looking B&B called Squib House. Needless to say this was my kind of town. I had almost talked Peter into staying the night, when we discovered Squib House was closed for the week. So we had a delicious lunch at Robin's & continued on.
Now we came to Big Sur.
I guess I've seen lots of photos of Big Sur, so I thought I knew what to expect, but it was more beautiful than I ever imagined.
It is also quite a hair-raising drive, with the road cut into the winding cliffs, frequent warnings (& obvious signs!) of rockfalls & a view that makes you gasp every few minutes. 
I've now seen both the back and the front view of Big Sur and it's just a great piece of geography with huge, interlocking hills which march straight towards the ocean. The coastline is full of bays and interesting features and they look great from 1000' up on a cliff-hanging narrow road. 
 The only difficulty we've had with driving is who's going to do it and who gets to take photos and call the stops. I'm quite a good safe driver but Dorothy's a reasonably good reckless driver. Together we manage the photos better than we do the driving, but both are going well, amazingly.

We spent the night at El Adobe in Monterey which was a step up on the Holland Inn in Morro Bay. Often times if you have the will and the leisure to look around you can find reasonable deals 'two streets back' and there was nothing wrong with the Adobe, no sir!
  The next morning we paid the toll tax to drive around Pebble Beach which is about as expensive bit of land as you'll find anywhere with houses ranging into the 50 million mark. A week after our visit the golf course hosted the 2010 US Open. It looked windy and hard with long narrow, wind-swept fairways and exposed greens. It'll be tough for the Tiger, but he's a tough
We went to Wholefoods ( a health-food supermarket chain, basically) before Pebble Beach, where I had a great time investigating all the gluten free options available & buying picnic supplies for the road. Then after the golf tour, we came out in Carmel, an awesome arty town of handmade houses & shops full of beautiful things. A prix fixe lunch was sort-of within the budget (haha) but worth every cent - maybe the first meal we've had that tasted like something you'd get at Vasse Felix. I had triple cheese polenta - scrumptious! I also bought a little picnic kit which has proved very useful.

Bears is on a food trip, but me, I'm into beer! I especially target beers local to the district. I've graduated from Corona to Sol; from Budweiser to Fat Tire; and , most recently, from Sierra Nevada to Lagunita. Californian wines are pretty good too. Today we tried an excellent Sav Blanc and bought it and a dessert wine which was just lovely. But tonight's Mexican and this dog is sticking to Lagunita!
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luc on

as always, stunning photos and funny tales :)
I'm surprised you let him call you a "reasonably good reckless driver" though Mum! Who was the last one to get a fine hey Dad?? haha ;)

vayacondios on

Dad to Luce: I do what I like!(It's a dad thing!)

Sal on

Oh for the Lotto life! Sounds fantastic - I vote when we do the sisters trip we stay at Squib House Doff!
We are living in Demo land - full on dust everywhere today , with a hole in the kitchen wall where the chimney used to be, and nothing left past the kitchen wall but dirt and depression! The pre paving stage of the paradise parking lot! I keep telling myself it will all be worth it. Jose doesn't believe it will be.
Still , its good to know you holiday guys are having such a great time - its a tough job, but someones got to do it! We at least had the privilege of hosting your lovely birthday girl for dinner, so there are compensations to the demo lifestyle!

vayacondios on

Yeah Sal, that is some compensation!
Definitely Cambria should be the location for one sisters trip, though the list of other possibilities gets longer & longer. We need that Lotto life win to pay for one trip a year for the foreseeable future to see all the places I've thought "Now the sisters would love THIS!" Pity none of us buy tickets!
Actually we have been SO blessed on this trip. Who needs Lotto when you've got God on your side?

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