Saturday, December 24, 2011

California Day Two

So, you'd think that after all these years of traveling, I would be able to plan things out a little better. Even though the first part of the day depended on how long it would take to get our bottles of Beatification at Russian River, I still thought we would have plenty of daylight to do the coast drive. And we got our bottles at RR way faster than expected (the whole batch sold out by 11:20am!), leaving us plenty of time. Right?

We made it from Santa Rosa down into San Francisco without any problem, until I realized that the city founders didn't build a magic road for me that went directly to the coast. This meant stopping on the side of the 101 with cars zooming by way too close while I retrieved the map from the trunk. Yes, I actually brought the trusted Rand McNally US Atlas with me. It's nice having the phone with the GPS and everything, but sometimes it helps to have the bigger picture of where you are in relation to the rest of the state that the map gives you. After a few minor detours we were headed towards the coast. Thanks, Rand.

What I didn't take into account nearly enough was how damn early the sun sets at this time of year. By the time we were here in Monterey, it was somehow already 4 and the sun was due to set at 4:45. We couldn't even go on the famed 17 Mile Drive around the peninsula because they close the road near sundown. I didn't mind not having to pay the $9.50 fee to get on the drive.

And though it was close, my madman driving through Monterey and Hwy. 1 got us to the scenic Big Sur area just as the sun went down. However, I was soon wishing that they closed that road at sundown as well- as any of you who have done the drive can attest to, that road is damn near treacherous in the dark. I was not doing any madman driving once it got dark, I assure you. More like a white knuckle steering wheel grip while I did 20 mph through the twists and turns for hours, sure I would make a wrong move and put us over a cliff.

By the time the road straightened out, I wasn't interested in finding any breweries, just some pizza and a hotel. We ended up staying in Pismo Beach, famous to me because of that Bugs Bunny episode when I was a kid. And we were fine without visiting any breweries because we had picked up a growler of Pliny the Elder that morning. Pliny really does wonders to get rid of the stress of a long drive!

Next: Hooray for Hollywood

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