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