The flight was a little delayed but I got my Harry Potter book so I was a happy. We made up for lost time in the air because we still landed on time -- 15 minutes early actually.
First thing we did when we landed was picked up the luggage and got our car -- a white Pontiac G6.
Then it was off to the Reynolds Buick -- there's history behind that you can ask Eric about. At first Rita (that's what Eric calls his GPS) was taking us back to New York but once we figured her out we were finally heading in the right direction but we needed to stop for food. So our first stop was actually a place called Tommy's Burgers. THEN it was off to Reynolds Buick. We arrived in West Covina and Eric got his license plate frames and business card and it was back to Long Beach.
Back in Long Beach we arrived at Shoreline Village and snapped some pictures of the Planet Ocean (Wyland's mural) and The Queen Mary. We walked through Shoreline Village in and out of shops, got some ice cream and listened to a live band for a bit. When we finally made across to the Queen Mary she was about to close so we couldn't tour the ship. We tried to get a room on the ship but she was all booked up, there were a lot of conventions going on here this weekend.
So we tried to look for a place to stay before dinner. Everything in the area was booked. So we got on the Pacific Coast Highway and sarted to drive. We drove into Torrance and hoped we could take a peek at the Alpine Village but all the little shops there were already closed, but we were able to have dinner whith a nice Oompah pah band playing music.
So after inquiring a few more hotels here we finally are in Residence Inn Marriott completely exhausted and hoping to possibly return to Queen Mary tomorrow before heading up the coast. Till then....
We decided to drive back to Long Beach and visit the Queen Mary. Very cool!! They pretty much turned it into a hotel, but kept some of the original furniture and things and set up replica rooms in the museum part of the ship. There's a lot of interesting history to see and read about so we were there for a while. Then we walked along the outside decks and went into the shops and took pictures of the landscape of Long Beach from the Queen Mary.
After Queen Mary we went to eat at Boston's and then went into the Aquarium of the Pacific. That was one amazing aquarium that blows the New York Aquarium away. We snapped some pictures and then it was on the road. We spent more time here then orginally planned to we'll have to make up some time.
We drove as far as Santa Barbara, or just before it actually. That was a big mistake because we ended up in Carpinteria. Not a place you want to stop. We found a Motel 6 and the woman at the desk recommended a mexican place next door to eat. She said it was the best around. Must not be a lot around cause we walked in and walked right out. Being that it was already after 9, and this town seems to shut down quite early, we had a difficult time finding a place to eat. The town was small, dirty, and a little scary. So we decided, after eating McDonald's, never visit Carpinteria again, and never stay in a Motel 6 again!
We couldn't wake up and get out of that motel fast enough!! It was on the road again headed for San Francisco. Unfortunatley it was a bit foggy and not very sunny on the majority of the trip, but I think we still managed to take some pretty cool pictures. If your in a rush I do not suggest the Pacific Coast Highway. It's absolutely beautiful to look at while driving but its sooo curvy and on the edge you can barely drive over 25mph.
Our first stop was in Buellton, CA to eat breakfast at The Original Ellen's Danish Pancake House. It was in a cute little town and the restaurant was no bigger than maybe twice my apartment but the food was delicious.
Then back on the road. Some of the pictures you will see are from the areas of Morro Bay, Cayucos, San Simeon, and Montery Bay. I'm going to try and label the pictures as best as I can. We stopped in San Simeon to see the Hearst Castle. Unfortunately they don't let you drive up to the castle unless you are on a tour bus, and we really didnt have the time to do that. So we went into the visitors center and took pictures from the observation deck and looked at the castle through telescopes. They had a small museum that was real interesting. All about the history of W.R. Hearst and how he had the castle built. Took almost 30 years. The architect was a woman which was rare back then. The castle has 165 rooms, 40 bathrooms, beautiful pools, and 127 acres of gardens.
We stopped for lunch in Big Sur and had lunch at the Lucia Lodge dining alfresco overlooking the coast. Really pretty. As we were eating there we spotted a helicoptor coming around the cliff. Then it looked as if it was coming straight at us. I was just about about to duck under the table or run it was coming so close, then it finally turned and landed right outside the restaurant. You'll see it in one of the pictures. Turns out the couple who got out came to the place to have lunch and sat down in the table next to us. Nosy as we are we were listening to their conversation. They were on a first date! And apparently it was not going well cause when I went to use the bathroom, Eric said she was pushing him off as he tried to kiss her. lol
And then back on the road, more beautiful scenery that the pictures just don't do it justice.
We arrived in San Francisco around 7pm. Really pretty and clean city. We drove past the AT&T Park home of the San Fran Giants, and into Fisherman's Wharf. We took a boat cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz Island and I think that's when I left my health in San Francisco. lol. The weather was cool, 65 degrees and it was real windy (as you can see my hair flying around in the pictures) but incredibly beautiful. I had to wrap my self up in a blanket it was so cold.
