I cannot capture the California Central Coast in words. I can’t even capture it in photos. I can share only little tiny pieces: waves, flowers, and sunsets. Sea lions and otters. Food. Oh, the food!
Majestic. Awe-inspiring. Comical and whimsical. Views that captured me so completely I couldn’t move. Traffic that terrified me enough that I had to hand over the keys. I live in a town of 800 and was unprepared for LA freeways.
Elle and I drove straight through to California on day one and stayed two nights in a northern suburb of LA, heading into the city on day two. I didn’t drive, of course. Elle and her mother wanted to hit the garment district, shopping for fabrics and checking out fashions. I chose to do what I do well: visit a coffeehouse. I chose one that specialized in French pastries.
We also got caught in traffic.
When the others finished shopping, we ate some fine, fine food at a little hole-in-the wall. We had sandwiches on fresh, crusty baguette. I had tuna salad, and it was the best tuna salad—and maybe the best sandwich—I’ve ever had, the secret recipe handed down to the cook from his Cuban mother.
The following day Elle and I headed north, stopping at a coffeehouse in Santa Barbara and visiting Old Santa Barbara Mission, built in 1786. Our visit to the coffeehouse had my sister dub our visit the California Coffeehouse and Pastry Tour. She was not wrong. We hit a coffeehouse every morning and a few afternoons, often supplementing our caffeine with baked goods.
In Santa Barbara I also saw my favorite hedge and gate.
Slowly, slowly up the coast, visiting Guadalupe and its cemetery.
In Pismo Beach we stopped to see monarch butterflies but could see them only from a distance. Next, late lunch on the pier.
Further north to have some beach time near San Luis Obispo. Then on to San Simeon where we saw the Hearst Castle from afar and elephant seals from a lookout point. We spent the night in San Simeon.
The next day, day four, we headed north again, stopping in Ragged Beach for, yes, coffee. And a killer breakfast with a fabulous view from the patio.
On up to Gorda which is the southern end of Big Sur country.
About five miles further on at Sand Dollar Beach, the road was closed due to the major slides that happened during the rains last month.
More beach time, a visit with friends, then back south and east to Highway 101 where we headed north to Salinas then west to Monterey for the next three nights.
Day five. A lovely coffeehouse in Monterey, then south.
We splurged and paid to take 17-Mile Drive along the coast. Views, views, and more views!
We had breakfast at the famous lodge at Pebble Beach where we split a breakfast of eggs, potatoes and and Kobe beef—the best, most tender beef I’ve had in my life.
Further south through the village of a Big Sur and finally to the the northern road closure.
Back slowly north to Monterey and our motel.
On day six we stayed around Monterey and Carmel, visiting Cannery Row and other local sights, battling mobs of tourists for parking and walking space and viewpoints.
Day seven we had a heavy breakfast on a pier and a visit with a group of sea lions. A group is a herd, a harem, a rookery, or a bob. I rather like rookery.
Then down 101, west to coastal Highway 1, with more beautiful scenery and then traffic jams as we neared Los Angeles
After a final night outside of LA, we drove through morning rush hour, which was about as awful as you can imagine. Then across the desert, into clouds, drizzle, and into Tucson’s afternoon rush hour. It was a long, nearly thirteen-hour day before we got home.
The beauty was spectacular. I was completely enchanted by the waves, their constant crashing as they slowly erode the cliffs. About five or six times daily I’d exclaim, “The waves! My god, look at those waves!”
I must return for a more leisurely trip. More time with sea lions and sunsets and waves. Especially the waves.
What a wonderful trip!! I loved the photographs and the coffee shops descriptions.
Thanks! I’m getting ready for a really big trip. I’m pulling the seats out of my car and building in a bed and storage. Then I’m going to drive for months and camp in my car.
As a trapped-feeling inmate of a senior rsidence, this was a trip for me! I can smell and taste and hear the feel all the senuous treats you share! Above all, the sights! My son used to live in Morro Bay so I’ve done this route a lot. Thanks you!
Emilie, I too prefer a rookery of seals. Sounds like a busy card game of a bunch of sealions playing chess. Certainly imaginative and metaphorical for the likes of us!
What a delightful journey you shared with us, photos and captions, and considering the LA and SoCal congested roads and freeways, I’m glad you guys are back in Naco safe and sound!
PS- You take outta sight photos!
Thanks! I’m really working on photography- with my iphone!
Inspiring! Makes me want to pick up pen and camera and begin wandering the earth! As I cannot at the moment, thanks for doing it for me!
I’ll try to do a good job for you, Mary.
What a fantastic trip!!!! Such beautiful photos- aaaaaaaah such beautiful sites!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this!!! ❤️❤️❤️ I love you!!!!
So glad you liked it. It was SO BEAUTIFUL!
My wife was born and raised in Bakersfield. You were in her old stomping ground. I love the Monterrey aquarium. I’m up for a coffee and pastry tour!
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