Pete and I have been plannng a roadtrip for sometime now. That roadtrip finally happened from Wednesday July 26th to Sunday July 30th, up Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1 or PCH. We wanted to spend some time together before he leaves for the school year, and to simply enjoy California without over-planning the trip.
Our first day on the road was a half day since I had class =/ We left Newport Beach around 2pm and drove through pretty slow traffic up to Santa Monica where we spent our first night.
We had gone there on a day trip earlier this summer and had a great time, so it seemed appropriate for the first stop this time as well. After finding lodging at the Hotel Carmel (discounted due to a power outage that took out the A.C. and the elevator) we had a lovely dinner at Il Fornaio, an Italian restaurant chain.
After getting cleaned up, we walked down to the pier to enjoy the sunset and sea breeze. We walked along the Third Street Promenade after dark, and got a real feel for the sights, sounds and culture of Santa Monica. (including a minor run-in with one of the resident homeless individuals) Thursday morning we got up early and had muffins and coffee at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on the corner before leaving for Northern California.
We made great time heading up the coast, passing through Santa Barbara with almost no traffic, and stopping for lunch at the Madonna Inn in San Louis Obispo county. For those of you who have never been, check out their website, it's a pretty rediculous hotel, to give you an idea of the kitch and craziness, the men's urinal is a fountain, and yes I did peek in and see it, haha.
We continued up the very long, very gorgeous, and very windy highway 1 towards Big Sur.
It was slightly cloudy but with enough sun that everything still had color and the views were lovely. When we finally arrived at Andrew Molera State Park, we wasted no time splashing into the Big Sur river for a short and relaxing hike up the center. I found a saytr butterfly, I have yet to I.D. a life family for me!
Then it was into Pacific Grove in Monterey to find a place to stay for the night and to eat. Our hotel is on Lighthouse street, aptly named The Lighthouse Lodge. When we pulled up to check out the hotel we saw a family of deer browsing on grass in the fog in the field next door, pretty awesome. Dinner was at a delicious restaurant called Hula's. Pete had chicken, and I had some deliciously prepared fish, we split a basket of sweet potato fries and moaned the whole way home with overstuffed bellies. =)