This blog title is dedicated to my brother Jordan, who's likeness appears below. He has affectionately been the recipient of many nicknames on this trip, namely "Q", "Pure Awesomeness", "The Third Wheel", and now "The Big Sir" being a few favorites.]
Day 27 did end with the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, which is not actually a boardwalk, but a pier. We walked around, took photos, laid on the beach, went to a small place called the "Falafal Hut" for dinner. (Falafal is my new obsession. If it's anywhere nearby I have to have some or I can't stop thinking about it. Dangerous stuff.)
Day 28 We packed up camp at our site in Manresa Campground and drove into a huge tourist trap Capitola. We set up shop in Mr. Toots (best. coffee. ever) and Kurt worked on his laptop and I plotted out our Southern California journey. Then before we headed down to an inn in Monterey we stopped at Marianne's, a famous ice cream place that was around when my Mom was a kid. I had never been, so I tried the Black Licorice ice cream my mom has told me all about for as long as me and my siblings can remember. It WAS pretty good.
We stopped at a fruit stand on our way to Monterey, then went to the Wharf, tried sample after sample of free clam chowder, bought taffy, drove the 17-mile-drive, and checked into our motel, exhausted.
Day 29 Before leaving the hotel we made sure to get decent coffee into our systems. So I found this place. Then we drove to the Andrew Molera campground along highway 1 where we stayed for two nights. Possibly the most beautiful drive I've ever taken, and yes, the water really IS that blue. You have to see it for yourself some day. We had to hike our packs in one quarter mile at the Andrew Molera camp, not bad at all. Then we got the best campsite, #17. We tucked our tent back in the bushes beneath a wide, low tree. Walked to the beach, climbed rocks, explored the beautiful, heartbreaking views.
Day 30 Put a hike under our belt and tackled a 1.7 mile hike along the bluffs of the Big Sur. Found a purple sand beach, watched the boys build a sweet sand castle, and successfully stayed out of poison oak. Then drove to Point Lobos, saw incredible waves, beaches, seals, otters, and some crazy looking moss.
Day 31 Left Andrew Molera campground early, didn't know where, really, we were going to stay that night. We knew we had to get south and begin heading towards San Diego, but the San Simeon campground was full, Gaviota campground was too far, and all the hotels in San Simeon were WAY too expensive. We started noticing campgrounds along Highway 1 as we drove, and around the time we decided we start stopping and checking for availability, we passed a campground called Limekiln, which I had seen but didn't think it was far enough down the highway. But they had one availability left, AND they had showers. So it was at Limekiln we stayed. Our camping spot was preceded by a quick viewing of McWay Falls, and I'm pretty sure I saw a few mermaids out there. Later we took a hike, and finally shrunk our Levi jeans. In a waterfall. No big deal.
Day 32 It was weird spending the night below a freeway, even if it was Highway 1 and we had a sweet beach view. We woke around 6:30 (which is about the time the sun starts seeping through the tent too much to be ignored) and packed up and headed to Hearst Castle. Which was awesome. It's easy to picture yourself as one of Willy Hearst's honored guests of the 1930's when you're surrounded by priceless antiques and gawking at 14th century Spanish ceiling after 14th century Spanish ceiling. Personally, the last time I was there my favorite part was the indoor gilded pool but this time I really fell in love with the sitting room - the decadent opulence everywhere is overwhelming, from the incredible antique suspended ceiling (fitting it to the room was not an easy task for the architect!) to the rich 17th century tapestries to the casual, gorgeous, meticulous statues dotting the atmosphere like pepper.
After Hearst we went to Pismo beach. But sometimes you're too busy talking and having a good time to take any pictures. So I might have forgotten.
Spent the night in Gaviota campground. Not recommended. There's a reason it gets 2.5 stars out of 5. But we had Russian neighbors who had fresh shark meat and wine. We spent the night by their fire pit.
Day 33 San Diego bound! Stopped in Solvang for a little history (and much-needed coffee) and continued south. Went exploring on crab-filled, clam-encrusted La Jolla coast. Arrived late at my dear old friend's house in San Diego and slept well after a good shower.
Day 34 On Tuesday we spent a good amount of time in Starbucks for work and for editing. I managed to get in a quick visit to Mission Valley Mall to stock up on some important things.... like, you know, Nars foundation and Tarte mascara. The essentials. You know. I enjoyed catching up at a quirky corner coffee shop with my friend and then our trio spent the evening on Mission Beach.
Day 35 Yesterday we tried to learn how to surf. I guess the older you are the harder it is... because the only person who got up was my brother. But we met more friends and ate ridiculously fat sandwiches in La Jolla at The Cheese Shop and had the most scrumptious, sticky oatmeal cookies.
Then we drove to Coronado and napped in the park for an hour, went to the Hotel, I had to go into the rich old bar and order a cognac like a 1920s gentleman, then we went to the beach, and found my old friend and we ate at Miguels. SO MUCH FOOD. Walked around to digest a little. Found the Mootime Creamery (nostalgia!) and walked around more and crashed on the couch later.
Day 36 Today? I'm spending the day blogging, shopping for our Grand Canyon trip, and the rest of it goes to my Austin man.