Day 17, 18 & 19 - Big Sur, San Simeon, SLO

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August 21st 2006
Published: August 21st 2006
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Day 17, 18, & 19

After a restful night in Salina, we once again headed south on Route 1. Soon we were rounding the many curves in the road as it follows the 90 mile stretch of coastline that is known as Big Sur. The day started out cloudy and foggy as is often the case in this area. By the time we had arrived at the Bixby Bridge, we could see some hints of blue over the mountains and were hopeful that the sky would soon clear.

When we arrived at Andrew Molera State Park, the skies were perfectly clear and the weather had become quite pleasant. The beach was at the end of a one mile trail through meadows of wildflowers. Upon arriving on the beach we were treated to an unspoiled shoreline that full of driftwood, seaweed, and even a large (and quite smelly) beached whale!! The one mile hike must have deterred the crowds as the beach was sparsely populated. We spent a few hours enjoying the relatively empty beach then headed back to our car.

Next we headed for Pfeiffer Beach. This beach is somewhat difficult to find as there are no signs on Route 1 to indicate its entrance. Once you find the right road (the only unmarked and un-gated paved road in the area) you follow a narrow and winding two mile road to the beach. The beach itself is very picturesque with large rock formations that have arches through which waves crash through. It is protected by large bluffs. One section of the beach where the water squeezed between a bluff and a large rock attracted a couple of surfers which provided entertainment in the late afternoon sun. We lounged for a bit before leaving in anticipation of the sun falling and the road becoming difficult to navigate in the dark.

We arrived in San Simeon late evening and checked into our hotel. We ended up staying here for two nights to allow time for us to rest, do laundry, and also to explore nearby Cambria. That evening we shared a bottle of California Red on the beach with an assortment of cheese, bread, fruit, and nuts from a local wine and cheese shop followed by a seafood dinner. Aaron had oysters that were easily 4 times the size of any other oyster he had ever had!! They were bigger than his head!

Sunday morning we decided to make a detour inland on 46 West into Paso Robles wine country. We stopped at a few wineries, sampled their wares, and bought our favorite bottle at each stop. We then headed to Morro Bay for a late lunch. Aaron had a big plate of fish and chips and Johanna had fish tacos. Aaron won at lunch because his was much better than Johanna’s, but he ended up losing because he had to share!

We spent the afternoon on Pismo Beach. The sun was warm but the air was cool like an early spring day. It was too cold for Johanna who quickly retreated to the car. Aaron stayed for a bit reading and watching the flocks of pelicans on the beach before ultimately leaving after being sand blasted in the windy weather.

We checked into our hotel in San Luis Obispo for the evening then took a walk downtown to look for a good dinner spot. We were lured into a Mexican restaurant where we got burritos that were the size of the beached whale we saw the day before! With full tummies we headed back to the hotel to turn in for the evening.

Tomorrow we plan to chew up most if not the rest of the road between here and our final destination in California: Long Beach. This will afford us a bit of downtime at the end of the trip to pack for our flight home and hopefully relax a bit as well. We are looking forward to returning home and being able to catch up with friends and family again. Of course we are also looking forward to Johanna's graduation!

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21st August 2006

How many of us at one time or another fantasized about "just taking off" on a cross country trip. So now we know what we missed and have been able to live it vicariously. Thanks for including us in it -- it's been a good show. (It's also somewhat reassuring to know that you won't be entirely unhappy to be coming home.) Safe trip home you two.

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