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Pacific Coast Highway, Day Two

Up and out and off to Santa Barbara! After a very pleasant (and prepaid as part of the room) breakfast at the hotel we headed north on the 101 from Burbank, tooling along rolling hills, more rolling hills, and YET MORE ROLLING HILLS, with the windows open and chatting about this and that. A few hours into it, jetlag was starting to take its toll, so we pulled into Ventura for an unplanned Starbucks stop.

I gotta say, I liked Ventura. A lot. <3 Visually, it is almost exactly what I was picturing for Missing Keys, and it also reminded me of all the stuff I liked about Santa Cruz. But really, is was the stretch of 101 just north of Ventura that got me. I described it to laurie_robey as "My heart grew three sizes bigger." Sorta like, all that time I felt compelled to draw furries on the beach even though I never really liked going to the beach? It's because I've spent my whole life living near the wrong beaches. I can't explain it better than that; I just really liked it there.

We arrived at Santa Barbara and tooled around a bit. Due to considerable brainfartery on my part, I had in my head that the location for the Psych offices was one of the few bits in the show actually filmed in Santa Barbara (most being in British Columbia). Turns out I was wrong, and that location is ALSO in British Columbia, so the one big touristy thing I had in mind to do on the trip, we didn't get to do because I was not only in the wrong town but the whole wrong country.

I don't always make dumb mistakes, but when I do they're epic.

Anyway, in Santa Barbara we went over to Stearn's Wharf and just did touristy things. Lunch at Moby Dick, buying of t-shirts, and sitting there in the sun gazing out at the water. Eventually we got back in the car and continued off in the direction of San Luis Obispo.

Man, you thought there were rolling hills before? That stretch was a bloody roller coaster. Imagine the narrow twistiness of Skyline Drive combined with full-on freeway speeds. At one point Laurie asked me in a tremulous voice, "Would you slow down please?" To appreciate the significance of this, you should know that I am generally a pretty slow driver, and as it was I was getting a pileup of cars behind me because I was actually going at the speed limit. SAFE SPEED: 35. SPEED LIMIT: 65. MINIMUM SPEED OF ACTUAL TRAFFIC: 75.

Fortunately, we somehow managed to avoid shooting off down the side of a mountain and got back into fairly reasonable highway conditions, buzzing through Los Alamos and Santa Maria without even so much as raising a blip (which is apparently the best way to do anything involving those particular towns). However, being on the road for so long, after being in the plane so long, was really starting to take its toll on us and so, not being sure how much further it was to go, I decided to pull in to Pismo Beach for another Starbucks hit.

For the record: I liked Pismo Beach easily as much as I did Ventura, and it actually seemed more comfortable and friendly. It also enabled Looney Tunes references, and I appreciate that in any town. On the other hand, Ventura has a Barnes & Noble, while Pismo Beach doesn't.

On the other hand, Pismo Beach is actually ridiculously close to San Luis Obispo, which does have a Barnes & Noble, which partially mitigates that flaw. Unfortunately, our attempt to go to the San Luis Obispo was thwarted by the San Luis Obispo Farmer's Market and Trolley (?) which made every town in turn "No left turn!" when you can't get to B&N without making about fifty. We did manage to see the Barnes & Noble, but by that time we were exhausted, it was dark, and looking for parking was more than we could cope with.

In any case, San Luis Obispo seems like a cool little college town (although I actually have no idea if there's even a college here), and of course it's close to Pismo Beach which is a big plus. Our lodgings here are a nifty place called the Apple Farm Inn, which is exactly like you might expect it to be from the name. It's like if every grandma in the world got together and opened a bed and breakfast with a pancake house on the side. Very country, very cutesy, very kitsch, and with lots of candles and jars of preserves on sale in the little shop. I figured it was only appropriate to have AppleJack take a bunch of selfies around the place, which you can see here: @mlp_AppleJack. (NOTE: Link is current as of this posting... when AJ posts again, the selfies will start to get lost unless somebody wants to Storify the thread for me.)

We are now just sorta zoning out in our countrified little room, and sleep will probably be a thing soon. In the morning we have to decide between the coast road (which will take 5 hours) or the land road (which will take 3) to Santa Cruz. While there we hope to see sirfox, Ryan and Candy, and anyone else in that neighborhood who reads this thing and would like to visit. ;)

Then Saturday is Bay Area and Andy's, and Sunday is the flight home back to northern Virginia.

Phew! *falls over* G'nite world, and have an awesome tomorrow!

-The Gneech



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 12th, 2016 04:17 am (UTC)

The no left turn bit sounds a lot like a Michigan left.

Feb. 12th, 2016 08:21 am (UTC)
Coast road! Coast road!

I'm loving this so far.
Feb. 12th, 2016 02:08 pm (UTC)
Hee hee...sorry, just as a So Cal resident, it's funny to hear you talk in amazement about things like lots of hills and lack of speed limit compliance. XD

San Luis Obispo is DEFINITELY a college town, Cal Poly is ~20K students. Dunno if that's a good or bad thing to you?

Pismo's lovely. Sounds like fun all around! If it weren't usually such a tight schedule for FC it'd be nice to duplicate this kind of route...
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 13th, 2016 01:33 am (UTC)
Well we're aiming for dinner at Andy's in Santa Clara tomorrow night around 6:00ish... I'll let you use your discretion whether you want to be there or not. But we're always happy to see you!

Feb. 13th, 2016 05:39 am (UTC)
Welcome to the Central Coast! I live in Arroyo Grande which you just passed through. Couple words of wisedom, San Luis Obispo or SLo (slow)has two colleges CalPoly and Questa College. Also if you are planing on taking the 1 northbound plan on in the area of at least 6 hours for your trip. What you drove coming up the 101 from Santa Barbara to Santa Maria is NOTHING compared to that stretch of the 1. Single lane traffic after San Simeon, check out Hurst Castle if you have a few minutes, even just the visitor center is worth the stop and your jaw will drop. But seriously the road can be scary, shear cliff and no where to go. It's breath taking but go slow and be careful on it. Also before you leave town if you haven not done so yet, check out the Madonna Inn, you would have passed it on the 101. There is lots to see there, the style is kinda black forest fairy tail meets 70's movie production and the pink champagne cake is super yummy. Morro Bay is great for the boats and the embarcadero for cute shops and good food, Cayucos is the epic sleepy little surfing town of your dreams and Cambria is a sleepy little artist dream. Take time and poke around your won't be disappointed. :)
Feb. 13th, 2016 07:37 am (UTC)
Cayocos and Cambria sound like places worth checking out, but alas I think we may have reached the end of what we can do on this trip. Maybe next time!

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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