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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Week 5: Driving the Beautiful California Coastline, Day 1

On Monday, the 15th of February, we hopped in our rented Nissan Sentra, set the GPS for Morro Bay and took off down highway 111 for a brand new adventure. This was the first time that we have taken a driving trip in the US in many, many years. It was great to see the various contours of the California landscape. I had forgotten how amazing and beautiful this state is. We started in a desert, drove through hillsides, watched crashing surf and experienced urban sprawl all on the same drive north! I was delighted to renew my orientation with California and it was fun for Doug to see some new areas of the state I love so dearly. With all of its vast resources, we cannot figure out why California is in such economic straits. But that's a discussion for another day.
We meandered up Highway 101 taking short stops in Montecito and Solvang. Just outside of these little towns is the incredible wine country that was highlighted in the film "Sideways". We decided to take a detour and visit the Firestone Vineyard, made a bit famous by one of the son's appearance as The Bachelor years ago. It was a lovely vineyard and we tasted 7 different wines that were all quite good. We eventually made our way to Morro Bay, a cute little fishing village that sits at the southern end of where highway 1 begins its beautiful winding journey towards Monterey. We had found an ultra cheap motel one block from the beach and discovered an authentic Mexican restaurant that provided delicious nourishment for our hungry bellies. The shoreline is lined with shops and restaurants and the city has built a wonderful boardwalk for people to enjoy. We were treated to a gorgeous sunset as well as the company of a giant pelican and thoroughly enjoyed being out on the coast listening to the waves crash against the shore. We went to bed eager for the days ahead that were sure to be filled with beauty and joy.