Sunday, March 26, 2017

California Dreamin'

March 2017 - California

Be prepared for a lot of travelling this week along with a diversified menu!

Saturday we put the finishing touches to our packing and checked out. We were supposed to picked up by King David (whom we always use in Mazatlan) for the ride to the airport. However, as we waited, along with some other people, a bellboy asked for our name and if we were waiting for King David. When we confirmed we were put into cabs, I guess King David had an issue with their bus? Worked out well and it was an easy check in and security clearance. We had great plans to go to the lounge, which the sign indicated was next to Carl's Jr on 2nd floor. You'd never know we've been here before! We went through security and discovered we had missed the lounge, drat!
Uneventful flight, not full so we had an empty seat between us.

Getting through LAX took over an hour. They have the automated machines but even the lines for that were long and winding. We still had to go to a customs officer and we separated and I had an Asian named Wong who was more interested in how long it would take us to drive to Canada. We picked up the luggage and there was a huge line to get out of the airport. Finally through, we were quickly on our way as the hotel shuttle arrived almost immediately.

Easy Hilton HHonors check in, assigned to the executive floor. We decided on room service for dinner.

Sunday after we had our complimentary breakfast we headed outside to pick up the 8:54 orange connector hop on hop off as per their schedule. We waited as we knew the LA Marathon was on so traffic would be heavy. At 10:10 we went back to the hotel room after john tried their app that showed their GPS said there would be one in an hour.
John decided to go get car, I figured we would never make it but he was back in no time. So we headed out for 9:54 bus it finally came about 10:10 and driver said due to marathon we would only have 2 lines available and he was taking us to Hollywood not Marina del Rey where I wanted to go first . Fine. Got to Hollywood and turns out the first bus would only be at 12:30
We went wandering.

Here's our tour of LA.

Definitely spring!

Won an Oscar!

Came back at 12:30 line was so long it was ridiculous.

We went for lunch at 25 Degrees in the historic Roosevelt Hotel. Fabulous fries, we had ordered a half and half order of white and sweet potato fries but it came with white potatoes we asked and she agreed and offered to bring a "small" sweet potato fries. We polished them off. I had the fried egg sandwich, an euphemism for a huge egg, bacon, cheese, tomato lettuce burger. I bit into it and the yoke went everywhere, no complaints.

Their special was:
 Allen Bros corned beef - boiled cabbage - Coleman's mustard - Kerrygold cheddar - parsleyd fires and a Guinness

Their burgers

My egg sandwich

Kale salad

the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel

Ladies' room

We headed back and then there was no line. Took the Red tour, was great didn't get off.

Came back and waited and waited for Purple line, gave up and walked back to Hollywood and Vine.
We could see the Hollywood sign.

We had a couple of beers and came back to get 6:30 to take us back to hotel around 7:15. Having a drink and emptying cameras before heading to Carl's Jr for dinner.
My michelada, one of the most popular drinks in Mexico, is a beer-based cocktail made with lime, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and often tomato (or Clamato) juice, all served over ice in a glass with a salted rim.

Monday we were late getting started and it was very overcast. After breakfast we worked on a few hotel reservations for the next few days and then got going. So nice to see our car again!

Finally got going around 11 AM and very cloudy. It got brighter for a while.

Spring has sprung!


Those are orange wild flowers.

Carpets of yellow flowers.

One has to stop at this!

At Blackwells Corner James Dean topped off his tank, then sped off to his death site. In his memory you can buy "James Dean's Last Stop" branded snacks at the mini-mart.

There are many many wineries in this area.

Click here for some amazing bigger than life people proudly displayed in the fields.

Who knew how much oil there is in California.

We check into the Ramada Limited in Monterey around 5 and relaxed until around 6:30 when we stepped out to pouring rain and drove to Fishermen's Wharf for dinner.

We went to Old Fisherman's Grotto where we had an incredible meal. The restaurant is an old fashioned dark and romantic venue.

Ahi tuna for me.

They did the haddock and shrimp without breading for John.

This may be blurry but this flourless cheesecake was amazing!

Tuesday after our complimentary breakfast we headed out in the rain. For one crazy moment we thought about taking the movie tour but it didn't start until 1 PM, it's a tour, duh we hate them, and it cost $55 each. Hell, no. We did it all and more, as we could stop where we wanted, and it only cost $10.25 the entrance fee to 17 Mile Drive.

We started out with our spring coats on, and drove to Pacific Grove, the lighthouse (closed
Tuesday and Wednesday) on a golf course. From there we took the 17 Mile Drive.

All of this needs separate posts as well.

Point Pinos Lighthouse was lit in 1855 and is the oldest existing lighthouse on the West Coast and is listed with the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The light continues to be an active aid to navigation operated by the United States Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security.

17-Mile Drive is widely recognized as one of the most scenic drives in the world. The famous coastal landmark runs through Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach, from the dramatic Pacific coastline to the majestic Del Monte Forest.

The awe-inspiring vistas and legendary sites can easily fill an entire day with exploration and discovery.

It deserves its own post, but this week has been so busy I'm behind! A few photos though.

After John bought a golf shirt at Pebble Beach we drove to Carmel for lunch and stopped at Terry's in  the Cypress Inn, a 1929 landmark property co-owned by legendary Hollywood actress Doris Day.

Steak salad for John.

BLT and sweet potato fries for me.

After walking around we stopped for coffee/tea.

Back in the car and we headed back to Monterey to Cannery Row.

Then to Fisherman's Wharf for some pics as it was pouring rain last night.

Where we ate last night.

After all that sightseeing we ordered pizza for dinner, one gluten free and one regular.

Wednesday on the road again to Solvang. We started out along Highway 1, even though there were signs saying the road was closed at a certain point. It didn't matter, we had great weather and better views for a while.

