Baggage: Only Good For Vacation, Part 2 of 3
If I were any good at writing poetry, I'd write a poem about California.
It wouldn't encapsulate this majestic place with sentiment. It'd just explain, with reverence but using something more accurate and less definitive than words, just how ethereal and sweeping the coast is.
Since I fail to explain it in a way that satisfies me, perhaps these photos will tell the story about the Summer of 2015 when I drove up Pacific Coast Highway 1.
8 days │ l.a. to San Fran │ just me │ bring it
DAY 1 - saturday
My 10:30 a.m. flight from Houston was delayed by two hours. Nothing a breakfast burrito and a nap can't solve.
As soon as the cabin doors opened to warm California air, I was off on my adventure.
I spent the first day exploring--searching for a trail in Griffith Park that I wanted to hike. As a Park Ranger (whose son lives in Texas) explained, it was 3 miles away, dusk was settling and the trails "look a lot different at night." Then there was something about snakes and wildlife, so that settled it--I'd go hiking the next day and opted for dinner at a Farmer's Market instead.
So engrossed in what I was doing, I forgot to take photos on Day 1. I did; however, manage to take a snap of my hotel's decor.
There are two things I don't like to do following a vacation: 1) be tired and 2) be broke. Strict budgets can take you to sketchy places, but the hotel was neat, clean, safe, and I was gone for most of the day anyways.
DAY 2 - sunday
From morning to night, I moved non-stop.
DAY 3 - monday
LOS ANGELES to solvang
Eat. Relax. Workout. Drive.
I'd planned to eat well, have a spa day, workout with Natalie Yco, then leave L.A.
Funny how things tie together. I discovered Natalie in January 2015 on YouTube channel GymRa when I started working out regularly again. GymRa is filmed mostly (if not entirely) in California, with instructors performing their workouts outside--in front of the Pacific Ocean or somewhere in the hills. It's gorgeous!
Seeing the Pacific as the backdrop in a number of videos renewed my interest in the coast and I decided on California for my next vacation.
Since I knew Natalie was based in Cali and instructed a few classes at Equinox, I wanted in! Along with 30 - 40 other regulars, I did 3 classes with her: Booty, Kick Boxing, and Abs. She KILLED me. But since I survived, I was feeling really cocky...like a gangster...who, after class, goes to the cafe next door to get an expensive cinnamon crunch smoothie. But seriously, this is in my top 3 of best workouts EVER.
DAY 4 - tuesday
SOLVANG to carmel-by-the-sea
Solvang is where people in L.A. go to get away, is what I'm told. Now that I've been, I understand why.
I arrived at the outskirts of Solvang late. There aren't a lot of street lights. Plus, it was misting rain, so I couldn't see the town ahead. I had to trust my GPS.
All dark a minute before, the road opened up to quaint buildings adorned with white twinkling lights and empty streets softly illuminated by lanterns. It's the kind of thing you see in movies about magical villages. After a stressful night-drive around mountains, I couldn't imagine a better place for me to tuck in for the night.
I savored breakfast, circled the village by foot in 30 minutes, then hit the road for 2 hours of driving to visit William Hearst's castle in San Simeon. It's astonishing what gazillions of dollars can do.
Following the castle visit, I was on the road again for another 2 hours. The land was so beautiful that I didn't want music to distract my attention, so for most of the journey, the radio was off.
After "California Love" playing incessantly in my head for days straight, I'm not embarrassed to admit that when I did listen to the radio, I listened to retro roadtrip music for a change of pace. Ok, maybe I feel a little dorky, but Steely Dan...not hating it!
By the time I arrived to Carmel, I was tired (mostly from fear of driving off a cliff) and hungry. I settled into my room before venturing out into the chilly night air to get something warm to eat. I wound up at a neighborhood spot where I had soup and salad, a pairing I've been hopelessly addicted to my whole adult life. The name of the restaurant evades my memory, but I remember their homemade ranch dressing. Delicious!
Since my only plan in Carmel was to relax, I went back to my AirBnB home, took a hot shower, opened the window for cold air, and curled up with a book, "Everyday Grace" by Marianne Williamson.
The next day was as un-hectic as can be imagined. My goals: find a beach and a good place to eat.
This Thursday, Baggage: Only Good For Vacation Finale.
Photo credit: The Tended Garden