Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Life is a Highway (1)

Day 4!! Forrest woke me up bright and early to hit the road! The plan for the day was to drive north on Highway 1 and spend the night in San Luis Obispo. During the day, we planned to simple see what we could see! First, we traded in our Optima for a 2 door Jeep Wrangler. I thought that would be more "California" and better for our long drive. Well, it would have been, had it not been freezing! I packed sundresses for the trip, but I really should have brought pants and cardigans. I should have checked the weather I guess, but I kept thinking "It's California, it's hot!" We did have some bad luck in the weather department, I think, because usually it is supposed to be nice! Anyway, if you see any pics of me wearing a dress with jeans under it, that is why!

Our first stop was Venice Beach. I was so excited to see this place, first, because they talked about it in I Love You Man, one of my favorite recent comedies ("Slappin da bass!") and because my sister went there while she was in CA for the National Championship game (#1 reason the game is a sore subject to me!) and said it was totally weird and wild and that I had to go. When we got there, it was totally sketch. It was early so many things weren't opened and not many people were out. We were scared to leave the car because it has a canvas top and velcro windows. I definitely did not think the Jeep through! We did manage to get brave and head out to see the boardwalk. On the way, we passed a couple and all of a sudden the woman threw her phone to the ground, which smashed it, and she screamed "YOU MADE ME BREAK MY PHONE!!" Welcome to Venice Beach, Bailey's! We scurried away from them and found the boardwalk, most of which was closed. There was also a large group of people loitering around looking sinister at 10am, so we snapped a pic and headed out of there. Not exactly an epic fail, but it was not what I wanted my Venice experience to be!

Next we hit the Santa Monica Pier, which is apparantly the end of Route 66! It was still cold and windy and overcast, but people were laying out and there were even some surfers. I guess no one told them it was cold!

You may recognize the pier from Private Practice or other shows based in LA because they often show overhead shots of it. You'd recognize it from the ferris wheel. This is how I knew what it was, therefore, I HAD to ride the ferris wheel. It wasn't opened so we played some arcade games first. Again we were running around like kids, playing ski ball and other childhood amusement games. With our tickets, I got a purple sparkly foot ring and Forrest got an American flag pen. Really.

Finally, it was time to ride! We jumped in the bucket and instantly I knew I had made a mistake. It started swaying in the wind, and I am NO fan of heights! I stayed hunkered down most of the time, although I occassionally took a few peeks. The view was pretty nice, if I didn't look down!!

On the pier was a map of stars homes, some of which were in Malibu, our next stop! We took pics of their addresses and plugged them into my gps (which we brought from home and I'm glad we did because it saved us a ton of money) and we were on the road again! We saw Adam Sandler's house, as well as Courtney Cox and David Arquette's, John Cusak's, Anthony Hopkins', and Julia Roberts'. This is Julia's. She tore down the 6+ million existing home to build this one.

After our "tour" we stopped at Geoffrey's, a coast side restaurant. The view was very nice but the food was just so-so.

We were a little aggravated that we paid so much for food that wasn't near as good as what we had at Disney! (seriously-it was just bland and boring) Maybe we ordered the wrong thing, but who knows. We were irriated about this until we found a Walgreens in Ventura or Oxnard (not sure which one!) and stocked up on delicious but cheap snacks to hold us over. It's the little things in life, like sour gummi worms, right?? :) While there, we saw a group protesting Walgreens! Why, I'm not sure, but it was interesting.
We then made our way to Santa Barbara. It is a beautiful town with lots of neat shops and restaurants. We got there in time to visit the Mission, one of the many you will find in California.

The church inside was beautiful and so was the view from the outside. We also took a scenic drive that allowed us to see the whole town all the way to the coast!

Forrest tried to take the top down on the Jeep but it was a tad more difficult than we imagined, plus, it was still freezing and while I tried to be a trooper, I just couldn't handle it!
We detoured off of Highway 1 and headed to Los Olivos, where MJ's Neverland is! We figured that MJ had ended up being such a common occurrence in our trip already, we may as well see it! Plus, Reggie, from the plane, told us it was a great drive, so we thought, what the heck. On the way we were surprised by the amazing scenery! We left the beach and were driving up and down beautiful moutains and valleys. Our favorite place was at Cachuma lake, one of the most magnificent places I have ever seen! The sun came out just in time for us to see this amazing lake and its beautiful surroundings. It was so interesting to think that we were at a beach just a few miles ago, and next thing we know, we are in the mountains at a gorgeous lake! California really has it all!

We stopped at several "Vista Points" along the way before making it to Neverland. All we could see was the gate, but it was really neat, actually.

People had written messaged on the stone wall holding the gate and there were still some flowers scattered about. We weren't even the only ones there--several others made the pilgrimage to see Neverland as well! We drove through the adorable ton of Los Olivos, population 700, or something like that. It is basically all restaurants, spas, boutiques, and wine tasting places. I could totally handle it there! Unfortunately, we had no time to spare!

Our next stop, also suggested to us by Reggie, was Solvang, a quaint Dutch ton smack down in the middle of California! Seriously, there are windmills and everything!

Most things were closed but again, it was a charming town of boutiques, restaurants, wine bars, and even a Hans Christian Anderson museum! We bought ourselves a Christmas ornament and Forrest got a $3 shirt to mark our trip to Neverland (haha) and we were back on the road again! We never would have stopped at either of these places if it wasn't for Reggie, so I'm so glad that we listened to him!

Next we went to Pismo Beach. All I knew about this place was that in Clueless, Cher leads the Pismo Beach disaster relief effort. When we got there we tried to find somewhere to rent dune buggies because they have huge dunes and you can jump them in these little cars, but it was getting dark, plus, it was cold, so we decided against it. We did check out the pier and boardwalk and watched some crazy surfers! I wish it had been warm enough to take a surfing lesson, but alas, there was NO WAY I was getting into that freezing water, wet suit or not!

Next, we headed to San Luis Obispo, site of Cal Poly, although, I didn't see it. We had pricelined a hotel and were pumped about our awesome 4 star for a great price (Thank you Justin Hayes for teaching us your methods). When we got to the hotel, Apple Farms, we were a little shocked. It was decorated in florals everywhere, giving it an old school vibe. It was SUPER nice, it just looked like an ode to Laura Ashley. Our canopy bed had big bows on it and there was lots of matchy match wall paper everywhere. Still, it was the biggest room we had AND probably the most comfortable bed. No complaints here!

I actually would totally stay there again, and would recommend it to you! They have GREAT food, plus they have cider, tea, and coffee out at all times and cookies out until 9! It is like being home! Sadly we were only there to sleep and to eat breakfast. We had some amazing sushi at a restaurant downtown before crashing in our canopy bed!
On to day 5!

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