Sunday, August 24, 2008

HONEYMOON! (days 7 & 8)

"This is the end, Beautiful friend"- The Doors

We took a variety of albums along with us on the trip that neither of us listened to all the way through or on a regular basis. (Many thanks to the UPenn library for their extensive collection) So we had a musical reeducation during our long drives. One of the albums being "Doors" by the Doors as mentioned above. Most of the selections were from Rolling Stones top 500 albums list. We listened to a lot of Beatles and Pink Floyd. I recommend Dark Side of the Moon if you ever find yourself driving through dark Redwood forests. Some of our favorites that got played through a few times were:

Devo- Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

Pixies- Doolittle (listened to that A LOT)

The Zombies- Odessey & Oracle

The Kinks- We are the Village Green Preservation Society

Anyway, onto the day...
We left our chic little hotel in Big Sur and started back down CA 1. Big Sur was very foggy that morning and we drove through it for 45 minutes or so. It was really beautiful and peaceful.

We stopped off a couple of times to take pictures of the coast bathed in pea soup.

There were also a few places in Big Sur where we could really see the damage from the wildfires. This section shown above was pretty expansive and stretched over a couple of ranges. We piled back in the car and drove out of the fog eventually. The road around this area started to twist and turn a bit more and continued to have great views. We started seeing more sprawling farmland the closer we got to San Simeon. We were expecting to pass by Hurst Castle, which we weren't too interested in, but we were not expecting this...

In the San Simeon State Park area there is a elephant seal refuge. We saw the pull off from pretty far back , and weren't sure what it was. As we got closer I asked Deanna if those were really big shiny rocks or seals. We pulled in and got really close to these giants. They didn't do a whole lot. They were not as active as the seals or sea lions we saw before. They did bellow loudly, though, which was really incredible to hear. It was a very low but loud fog horn sound.
There was also some type of wild squirrel there that was very used to human interaction. They would eat food right out of peoples' hands and even crawl up into their laps. After hanging out there for a little we drove on to San Luis Obispo. Deanna had found this hotel online that caught her interest. Its called the Madonna Inn. It features over 100 rooms, each of which has its own theme. We thought we would stop off there for a quick lunch, and weren't sure what to expect really. We got there and knew right away that this was going to be an experience. It felt like you were entering some sort of theme park.
Pink. Pink everywhere... The lamp posts were pink. The flowers were pink, the buildings were pink. We walked in and poked around a bit. We took a lot of pictures. I could make three posts strictly about this place, we have that much material...
Above is one of their dinning areas. I think this is where the dinner service is. As you can see, no one ever said "I don't know, maybe it's too much?" while decorating the Madonna Inn.
This is Deanna exploring the men's bathroom. Don't worry, no one else was in there, and I was keeping watch at the front door while photographing. Its a little hard to see here, but Deanna is standing at the urinal which is actually a large motion sensor waterfall. Yes, you pee into a waterfall and there is a drain in the floor at your feet. This was one of the two men's bathrooms I explored. The other had a large watermill and trough for the urinal and water pumps for the sink faucets.
This was the women's restroom in the lobby. Deanna was infatuated with this room. The whole time we were there she kept saying everything was INTENSE! The women's bathroom had chandeliers, pink iridescent wallpaper, and lots of deep red vinyl fabric, and lots of light bulbs. I forget if it was this one or the other ladies' room (I didn't venture in those, just saw pictures) that had a large strip of carved wood that said "YOUR BEAUTY IS YOUR SMILE".
We got our lunch in the Copper Cafe which is part of the hotel. This is a panorama of the area we were eating in. We were seated on puffy red leather stools at a counter. It was quite a place.
We split a sandwich and then got a huge banana split dubbed the Madonna's Delight. The service was great and the food was good. I was expecting this place to be a little more seedy or weathered by age, but it's incredibly well kept and clean. We went over to the check-in area to look at postcards. They had postcards of a good majority of the rooms, if not all of them. Seeing all of those made us wish we had scheduled a night there. Check out the hotel and rooms here:
We got back in the car to do another two hours or so drive to Ventura where we were staying for the night. On this stretch we were away from the coast. We were driving through a lot of rolling hills. We saw our first wine vineyards here. I was a little more impressed by those than Deanna. Neither of us are big wine drinkers, but it was a sight to see. We pulled into Ventura and found our hotel which was not too far off the main road. We were pleasantly surprised with a slightly upgraded room, which is always nice.
The hotel was next to the Ventura Marina, so this was the view from our second floor balcony. We relaxed for a few minutes, then changed into bathing suits and drove to the beach that was only about a 3 minute drive from the hotel.
The beach was really pretty and it was late enough (5-6ish maybe) that there weren't too many people around. We had yet to really go into the ocean since the water had been too cold further north. I was able to talk Deanna into coming in with me. So we got to dip into the Pacific which was fun. It was a little chilly, but not bad. We went back to the hotel and freshened up before heading to downtown Ventura for some dinner. We got a slice of pizza on main street and walked around for a bit.

