California Coast Vacations
One of the things I enjoy the most about living on the West Coast are my California Coast vacations. I have to admit it. Despite all the traffic and the problems, I love living in California. And one of the things I enjoy most is the opportunity to take off for either a weekend or a full vacation and drive Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) up the California coastline, weaving around the windy road, stopping at little restaurants to enjoy a meal of buttermilk pancakes or a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a croissant.
The first of my California coast vacations was during a break from college. My husband and I didn't have much money so couldn't fly anywhere on spring break, so we tossed a swimsuit, towel, sweatshirt, a couple of pair of jeans and a sleeping bag into our old car, filled the tank with gas and hit the highway.
Driving up PCH, we popped a Don Henley CD into the player (yeah, I know it's predictable) and stopped at the Ralph's Market in Pacific Palisades for some munchies then took off. We actually had no real destination or plan, except to enjoy ourselves...and for 4 glorious days, we did. We started our California coast vacation in Santa Monica, stopping along the way to gaze at the windsurfers in Malibu then continued to Santa Barbara.
We loaded the meter with coins - enough for a couple of hours then hiked to the pier where we took in the salty fishy smell and ate a delicious lunch of fish tacos and chips from a nearby restaurant the raced back to the car with barely enough time to avoid a ticket, continued the drive north, stopping in the tiny town of Cambria buying a little souvenir of a dolphin at "The Soldier Factory."
As the sun began to fade and darkness descended, my husband and I suddenly realized that spending the night in our cramped car might not be such a great idea so we asked a local about a bed and breakfast and were guided to a wonderful little place called the Dreydon House B&B. We were surprised at not only how affordable but also the hospitality as we were shown our lovely little room.
Although we had originally decided to keep driving, we awoke so refreshed that decided to spend the rest of our California Coast vacation in Cambria. We spent our time exploring the area, walking to the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve where we played in the tide pools, watched red-tailed hawks soaring and even got to see the unforgettable sight of migrating whales spouting.
Finally, we even visited the "ultimate" tourist destination: Hearst Castle, where we (and the rest of the tourists) marveled at the Neptune Pool, the gardens, the gilded rooms then whispered to each other that our tiny apartment was much nicer.
The forth day we packed up and slowly wound our way back to Los Angeles and that final push before finishing college. This was the first of many many California Coast vacations that we've taken over the years, however it's one that we will never, ever forget.