When we got off the boat we had dinner at Capurro's on Jefferson Street. Both of us were completely exhausted but not much for hotels so we needed to get over the Golden Gate Bridge. Well let me tell you something about the streets of San Fransisco. Rita took us on the steepest streets possible. I don't get sick on roller costers but these streets were freaking me out I couldnt even reach for a camera. I could barely keep my eyes open. When we got over the bridge we found a Holiday Inn Express and passed out.
More driving!!! No place special for breakfast today. We just have breakfast at the hotel and got on the road right away. And what a road it was. Eric had many choice phrases to express how he felt when driving today. Some of which included "Oh s**t" "Holy smokes" "Jesus Christmas" and "This is fun" as I'm getting whiplash and the stuff in the back seat is flying all over the place, and then "I need a porsche" as one left us in the dust. Definately a wild ride. And again very hard to go any more than 30-40mph so we'll be cutting over to I-5 once we are out of California.
But the trip itself is soo amazing. Hopefully you can tell by the pictures. One minute you're looking out over cliffs at the ocean crashing against rocks, then you have farmland, then redwoods, and back to ocean. At times you see the cows grazing near the water.
For lunch we stopped in a town called Gualala..I love saying that name..at had lunch in another diner like place looking at the ocean.
Some of the pictures today are from Bodega Bay, Jenner (you'll see seals in those pictures), Anchor Bay and Mendocino. And then we finally arrive at Humboldt Redwoods State Park where we drive along the Avenue of the Giants. We pulled over in a few spots to take some cool pictures and in Meyeres Flat we drove thru a tree!
Then we drove straight through to the end of our California trip in Crescent Bay. On the way we saw sheep, goats, and elk. We checked into the BayView Inn and had dinner at The Apple Peddler. By this time I'm completely stuffy and aching from head to toe so we went to the local supermarket to get some Nyquil.
Woke up, had breakfast at the Apple Peddler and went straight to Rite-Aid to get some Airborne and vitamin water and aleeve to get rid of whatever was trying to ruin me. The drive today wasn't all that scenic since we crossed over to I-5 on our way through Oregon and into Washington. It gave me a chance to read some Harry. We saw a lot of nothing really. A few nice mountain views here and there, lots of sheep, and when we got into Washington we saw what I think is Mt St Helen in the distance but it didnt come out to well in the pictures.
We finally arrived in Bellevue, WA for the Buick Nationals around 7. Lucky us we were upgraded to the Executive suite. Breakfast in the morning from 8-10:30 and hor d'oeuvres and cocktails from 5-8 only for the executive guests on the 9th floor. Of course we didnt even get to bring our bags into the hotel until we looked at what cars were there and to drool in the window at the car parts. I've never seen Eric so excited.
We walked over to a restaurant down the blocked called Sam's for dinner and on the way back looked at some more cars and drooled at the parts window again. It's like going to bed on Christmas Eve for Eric. He can't wait till those doors open in the morning.
Christmas morning for Eric. He was up and out the door before I even got out of bed, and I'm usually up before him. So I had my coffee and showered and he came back with his first bag of goodies.
Then we ate breakfast and walked round 2 for car parts. I brought that round of goodies up to the room while he walked round 3, and here I am with plenty of time to finally update this journal. I would be out by the pool cause the weather man said yesterday that today would be sunny and 82, but it actually turned out cloudy and 68.
So Eric came back from round 3 empty handed and we went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. I had the biggest most delicious burrito I've ever had and Eric had something we can't even pronounce. After lunch we walked around to look at all the beautiful cars and I found my new love. Now don't get me wrong I still love the 65 mustangs, but I absolutely fell in LOVE with a 1962 Buick Special convertible coupe. OH MY GOD!! I couldn't stay away from it. So we looked again and Eric looked at parts again and I worked in the website again.
So the sun finally came close to 4 which was a good thing because at 5 we followed the Driving tour/dinner cruise to the XXX Drive-In Restaurant. I was still stuffed from lunch so I just had a milkshake...yum. And then we walked around to look at the cars. (Angela you would have loved this!!!) We saw my new love with her top down so I fell in love with it even more!
When we got back to the hotel we walked the cars again and I went up to the room while Eric looked in the window at the parts again. So we are in the hotel room now and I am finally up to date. Guess what Eric is going to do tomorrow?
I took Nyquill again last night and slept till 10am but Eric was up at 8 to get to the swap meet. He found some more goodies and we had lunch in the hotel.
We went to the Museum of Flight which today was pretty cool. We got to walk onto a Concorde and Air Force One used by Eisenhower and Kennedy. Eric sat in the cockpit of his favorite plane, the SR71 Blackbird. The cockpit was from one of the planes that crashed on a runway.
After the museum we went to the Lockspot Cafe for dinner. For those of you who are fans of the Deadliest Catch, you know this is the spot where they filmed After the Catch. Then we went and walked the Ballard Locks. That was my first experience witnessing the locks in action. It was pretty busy when we got there so I saw a lot happening. I was pretty fascinated!
Then we drove over to Seattle Center and went to the top of the Space Needle. The views were real nice. If you look close in some of the pictures you'll see Mt Ranier in the landscape.
Day 8: Last day of our vacation :(