We had a delicious breakfast on the patio at the Inn at East Beach, presided over by the manager of the hotel. They got muffins and pastries from a local bakery, and I ate too many of them. We decided to go back to State Street to check out the shops, since most of them were closed the night before. But first, after we checked out, we went down to the beach.
We went back to State Street and visited a bookstore, a coffee/tea store, a hat store (where I bought a hat – I don’t know what I was thinking not bringing one, with the California sun and all), and a game store. By mid-morning, we said goodbye to Santa Barbara, and headed up the coast.
Our plan was to stop at Hearst Castle, but when we got there, they were sold out of tickets for the day. I guess I should have ordered them in advance, especially since this was a Saturday. I was disappointed, but I figured this meant we will have to come back. We had lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant and started off again.
Pretty soon we got to the classic “Pacific Coast Highway” stretch, with the cliffs, hairpin turns, and frequently-stopped traffic we were expecting.
This part of the trip was beautiful, even if it did make me a little nervous. The other cars either went too slow or too fast, and both ways were nerve-wracking. I found that was constant throughout California. Here on the East Coast, everyone speeds fairly consistently. It is considered proper to at least go 10 miles above the speed limit, even in the slow lane. Californians seemed to have no conception of the slow lane. They would either drive below the speed limit – in any lane – or speed at least 20 miles above the limit and zip in and out of traffic.
We finally got to Big Sur just as the sun was setting. I’d made reservations at the Big Sur Lodge, which I was surprised to find was not really a lodge at all. The lodge part was where you checked in, and there was a store, an ice cream shop, and a restaurant. But the rooms were cabins located a little ways away. Our cabin was really cute, though, so I didn’t mind. It reminded me of the cabin we stayed at in Yellowstone. Like in Yellowstone, there was no television and no wi-fi, and my cell reception was very spotty. But this room had a skylight and a patio. The area was all wooded and we walked around the other cabins before we headed down to the lodge restaurant for dinner. Before we had been there very long, we were already scheming to come back.