Sideways to the Big Sur
28.03.2011 - 30.03.2011
This was the big one, the drive from Vegas to the coast. Not much to report other than very long, very straight roads. Every 70 miles or so you have to concentrate as you negotiate a minor curve. Oh, a woman flipped me the bird when I didn't get in to the slow lane quick enough and she undertook me, but that's about as exciting as it got.
We stopped at a classic diner, Peggy Sue's, for brunch. Nine bar stools, three booths and a mountain of film memorabilia - mainly Peggy Sue (if that's her real name) hugging passing celebrities, Kristin Stewart, Billy Connolly, Ross Kemp etc etc. All the waitresses wore costumes straight out of the diner in Grease.
Katie got her fortune told by Elvis on the way out but it didn't really make any sense.
We ploughed on back into Califormia, over the top of Los Angeles, finally coming to a halt in Ventura a seaside town sandwiched between Santa Barbara and LA.
After parking up in our motel we nipped across the road to the old wooden pier and raced down to the end just in time to sea the sun set….right into the sea. Been waiting to see that happen since leaving the UK in November. Fantastic.
We celebrated at a lovely little family owned fish diner called Spencer Makenzies. Katie was a bit disgusted that Makenzie was spelt with no 'c', that is not how you spell Mackenzie - but what they lacked in C's they made up for in excellent fish taco's and burritos accompanied by an impressive range of homemade chilli sauces. Great way to end the day.
You may have seen the film Sideways. Well this was filmed in the beautiful Santa Ynez valley north of Santa Barbara, our destination today. As Tom was designated driver, it fell to Katie to take on primary tasting responsibility - here she is staggering around and shouting abuse outside sunshine vineyard.
Three beautiful vineyards and 14 tastes later we pulled in for a picnic lunch at the fourth vineyard, of Sideways fame.
Lovely sitting in the sun munching on olives, ham, soda bread and salad. After our final tasting, and not before picking up a bottle of Riesling for later, we continued on to the half-way point of our coastal journey, San Luis Obispo, via a quick stop at the pier on Pismo beach for some frozen yoghurt (like can you get more American).
Our motel was a couple of doors down from the first motel ever built. We grabbed an excellent pizza, topped with spicy Firebird™ sauce had a beer (Katie: WIne) and hit the sack.
We had learnt in Santa Barbara that our planned route up the Big Sur coastal road to Monterey was closed due to a bit of the road falling several hundred feet into the sea. This was a real shame, but fair enough. As we weren't up for jumping it Speed style in our rented Hyundai, we decided to get a flavour by going up as far as we could.
This took us to Seal Point - a couple of beaches right next to the road absolutely covered in seals. Big flabby seals.
We then looped back down past Hearst Castle and cut inland for a while until we could navigate back across to Monterey. Although we weren't hugging the cliffs on the windy ocean road, we still had a beautiful drive. Unfortunately American restaurants close far too early, so we grabbed a Chinese (yes it came in those cool American Chinese take-out boxes) and watched Twilight New Moon in our Motel room. Incidentally, the chinese fortune cookies were no more accurate than Elvis in their predictions: Your Financial Outlook is Great. You lie cookie. You lie.