1000 miles through California


Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, California on July 16, 2015.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California on July 17, 2015.


The Lone Cyprus in Pebble Beach, California on July 17, 2015.


Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California on July 17, 2015.


Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California on July 17, 2015.


Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, California on July 17, 2015.


Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur, California on July 18, 2015.


McWay Falls in Big Sur, California on July 18, 2015.


Hare Creek Trail in Big Sur, California on July 18, 2015.


Limekiln Trail in Big Sur, California on July 18, 2015.


A California State Route 1 sign in Big Sur, California on July 18, 2015.


Elephant seals in San Simeon, California on July 18, 2015.


Hearst Castle’s Roman pool in San Simeon, California on July 19, 2015.


Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo, California on July 19, 2015.


Paddleboards in Santa Barbara, California on July 19, 2015.


Old Mission Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, California on July 20, 2015.


The Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, California on July 20, 2015.


Joshua Tree National Park in southeastern California on July 21, 2015.


The Getty Center in Los Angeles, California on July 22, 2015.


Hyatt Regency Orange County in Los Angeles, California on July 26, 2015.

Recently, Patty and I took a working vacation to California because I had been hired to shoot the Alpha-1 National Education Conference on July 24-26, 2015 in Los Angeles. We rented a car and spent seven days driving down the California State Route 1, better known as the Pacific Coast Highway, from Oakland to Los Angeles.

Once we left the airport, we stopped for lunch at In-N-Out Burger, a California institution. Then, we traveled to Santa Cruz where we walked along the beach at Natural Bridges State Park. We ate great seafood at the FireFish Grill on the Santa Cruz Wharf and spent the night at the Carousel Beach Inn, a charming hotel directly across the street from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Amusement Park.

The next morning, we drove one hour south to Monterey where we toured the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Also, we circled the entire Monterey peninsula along the 17-Mile Drive and stood on the 18th green at Pebble Beach Golf Club. We hiked through Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and saw some of the Golden State’s most beautiful coastline. We ate lunch at Cindy’s Waterfront at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and stayed at the Comfort Inn Monterey by the Sea.

We woke up on Saturday and drove three hours through Big Sur to San Simeon. We stopped to admire the Bixby Creek Bridge and then continued to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to hike the McWay Falls trail. We stopped for lunch at Nepenthe to enjoy great food and a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean. Then, we drove to Limekiln State Park to conquer the Hare Creek and Limekiln trails. We ended our day by watching elephant seals on the beach near our hotel, The Morgan at San Simeon.

Sunday morning, we drove four miles to the Hearst Castle, the 90,000 square foot home of former newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Unfortunately, a rare California thunderstorm prohibited us from touring the gardens, but we were able to view the lavish interiors of the individual mansions. After the tour, we stopped for an awesome lunch at Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill in Cambria. We detoured into San Luis Obispo to walk through Bubblegum Alley, a tourist destination where two walls are covered with used chewing gum. We shot some selfies in the alley then continued to Santa Barbara where we slept at the Castillo Inn on the Beach.

After breakfast, we toured the Old Mission Santa Barbara, a beautiful Spanish mission founded by a Franciscan order on December 4, 1786. The church is still used for worship today. We stopped for lunch at Honor Bar and ate their amazing steakburgers. A few hours later, we stopped for dinner at Duke’s in Malibu and soaked in the ocean view one last time before heading into Los Angeles.

We drove up to the Griffith Observatory to see the panoramic views of the downtown and catch a glimpse of the Hollywood sign. Then, we checked into our final hotel, the Hyatt Regency Orange County, an elegant resort near Disneyland.

Early on Tuesday morning, we drove two hours east to Joshua Tree National Park. The road through the park had been washed out from recent rains but we still saw some amazing rock formations in the northern half of the area. We returned to the Hyatt Regency to split a tasty pepperoni pizza at TusCa Ristorante.

Finally, our last day of vacation was spent at The Getty Center in northern Los Angeles. We picked up Patty’s great aunt from her home in Encino and then we toured the museum’s gardens on Wednesday afternoon. We worked up an appetite so the three of us ate dinner at the Lakeside Cafe and Restaurant in Los Encinos State Historic Park. The restaurant has great food and overlooks a nearby lake.

We hope to visit California again soon, so we can experience more of her beauty.

-scott weaver

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