I was pretty happy with this shot of Ventura at dusk

Ventura's City Hall, Father Junipero Serra statue

We tried navigating our way back to the hotel, which took a little guess work. We stopped off at a Circle K (several times on the trip I got to use the "Strange things are afoot at the Circle K" quote from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) and picked up some snacks to take back to the hotel. I ran to the balcony just in time for the tail end of the sunset.
And got one more panorama of the marina at night. We kicked back the rest of the night and watched some cable. Deanna got to indulge in some popcorn and John and Kate Plus Eight in a king sized bed, tough to top. We got up early the next day in hopes of making one more trip to the beach. We went, but it was too cold and not sunny, so there was no more swimming for us. We got some breakfast, then were off to LA. LA......uhhhhh(long sigh, not a good sigh either) This was my grumpy day. I did not enjoy driving this day. We went down the coast through Malibu and all of the coastal beaches you hear about in movies and tv. It was pretty in parts, but cars were beginning to stack up. We eventually got to Santa Monica and did a few circles until we figured out where we were and parked. We walked on the beach for a bit toward the pier. We went through an adult playground area with exercise stations. I tried out an enormous row of metal ring swings and determined I am not destined to be on American Gladiators. Deanna faired much better on the curvy balance beam. We walked around the rides and stopped in an arcade looking for a picture booth. For those of you who don't know, Deanna loves picture booths. They can't be the newer digital ones though, they have to be film process.

We also hit one earlier on the trip in San Francisco. She appears to be clawing my eyes out it both.

This was taken from the pier looking down at the Santa Monica beach. On our way back we saw a lot of Segways for rent. They seemed to be as popular as the bike rentals, and they had kid sized Segways which I hadn't seen before. The rest of the day was planned very vaguely. We knew we wanted to see Sunset Boulevard, and Mulholland Drive. So we drove, and drove and drove. Nothing was within walking distance, and once you got to one destination, the rest of the sites were still very spread out. We drove around LA for 4 hours, stopping shortly for lunch at Arby's. So we covered a lot of ground, but didn't feel like we saw a lot. Beverly Hills had some pretty parts. We drove through studio city by accident which was probably my highlight of the day. We pulled off at a vista view on top of a hill and saw the Hollywood sign. We saw it throughout the day and kinda thought, "well, there it is". So LA was not our favorite place on earth. I think if we had found a couple specific places we wanted to see it would have been better, but we left with the impression that it was just an odd and kind of dirty city. So we looked around for cheap gas (which ranged from $4.50 a gallon to $4.17 a gallon on the same block) and a carwash. We got to the airport and checked in. Our plane ended up being delayed by an hour because we had to de-board and get on a different plane, but aside from that everything went smooth. We both slept for the majority of the overnight trip. We had to run a bit in JFK airport due to our plane delay, but we made it and got back to Philadelphia in one piece. Once back at our apartment we collapsed for a couple of hours. The next couple of days were a little slow paced as well until we got back into the groove of things.

It was a fantastic trip! We both had a lot of fun, and gained a ton of new experiences. I liked the north much more than the south, but we really enjoyed Ventura and the Madonna Inn, too, so I wouldn't change a thing.(except maybe skipping LA) I hope we get a chance to travel a lot more in our future since Deanna makes a very good travel partner and navigator. Thanks for reading about our journey!


Kate said...

What a great trip you guys had! My boyfriend and I are thinking of doing the same stretch of road as part of a bigger trip we're doing to the US and Europe at the end of the year, so thank you for your detailed photos and explanations - they were really helpful and inspiring.

More importantly though, congratulations on such a beautiful and intimate-looking wedding! I simply adore everything you did, from the invitations (which I think you should start your own line of, by the way, and sell them on etsy!) to the color scheme to your dress Deanna. It was a pleasure to read through your blog - thanks for sharing it all. Hope you have many more years of documenting your adventures together.


Jesse said...

Hi Kate
Thanks for the comment. My honeymoon posts haven't been getting the deserved attention Deanna's wedding posts are getting, so its nice to get some feedback:)
We had a really fun trip, and if you want any suggestions on places to stay or restaurants feel free to ask. I would certainly suggest spending as much time up north as you can. We really enjoyed the sparsely populated drives between the Redwoods and San Francisco.

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