On this trip to the west coast, time was on our side. There was nothing pressing (other than a lawn to mow) that demanded we return home immediately. So a plan was set in motion, visit family for a week, then head north to view the magnificent redwoods.
We decided to take the scenic route and travel the famed Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1). As luck would have it, I had just gotten a Living magazine and there was an article called “Eating Up the Road.” Several of the stops sounded interesting, so they were added to our travel agenda.
Unfortunately we did not see the exit for the Santa Barbara Pistachio Company, so we kept on driving. We stopped in Buellton for marzipan filled almond bearclaws. They were not on our list, but we needed gas and a mid-morning snack. Yes, they were as tasty as they sound, but also very crumbly.
There were several possible stops in Paso Robles. Our first would be Pasolivio Oil Company. We found the exit and we drove and drove and drove down a road that seemed to get narrower with each twist and turn. As we passed many wineries, I made a mental note that this may be a place I’d like to explore more. Finally we found Pasolivo. Inside we were introduced to a table of seasonings, salts, olive oils, and flavored vinegar. Can I say “YUM!” What a fun place! They had not seen the article in the magazine yet, so they made copies of my pages. Of course I walked out with some new flavors of olive oil and some seasoning.
We asked directions to a creamery that had sheep’s milk ice cream. The salesperson at Pasolivio called for directions, but this creamery was closed. How sad, no ice cream for us. Next stop, Taco Temple in Morro Bay. The article said, “Grab a quick bite of the highest quality fish tacos and Mexican food.” They had me at fish tacos. More twisting and turning roads led us to Taco Temple for a late lunch.
We probably would have never stopped here if we were just driving past. Does that tell you anything? But we are not afraid of trying something new, when it has a recommendation. It had all the qualities of a local dive. Our waitress was something to behold. I wish I’d gotten a picture, but I didn’t, so my words will have to do. I would guess she was in her early sixties, a large woman, big boned, with her bleached blonde curly locks tied up with a head scarf like Lucy Ball wore in the ’50’s. Her arms were completely covered with colorful tattoos which did not really match with the orthopedic shoes on her feet. We were addressed as hon as she highly recommended the carnita tacos. So I had a fish and a carnita. The fish would have been plenty. It was a filling and entertaining spot to stop.
Journeying on down the road the next stop was near Cambria to see the elephant seals. They looked like giant sardines as they laid on the beach. Occasionally you would see sand flying as they flipped the sand onto themselves.
Back into the car to journey up the coast, stopping to take in the breathtaking views along the way. Our goal was to get past San Francisco so we would not have to deal with the city traffic in the morning. We arrived at San Rafael around 9:30, tired and hungry. I’m glad we’d had a late lunch that was filling. Nothing seemed to be open near our hotel, plus we didn’t want much since it was so late. We ended up at the grocery store. I had a small pita and hummus package and my husband had a deli sandwich. Not exactly gourmet dining.
Monday morning found us back hugging the Pacific coastline. Slowly we made our way up the coast. The scenery reminded me of the Amalfi coast in Italy. Maybe not quite as high of cliffs, but just as spectacular. We didn’t cover a lot of miles that day, but every moment was had something unique to see.
Late afternoon, we drove the Avenue of the Giants. The redwood trees take your breath away with their size. There were several stops along the Avenue where you could follow a path through the forest. I had a moment of panic because all the trees began to look alike and I didn’t know if we’d find our way out. As you can tell, we did find our way, but it was a scary moment for me. Dinner was in Eureka at a micro brewery before we ended the day in Arcata.
Tuesday we visited more redwoods, then said good-bye to the giant trees.
My husband had made a plan for a route home, but he wasn’t too comfortable with it, so he did a quick check with Google Maps. Hmmm, they suggested another route. We decide to go with Google Maps suggestion. It is more populated and a better road. Green River, Wyoming is the stopping point for this day.
How far will we go on Thursday? It is 1064 miles to home, that’s a lot of miles for one day I think. Let’s just see how we feel and we can decide as we go is the decision made. Late afternoon we get a call from our credit card company. “Did you just make a $100 purchase of gas?” Our hearts drop, yes we did get gas, no it was not $100. What about here, here, and here? They are all $100 purchases. No, no, and no. Someone must have read our card from a gas station. This card is no longer working. The fraud department is on the case. This has left us unsettled and feeling violated. We want to be back home. So at 1:30 a.m. we pull into our garage, unload the car, and collapse into bed.
The adventure is over (for now). Many great sights and memories now reside in our minds. It’s nice to be home, but I know we will soon be looking for the next adventure.