Friday, July 17, 2009

Back in California

After writing about how well we were getting this camping thing down, we awoke on Saturday to rain.  Suddenly packing up camp became a wet mess and everything became more difficult.  However, we were able to manage and were soon on the road.  The drive was pleasant, but long and we eventually found ourselves in a world far different from the campsites we had been staying in the past few days: Las Vegas.

Our stay in Las Vegas was a certainly a contrast to where we had been and required some adjustment.  It was nice to get out of the heat of the desert into an air conditioned hotel and the room was very comfortable, but there were a ton of people and distractions everywhere.  That night we met with my friend Billy and his fiancee Alyson for dinner at a sushi place.  From there we had to rush to make our Cirque du Soleil show at the Bellagio, "O".  We made it just in time and got to enjoy a great show.  With a lot of trapeze and gymnastic acts over an ever changing stage of water it was truly an amazing show.

Sunday found us finally driving into California.  The traffic was just as I remembered it, though maybe not as bad as I was expecting on a Sunday afternoon from Vegas.  I showed Erin where I had lived in Dana Point and we had a delicious Thai meal.  By the time we got into camp and got the tent set up it was already dark though so we called it a night and went to bed.

On Monday we had to get up early to make it to the ferry that would take us out to Catalina Island.  The hour ride was nice and we even got to see a pod of dolphins riding the waves left in the wake of the ferry.  Catalina and the city of Avalon where we landed is very picturesque and we soon found our way to our campground and set up.  The rest of the day was spent laying down on the beach, taking a sea kayak to a nearby cove where we found a seal, and wandering around the town.  We finished the day at the town's beautiful theater where we watched a new movie.  It was very classy with a painted, dome ceiling and comfortable seats.

On Tuesday we had our morning on the island and so decided to take a tour on a semi-submersible vessel to one of the island's coves.  While the pamphlet seemed to over-promise just a bit, we did get to see several fish in their underwater habitat.  Soon enough it was time to head back to the mainland where we started up to Santa Barbara.  We stopped at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Santa Monica on the 3rd Street Promenade as we watched the many people walk by.  When we arrived at our bed and breakfast we were exhausted and happy for a real bed and sheets.

Wednesday morning we were able to get up at a leisurely pace, enjoy breakfast, and try to catch up on work and emails.  We found a nice place to have lunch in downtown Santa Barbara before heading out to wine country.  Looking for some of the places in the movie "Sideways", we stopped at two wineries for tastings.  While the wine didn't seem particularly special to me for their price, we did end up getting a bottle and some peaches before heading into the very Danish town of Solvang.  We ended up at our campsite in Pismo, had a basic dinner, and went to bed.

Thursday gave us a more relaxing day as we got up and took a walk down on the beach.  We found several sand dollars and sea shells while Erin frolicked in the surf.  It was also great to see seals off the coast while pelicans dived into the water.  Surely a sign of a school of fish.  We got our own fresh fish up the coast at Avila beach while whatching more seals sun themselves and prowl for the fish that fishermen were trying to catch.  For lunch we stopped at a place in Morro Bay that my parents had told us about, "The Whale's Tail."  We had a delicious and filling stuffed squid before driving up the coast some more to Hearst Castle.  The castle sat on beautiful grounds while opulently furnished inside.  We finished our tour of the grounds with a video about William Randolf Hearst.  Finally, it was back to camp for a fire, dinner, and warm sleeping bags to keep out the cold that seemed so at odds with what one would expect in California.

Today we're going to enjoy the coast some more as we make our way up to Big Sur.  With all that we've done it's hard to imagine that we're only halfway through our trip.  Hopefully I'll be able to keep up the blog with all that we're doing a little more frequently.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an awesome trip! [posted by: Francine]