Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Last Minute Labor Day Road Trip

Flying by the seat of my pants has never really been my thing, but it's something the B does, so I'm getting a little more flexible. Overall, planning my life out a less has been a good thing, but sometimes, it can be a little painful.

Like when it's Saturday of Labor Day weekend and you decide you want to drive up the California coast the next day. That being said, it was only painful because we needed a hotel room for Sunday night, and there wasn't much to be had in Pismo or Shell Beach. We ended up in a two-star motel - yuck. It was not nearly as clean as I would like, and you had to run the hot water only for about five minutes in order to get it hot. Honestly, I would have camped rather than stay at this place (shhh).

Shell Beach

The rest of our California coast adventure was great. On the way to Pismo Beach, we stopped at Firestone Walker Brewing Company and the Fess Parker Winery for tastings. On Monday, we decided to go to Hearst Castle before heading to Paso Robles.

Hearst Castle

This was my first time at Hearst Castle. It is an amazing place, and if you ever find yourself driving along the PCH, make the time to stop there. You do need at least two hours though if you want to actually tour. You park down at the visitor center and board a bus for a five-mile ride up to the main house. The temperatures at the visitor center were pretty cool, but it was hot up at the castle!

The fog hovers over San Simeon

From the castle you over look San Simeon and the Pacific Ocean if it's a clear day. For us, the fog stayed right over the coastline, so you could only see a little bit of ocean. We called ahead and made reservations over the phone, which was probably a good thing considering how crowded it was at Hearst Castle.

The Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle

After the castle, we drove to Paso Robles and did two more wine tastings. One at Rotta Winery and one at Wild Horse Winery. I have not done wine tastings in Paso Robles before, and I enjoyed it. It is much more low key than Napa Valley. Plus, tastings only cost $5 and at Rotta, you get 12 tastings! If you ever end up at Rotta, I hope Gale is working. She is hilarious!

Oops, almost forgot about food. In Pismo we ate at Mo's Smokehouse BBQ for dinner and in Paso Robles we ate at Farmstand 46 for lunch. Both places were good, but I especially enjoyed Farmstand 46. I had the Goat sandwich (actually pork, not goat), and it was quite yummy. Just don't sit outside on a hot day because the yellow jackets will start buzzing around you and your food.

Sunset in the Los Padres National Forest

It was a very nice two-day adventure in California, and thanks to our iPhones, we routed ourselves around traffic on the 101 on the way home. These less-traveled highways took us through the various terrains that make California so unique, as well as through the Los Padres National Forest. It's only been two days, and I feel like hopping in the car again.