By Big Sur, after many stops, it started to rain and the road was closed due to this.
The center span fell on Saturday and the northern span was demolished March 16.

No never mind, we turn back to Monterey, this added an additional hour to our journey. 
It was also pouring rain by now.

We make a stop at Mission San Miguel and it starts to rain again as we are leaving.

Rain, sun, rain was the story of the day. But it never puts a damper on our plans.

We then drive to San Simeon, home of the Hearst Castle. We had stopped here in 1997 but it was closed as it was Thanksgiving. And, trust me, you can not see anything from the road.

Hearst Castle, built by William Randolph Hearst, is a National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark mansion. Words defy the massiveness of this home.

Hearst Castle, perched high on La Cuestra Encantada (“the enchanted hill”) nine miles north of Cambria. The closest thing California has to a grand European palace—and an architectural testament to monomaniacal excel—this sprawling, opulent property is one of the state’s absolute must-sees.

We did the Cottages and Kitchen tour, everything else was sold out by the time we got there. We couldn't buy online as we couldn't gauge what time we would get here, and are glad we didn't since we spent over two hours on Highway 1 with the detour back.

John created this from a  photo in the visitors' Centre. 

From there we had a two hour drive to Solvang.

the historic madonna inn opened in 1958.

Solvang Danish pronunciation: [ˈsoːlʋɑŋˀ]; Danish for "sunny field")  is located in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Solvang was founded in 1911 on almost 9,000 acres (3,600 ha) of the Rancho San Carlos de Jonata Mexican land grant, by a group of Danes who traveled west to establish a Danish colony far from the midwestern winters. The city is home to a number of bakeries, restaurants, and merchants offering a taste of Denmark in California. The architecture of many of the façades and buildings reflects traditional Danish style. There is a copy of the famous Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen, as well as one featuring the bust of famed Danish fable writer Hans Christian Andersen. A replica of Copenhagen's Round Tower or Rundetårn in the scale 1:3 was finished in 1991 and can be seen in the town center.

This town is also worthy of its own post.

We are two nights at the Wine Country Inn.

Our room has a fireplace. There is also an honor bar, with wine at $18 a bottle.

We head out to dinner and decide on the Solvang Brewing Company.

I was two times unlucky, the meatballs and the schnitzel was sold out, What is it about meatballs and me? Long story...
So we both had the sausages , John minus the pretzel.
Danish medisterpolse, beer poached bratwurst and chef’s choice sausage, with Danish red cabbage & garlic mashed potatoes. Served with house made ale fondue, mustards and a soft baked pretzel. 17.95


After a delicious complimentary breakfast we set out to visit some of the areas around.

We stopped in the town of Santa Inez.

We stopped at a saddle maker and had a delightful chat with the third generation owner, Juan.

I found a top at "Back at the Ranch".

Los Olivos was next. First stop was Dreamcote to sample their hard cider and walked out with two bottles.

Picked up some cheese for dinner.

The most incredible garden shop I have ever seen! We spent ages in here.

And that white parasol is coming back to Canada!

A stop at the Mission Santa Inez.

Back in Solvang, we park the car and set out to explore the town, have lunch and taste some wine.
Tuna salad and a bottle of wine.


More wine tasting and a purchase at Sante.

Based on a recommendation from Eric at Sante we picked up a coconut cheddar cheese, as a Frenchman, he said it is crazy good.

Back to the hotel, eventually and we relax and then head down to sample their wine (and buy a bottle) and have some cheese and conversation with some other guests.

Dinner in our room.

Friday after another delicious breakfast, they buy their pastries from a local Danish bakery we pack up and head out after discovering we left the car roof open all afternoon and night. And that was before any wine.

We were going to head to Bakersfield by Santa Maria but the desk clerk suggested to me that we go by Paso Robles to avoid all the semis. AND that just happened to mean we could visit San Luis Obispo!

Lots of artsy cows around town.

The mission.

Lunch with lots of gluten free options and delicious!

I went into Barnes and Nobles to get a cookbook that is unavailable in Canada.

Image result for pete evans gut health book

Back to the car for a two hour drive along highway 58 which was a very interesting drive.

WHAT!! We stopped and backed up for this sight. We crossed the highway and another car drove by, stopped and also backed up. The man says 'you wont' see that in Toronto" I say "definitely not". Then he asks if we really are from the city of Toronto and I say yes. He goes on to say he grew up in Richmond Hill back when it only had 3,000 people. Not now...
He now lived in California.

We get to the Hilton Garden Inn in Bakersfield and relax until our 9PM reservation at Buck Owens Crystal Palace, the earliest I could get. 

Johnny Owens, Buck's son was performing and walked around later making sure everyone was fine.

He sang his father's hit The Streets of Bakersfield.

Chicken fried steak for me.

John said his steak was delicious!

A second band came on, The Nightlife Band.

Young or old, everyone was out. I saw families of four generations up on the dance floor.

Whew! I'm exhausted writing this post and it is late. Saturday evening at 9 PM pacific time.


Saturday Hilton room service steak and fries and chicken fried rice Stoneypoint wine

Sunday Carl's Jr burgers

Monday Monterey ahi tuna for me haddock and shrimp for John

Tuesday ordered pizza

Wednesday Solvang sausages mashed potatoes and cabbage

Thursday cheese and crackers

Friday chicken fried steak and steak


Too late to recap for know, suffice it to say nothing got finished this week.


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  1. Your trip looks fun but exhausting. I've been to all those places but not all at one time! Enjoy the rest of your travels!

    best... mae at

  2. Wow!!! What a week. So gorgeous. You are really taking advantage of every second. I love it! I haven't been to California in years and after looking at your photos, I want to plan a trip!


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