Archive for October 28th, 2010

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I woke up on Day 49 right down the street from Hearst Castle, one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country, and the place I’d specifically been driving to the day before. And you know what? I just didn’t feel like going anymore, so I didn’t. I got my morning ocean fix, and then got back on the road.

Harmony was the first town I drove through, population 18. They must not count cows because I saw way more than 18. I was heading inland, and rather than hike around the woods again, I was ready for a town. San Luis Obispo fit the bill. I was able to find a nice little restaurant with free wifi to update the blog before exploring. I made my way through the town, stopping in the visitor’s center and having a nice chat with a young girl who clearly loves her town and is excited by all it has to offer. Her enthusiasm was catchy and I spent the next couple of hours following her suggestions:

  • The 18th-century Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa at the heart of town
  • Bubble Gum Alley, where people have lined the walls with chewed bubble gum trying to break a world record (not sure if they acheived it or not, but I didn’t contribute, or get too close to the walls…)
  • The Freemont Theater, an art deco movie theater
  • Motel Inn, the world’s first motel – it’s closed but still standing
  • Madonna Inn, which is as much a tourist attraction with its outlandish pink decor and more than 100 uniquely decorated guest rooms, as it is a place to stay

After driving through Buellton to see the landmark Anderson’s Pea Soup Restaurant, I made my way to Solvang which is a completely Danish-style town. You feel like you’ve crossed over to Europe as you walk down the cobblestone streets and look in the windows of all the little shops, spotting a windmill here and there. It would’ve been a fun place to stay, but I had Santa Barbara in mind.

As I drove toward Santa Barbara, I suddenly realized that I no longer had any desire to do any more sightseeing – I just wanted to see my friends. Sure, horseback riding on the beach in Santa Barbara would be fun, but I’ve been trying to get to LA to see Mike and Jay for 15 years. Why postpone it any longer? Anything else would just be wasting my time. So I plugged Duffy’s address in Aidan and made a beeline for LA.

When I got to the Santa Barbara exit and saw the sign for the mission, I did veer off course for a few minutes. I saw the Mission Santa Barbara, dubbed Queen of the Missions, and spent a few minutes on the beach catching the last lingering rays of light before getting back in the car. It was after 9 when I reached Duffy and Jen’s house but I’m here. And so happy to be with my old friends…

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