We really enjoyed our trip to California. It was great to do some grown-up things. Since our twin girls spent their vacation with our family, we organized our trip to do things we wanted to do, but the girls would not have enjoyed.
If you have children, you know how family vacations work. You spend most of your time doing activities the children will enjoy. You enjoy these activities too, but there are always grown-up things you'd like to do if you had the chance. We did all the grown-up things this trip.
First, after flying into San Francisco's airport, we drove from San Francisco to Santa Barbara via Pacific Coast Highway. This is not a trip for timid drivers. Much of the road hangs on the edge of a cliff -- and the drop is deadly. You spend a lot of time driving about 30 miles an hour. And, there are very, very limited services -- never pass up an opportunity to use a bathroom or get gas along PCH. There might not be another opportunity for hours! When the sign says "50 miles to next services," you're thinking it will take about an hour. In reality, it takes two hours because you are only going 30 miles per hour.
We stopped in Big Sur for dinner. Talk about culture shock! Most of the people we saw could be described as either hippy wanna-bes or grunge band groupies. I was wearing black ballet flats, black capri pants, and a sweater set. Yeah, I fit right in. Everyone was very nice, though. Our food was good too. It was a casual way to spend New Year's Eve.
On the return trip, we managed to tour Hearst Castle. It was an interesting tour of a different lifestyle in a different era. And yet, all I kept thinking was how guests arrived in 1930's automobiles over dirt roads! You cannot imagine how scary that trip must have been until you stand at the top of the road. By the way, whatever they pay the bus drivers who drive the big buses up those narrow, winding roads, it's not enough. Our bus driver was amazing!
We also had breakfast at Pebble Beach. Stillwater's (at the Lodge) faces the ocean. The monster storms currently punishing the West Coast were just a "warning" when we had breakfast. This meant the waves were breaking fast and high, so it was a great show.
We managed to spend some time walking along the ocean beaches and eating in restaurants that did not serve grilled cheese. All in all, a wonderful grown-up time.