So this morning we had a leisurely breakfast and girded our loins for Adventures With Freeway Construction. and northward we went.
I decided to wait until after rush hour to try and avoid it--and not be one of those people that helps clog the roads at rush hour when they don't need to. This worked out pretty well, and pretty soon we were in Mailbu.
Road construction ended up being the running theme, and running joke, for the entire trip--a marker as to whether we were still in California. We wondered where California, chin-deep in budget woes and eliminating school budgets right and left, suddenly got so much money...but I suppose it was likely federal funds. Malibu as usual was crowded and you had to play 'Don't Run Over The Surfer' continuously.
We stopped by the Adamson House in Malibu, which I've wanted to see ever since Huell Howser did a segment on it for 'California's Gold' years ago. Built in 1929 by Rhoda (of Adohr Farms, the large dairy--Adohr spelled backwards is...?) and Merrit Adamson (her family had the original Spanish land grant for Malibu), it is a jewel, plain and simple. It sports the finest examples of Malibu tile anywhere. The place is coated with the stuff.
Unfortunately we didn't have time to take the tour inside, but we wandered the exterior and gardens. The view from the front garden of Malibu lagoon.
Loads of hummingbirds and butterflies, the gardens are gorgeous.
The front of the house.
The front door.
Cool details are everywhere. The more you look, the more you see.
One of the garages.
Even the drinking fountains stayed with the Malibu tile theme!
The side of the house, fountains are everywhere...
Seed pods from the Bunya tree from Australia. Heavy, football-sized pods that can drop on you from 45 meters up. Don't walk under the tree!
A shed door.
The side of the house...
The Adamsons used to bathe their dogs and other animals in this ourdoor tub.
Fanciest back door-tradesmen's entrance ever.
Along the side of the house is this section of the floor of the original Malibu tile factory (which was down the road a bit), only in existence for a few years. This floor section was dug up years later where the factory used to stand and transported here.
Detail of tilework on the back porch area.
Two old patio tables just sitting and gathering leaves and dirt.
Continuing along the back and side of the house to the rear of the home, here is the view you suddenly get. Go left to the pool and more gardens, right to the back patio of the house.
Sadly they had the large, 8 pointed star-shaped fountain roped off and this is as close as we could get. The surfers probably had a better view.
These windows looked out onto the back patio.
Another fountain on the other side of the patio.
The back of the house. This reminds me strongly of the album cover for 'Hotel California'.
I really would have liked to see this when it was new, the little shapes still partially covered by wood look like happy little dolphins or whales to me.
Even the porthole skylights were fancy!
The fence and gate to the pool is awesome.
One thing about Spanish Tile roofs--just keep adding layers!
After this we were off again, heading more inland. The kid loved the seismic nature of the hills and the tunnel.
The terrain changes from beach to chaparral.
We stopped in Oxnard for lunch and found a Wendy's...which, amusingly, smelled like cow fertilizer inside, just kind of a pervasive odor. We had planned a stop at a cool koi farm in Santa Barbara, but were unable to find the place and I fear it might be gone. We then took a small detour to Solvang, along the way stopping at Ostrich Land, a little mom and pop tourist trap where you could feed the birds and buy stuff from their gift shop.
Follow the rules! Detailed instructions on how NOT to get bit, those big birds are wily.
Fun ostrich and emu themed stuff in the gift shop.
Sadly they wanted $5 each to even see the birds and another $4 each to feed them, so we took a pass. They have the birds well hidden from the road so you can't get even a glimpse of them without paying. I think they'd get more people in if they'd let you get a peek at the birds.
On to Solvang, where rather strangely for just after 6PM in summer, most of the shops were closed already.
Cute little animated bunny cook outside of the ice cream shop we visited.
Oh, well. North! We get to our stop for the night in Cayucos--a tiny little beach town--and the Cayucos Motel, around 8PM. It's an old-school 6 unit motel that has been done over charmingly. This place is adorable and I can't say enough good things about it. Our room had fresh flowers and a little 'welcome' card with our name handwritten on it. We were literally about 50 yards from the beach so we got to listen to the surf all night.
This little hand-colored map of Cayucos hung about the bed.
Even though it was night, there was a full moon and I agree with the kid that playing on the beach in the moonlight was a moral imperative--but dinner first, so off we went. The motel is smart and puts a basket of rag towels for wiping the sand off of you and other cleaning purposes in each room, plus they have a beach shower to hose off in alongside the pile of beach toys they have for their guests.
went down the one main drag to Schooner's Wharf restaurant where we sat out on the patio. The kid had
steamed clams and I had clam chowder and an awesome salad, along with some of the best
sourdough bread ever while we watched the waves. After that we stopped
at the only other place in town that was open, a large liquor store, and
got ourselves a flashlight to explore the beach with. The store was
one of those old-school types that specialized in the collectable booze
bottles, we had a great time checking out all of the different shapes. The skull shaped tequila bottles are especially beautiful.
One bottle in particular on the counter caught my eye.
*smirk* "Hey kid, look at this one!"
Kid gives it a puzzled stare, but cannot figure out the shape. The counter guy is quietly watching, waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's a Krugy.
"C'mon, you took what they oh-so-euphemistically call 'Health' class."
Kid stares, still thinking. Then it dawns.
"EEUUUUWWWWW!!! Are you kidding me?!"
Counter guy and I both bust out laughing. Kid is still freaked.
"Eew Eew EEW!"
Sadly the price is a bit rich for my blood, so her father misses out on a souvenir.
The kid had a great time playing on the beach, which was perfect--sandy but only semi-tame, it still offered rocks to climb and clumps of seaweed washed ashore to explore. She has one huge strand in particular that she drags around with her, then hides near a rock later on to play with again later. In amongst the seaweed we discovered hordes of lovely little nocturnal silvery creatures with bright orange feelers and legs--California Beach Fleas, related to the Roly-Poly pillbugs you find in the garden. They come out at night to feed on the seaweed, burrowing into the sand by day, and jump an amazing distance when disturbed. In parts of California these little creatures have become extinct due to the heavy human use of the beaches and the grooming of the sand that is done there to make the beaches 'towel friendly'.
In with the kelp and the beach fleas we found tons of 'By The Wind Sailors', a beautiful purple kinda-sorta cousin to jellyfish, ethereal little creatures that float on the surface of the water and go where the wind takes them. California is having a mass beaching of the little critters right now, which quicky lose their bright purple color and die once stranded on the beach. They don't really have a dangerous or very painful sting, but the kid wore shoes anyway. A few other people were sitting around campfires on the beach, but mostly we had it to ourselves. After playing on the beach and getting thoroughly muddy/sandy, we head back to the room around midnight.
After a hot shower, I'm sitting and leafing through the motel's hospitality binder, which includes a page on what to do if the warning siren for the Diablo Canyon nuke plant down the road sounds, and cheerfully describes what kind of radiation dose you can expect if the thing goes south. I'm sure it's required to be in there, but it's still jarring to come across.
The kid secures a promise from me to play on the beach again the next morning after breakfast, then we throw open the windows and drift off to sleep to the sound of the surf.