Fun Times (part 2)

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.

My treasures from Pasolivo.

My treasures from Pasolivo.

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.

OMG! There are only 2 tacos here. I was more than stuffed.

OMG! There are only 2 tacos here. I was more than stuffed.

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.

Unfortunately, the fog drifted in and out all day long.

Unfortunately, the fog drifted in and out all day long.

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.

That's me next to a fallen redwood. I'm 5'8".

That’s me next to a fallen redwood. I’m 5’8″.

Photos just can't capture the sheer size of these trees.

Photos just can’t capture the sheer size of these trees.

Tuesday we visited more redwoods, then said good-bye to the giant trees.

Signs warned elk were in the area, but I didn't expect a greeting party of young elk watching the world drive by.

Signs warned elk were in the area, but I didn’t expect a greeting party of young elk watching the world drive by.

This is called Big Tree. It is 304' tall, 21.6' in diameter, 68' circumference, and estimated to be 1500 years old

This is called Big Tree. It is 304′ tall, 21.6′ in diameter, 68′ circumference, and estimated to be 1500 years old

One last scenic view before we head for home.

One last scenic view before we head for home.

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.


16 thoughts on “Fun Times (part 2)

  1. I know I often say this, but I just love your photos! They make your posts so entertaining. The seals are AWESOME! The redwoods and elk are amazing too. When I was in high school, my parents and I went to Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks, so your redwood trees brought back memories. At Sequoia, they have trees you can drive your car through!

  2. I am glad we have your words to go with these pics…I believe you about the size of the redwoods not being captured in pictures, but your words do those magnificent trees justice. You and your husband have an enviable way of embarking on adventures. Thanks for taking us along on so many of them! I can taste that fish taco, hear that waitress calling me, “Hon,” and feel the exhaustion of time away from the safety and predictability of home.

  3. Jaana says:

    Wonderful photos and stories! Perhaps I will have to check out some travel magazines from the library and plan a road trip for later this summer!

  4. Thanks for taking us along on your journey. We’ve traveled that highway and the sights are unbelievable. So sorry to hear about the credit card fraud, but at least the cc company was on top of it. The places you stopped to eat made me hungry, but I’d opt going back for some wine tasting!

  5. So, this post made me want to listen to my two brothers and move out to California asap. Such beautiful scenery – and such fresh and delicious food. Also, I adore elephant seals.

  6. Phillilp says:

    What’s a little credit card fraud got to do with anything?? Don’t worry, the FBI, CIA, NSA and the IRS are on to it and will have it solved in no time.
    Sleep well, children.

  7. What an adventure! I love the photos you shared with us. California is one of my favorite places to visit. (By golly, though, I’m scared of earthquakes, so I couldn’t live there.)

  8. Tam says:

    Newtreemom said it best–“wanderlust.” Glad the credit card was figured out so quickly. I like how you just stop and enjoy yourselves along the way.

  9. You have captured the allure of my home state so beautifully! 🙂 There are so many places to explore, sights to see and food to enjoy. I am glad you got home safely and am thankful for your alert credit card company. Enjoy your next adventure to the All Write conference where I am confident you will capture the experience with your usual flare!

  10. Such a beautiful trip, Elsie, every single thing you saw! I love being in the redwoods-makes me so humble! Sorry about the card-I’ve had it happen too. Thank goodness the companies are very on top of things! It is also very nice to be home, isn’t it? A lovely and cozy feeling! Thanks for all your sharing!

  11. Now I’m hungry, longing to travel…and hoping nobody gets my credit card! (It has happened before to my daughter!) I loved your travelogue…accompanied by the pictures, it really stirs up the wanderlust in me! The description of the waitress was hilarious! Thanks for sharing the details of your trip.

  12. I loved the trees and then the picture of the elks the best. The credit card company calling makes my stomach lurch. I know that feeling of violation. Thank goodness it happened near the end of your fabulous trip. I can’t wait to see you soon. xo

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