My New York daughter had arranged to pick the car up at 1 p.m. and that time was confirmed by Avis. The people returning their cars weren't happy. My daughter wasn't happy. As I see it, Avis blew it that day. I learned that these local locations are franchised, so Avis was powerless at the moment to help the stranded renters. That 'franchise' and another local one caused Avis a loss of business after closing even though they had customers who had been left in the lurch. After speaking to Avis by phone, they arranged for a car at John Wayne Airport. I believe that was about 9 miles away. About two hours later, we were on our way.
We began to smell smoke somewhere south of Santa Barbara. We never saw any fires, because shortly thereafter we were redirected by Waze from Route 1 onto Route 154, bringing us up and across the Santa Ynez Mountains. The road, also called the San Marco Pass Road, while scenic, seemed to wind its way through many bends as we traversed the hills. The traffic was moderately heavy going to toward the West as we were traveling East. It did make me a little nervous wondering what we were going into, but we did reach Route 1 again with no problems. Later in Cambria, I spoke with tourists from England who told me that they had visited Santa Barbara. The husband said that he was amazed at seeing patches of burned land surrounded by green areas, seemingly unscathed by the fires.
We eventually returned to the 101 and drove up the coast. My daughter had arranged for a night's stay in Cambria, a sleepy beach community south of San Simeon. We arrived about 9:45pm and thankfully the clerk at the Cambria Beach Lodge was still on duty when we checked in. The Lodge was situated across from Moonstone Beach. The sight and sounds of the waves were so inviting. We dearly needed sustenance. It had been a long drive and we were hungry. Unfortunately, being New Years Day, most of the restaurants were closed. There was one on the other side of the town, but when we got there we found it closed due to a plumbing problem. So we went to the nearby gas station and purchased some cereal and milk, as well as a few snacks to keep us going.
|Cambria Beach Lodge|
|Moonstone Beach, Cambria CA|
The next morning, we arose and enjoyed a delicious continental breakfast at the Cambria Beach Lodge and toured the town. We checked out the Ball and Skein and More on Bridge Street. The proprietors, a husband and wife, were very friendly and helpful. They encourage you to feel the many different kinds of yarn. Their stock of so many lovely and interesting yarns make a visit well worth it.
We strolled along main street finding an interesting store, Among Friends . We enjoyed the pleasant atmosphere and the beautiful variety of wares. My daughter purchased a lovely wrap and I found some beautiful greeting cards.
Then, we had to decide where to eat lunch. We spotted a sign for Linn's Easy as Pie Cafe on Bridge Street. I enjoyed the Salmon-Artichoke Quiche. Even though it was January, we chose to eat in the garden. While their array of pies looked delicious, we decided to forgo any dessert.
After lunch, we embarked on San Francisco, stopping at Hearst Castle and visiting the nearby William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach. When we stopped at Hearst Castle, the docent advised us that we would have to take a bus to the castle. Even though it had a history, I wasn't interested in waiting for a bus and then, walking around the castle. I consider castles cold buildings.
|William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach|
|View of Hearst Castle from the beach|
Now the elephant seals were a different story. We stopped by what is called a Rookery in San Simeon. It is certainly a sight to behold.
|Female Elephant Seal with her babies|
I've seen seals at LaJolla Cove in San Diego, but these seals were humongous. They seemed to form a community.
|Elephant Seals resting on the beach near San Simeon|
We watched three female Elephant Seals make quite a racket because a male seal laid on a baby seal. He seemed to just ignore them, The baby seal had great difficulty freeing itself from underneath the massive body of the male, but finally did. I've read that these males weigh upwards of 2,000 pounds. A few minutes later, about 20 or 30 feet away, we saw a male approaching a female who rebuffed him. Breeding season started in December.
Now, on to San Francisco, actually Oakland. My daughter had arranged a airbnb there. The picture of the bridge is lopsided, but it was a major sign that we reached the San Francisco area. Better photos of this bridge to come later on.
To be continued....
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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle)
The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (in paperback and on Kindle)