coast cruisin'

So, the plan for our little Northern California vacation was to drive up to San Fran as quickly as possible (the 5-N// 5 hours), with not much to look at, and then to drive home at our leisure (the 1//8 hours) with spectacular scenery.  It was a good plan.

We headed out Monday morning (a little later than planned, hey, we're on vacation right??) and went westward to the coast.  First off, let it be known that this trip was a little half baked.  We had San Fran all mapped out, and then the general idea was to hit the 1 and cruise along the coast, stopping where it was pretty and getting a hotel in San Luis Obispo on Monday night.  That was the whole plan.  I'm normally not one to fly by the seat of my pants quite this much.  I like to have a little more structure, but we decided to just wing it.  And that wasn't all that bad of an idea.

Our first stop was at Pebble Beach per request of the golf loving boy in the driver's seat.  We quickly learned that to even get close to the resort you have to take a (very scenic and lovely) roll down the 17 Mile Road...which costs $9.75.  Although perturbed (a drive and some pretty views is normally f-r-e-e), we finally decided to do it, and honestly it didn't disappoint.  We drove along the mansions they call houses, saw a  few other links courses (Dave was giddy), the ocean was lovely as ever, and sea lions were aplenty.  But the pièce de résistance was definitely getting to Pebble Beach's lodge and seeing the 18th hole.  Dave was like a little kid jumping around and pointing and laughing as we watched a party play the last hole.

In accordance with our lack of planning I didn't think for one minute it would be cold as we drove down the coast.  Oh, I brought my tweed little blazer to match the outfit I wore in San Fran - I knew it would be cold there - but that's the only jacket I had with me!  And guess what?  It was chilly cheeseburgers out.   So no wise cracks about the mismatch-ness.  It is best to be warm.

We then started southward.  We picked our way through the cutest Carmel and then hit Big Sur.  And holey freakin' moley.  Big Sur is GORGEOUS.  We had no idea.  I mean, I knew it would be pretty coastline, and the ocean is always lovely, but Big Sur is surely something else.  We had the best time and we decided we could drive forever if the ocean is off the left shoulder.  Just point me in the right direction.
P.S. I love the iPhone's panorama pictures - they made it so much easier to capture this huge scenery.  Picture overload coming atcha.

We got stuck in a small spot of traffic in that last picture...not a bad place to be stuck I think.

We ended up grabbing lunch (dinner?) at a most darling restaurant on one of Big Sur's lovely cliff sides: Nepenthe.  I mean, that view?  Ridiculous.  And I couldn't resist the little phone booth either.

After noshing we hit the road again, enjoyed some spectacular views, watched the sky turn into cotton candy, and said hello to some elephant seals.  It was a full day.

The next day we rose bright and early(ish) and had breakfast at the most darling little coffee house.  Despite the cloud cover in Pismo Beach that morning we still opted to eat our scrumptious breakfast croissants and lemon scones on the patio.  The owner of the shop was sure we were a little Swiss couple who had come through the day before - it must have been my milkmaid braids.

Our first stop of the day was the classiest landmark in San Louis Obispo: bubblegum alley.  I've always kinda wanted to see it.  And guess what?  It's disgusting.  But San Lois is a pretty darling little town, and that made up for it.


Next on the list was Solvang, the cutest little Danish town you ever did see right smack dab in the middle of California.  Disneyland-ish vibes abounded, and my milkmaid braids felt right at home.  Plus we ate Danish pancakes for lunch.  Totes appropes & delish.

It was jolly time, and just so stinkin' charming.  By this time (as you can tell from Dave's eyes above), we were pretty bushed.  We snaked our way down through Santa Barbra and Ventura, and then made the rest of the trek inland towards home where our heads and our pillows couldn't come in contact any faster (after catching up on Project Runway of course).

It was a great trip and we're so glad we got to explore our own backyard for a few days this summer.   Turns out California is a lovely place, but we already knew that.

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