Saturday, March 19, 2011

Venice Beach to Carlsbad

My Starbucks Office Mate
An attorney in Los Angeles

We worked together at our tiny table for hours.
Say what you will about Starbucks,
I think it's great they offer free WiFi!

After all my hours of work on this blog yesterday, I finally got on the road to Carlsbad.  

I was immediately stuck in stop and go LA traffic.

Uff Dah.  This is going to take awhile....

Wrong turn, and now I'm in line to enter Camp Pendelton.


Although there were armed (and good looking) guards
I was treated very kindly and allowed to pull a u-turn.

Another wrong turn 5 minutes later, and I'm at the Oceanside Harbor.
Beautiful boating community!
If Kristen wasn't waiting on me, I would have stopped at the yacht club here.
One day, I'd like to crew on a sailboat like this...

Sailboats and Palm Trees.  Nice lifestyle....

Back in traffic - almost there..
I think I prefer the wilderness route.

The beach route.  I am so curious, but can't do it today.
Perhaps another time...and look!  Camping!

Legoland Headquarters

I'd like to go here and see the Museum of Making Music....

Arrival at Kristen's house in Carlsbad

My beautiful friend comes out to greet me with a big smile.

Looking good as always!

My luxurious bed in Kristen's guest room.
Sure beats sleeping in the back of the truck...

Kristen's beautiful daughter Jessie and her buddy.
Oh, to be 15 again!

Excited and going out to a movie with friends!  How fun.

We love our friends!

Jessie in her private place.  Love the Cat!

Out on the town in Carlsbad.  Check out the bartender's green nails!
They match the Hypnotiq martinis she just made for us.  Yum.

My beautiful friend, Kristen.

Just look at that smile!  I love basking in it.

Nice lamp in a gift shop in Carlsbad Village

Party time in the Village

Mixing more drinks at a different place in the village.

Lemoncello martinis.  Drink Up!
Girls like this are everywhere in California.
Gorgeaus, smart, friendly.  Eat your hearts out guys!

Heading back to the car after drinks and dancing to a Hip Hop beat.
Nice alley, huh?

Ok, time to head out.  Planning to buy a wetsuit today for my surfing lessons coming up in a couple of weeks.  Should be back in the Anza by late afternoon.  Can't wait to see the herd again!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Scenic Trip Surfing Back to the Herd

After leaving my generous friend Dennis and his warm hospitality, I headed back to the coast highway.  The sun was shining and the travel was glorious.  I've driven this route before, including in December when I had the horses in tow.  This time, I decided to take the time to stop whenever I felt drawn to pull over.  What a difference!  I met people, I stopped to do yoga in the sunshine with a view of the ocean, I stopped and hiked, and just took the time I needed to enjoy this spectacular place.

South of Santa Cruz, the terrain quickly becomes curvy and hilly, leading to the famous Big Sur area.  I passed the cliffs and made it past the stretch of highway south of Carmel which collapsed shortly afterward, the entire road for 100 feet slipping into the sea far below.  It is now closed for months of strenuous repair by engineers who will have their hands full rebuilding the popular highway driven by many tourists from all over the world.

Coastline near the area of highway one collapse
Signs of warning at the tenuous and treacherous nature of the coastal forces.
More warnings of the risk
Yet, just past the signs lies a path with new footprints to follow...
So of course I hike out to the edge...
Further South, I come to this amazing bridge, the Rocky Creek Bridge,
built in 1932 by enterprising crews of hardworking, risk taking men.
I want my photo taken, and ask a stranger to "do the stupid tourist thing for me".  So Randy is kind enough to oblige, while David invites me to come and "have a party".  We hit it off, and stood there near the ocean, learning about each other's lives.  Randy owns a big spread with his brothers nearby, and invites me back with my horses.  I will definitely take him up on it!  What a beautiful place.
Friendly Fellows, Randy and David
Locals who grew up in Carmel.  Hardworking modern day risk takers.
Somewhere around here is where the road collapsed.

Happy to be here!
An even bigger bridge to the south of the first one.
After a pleasant visit with Randy and David, we exchange contact info and go our separate ways.  I head south, they head home to dinner.  

Another beautiful view along the drive.
Looking back north

Parking "Bessie" to take photos
Bumper sticker from the Shambhala Center in Colorado.
Reminds me to stay in the present moment.
So many photo opportunities.  This is one of my favorites.
I drive most of the day, stopping and enjoying all of it.  Finally, it's almost six, and I'm thinking about stopping for the night, when this comes into view....

Big Sur Roadhouse offers warm hospitality and AWESOME fresh fruit wine margaritas.

I arrive right in the middle of happy hour!  Yay!

My hosts are the owner, and her brother, who manages the restaurant for her.  They have such a nice gig going on!  Love the copper bar, the famous chicken, and the location.  New friends along the trail.

Tony, the roadhouse manager.
His good looks alone are worth stopping for, right?
copper bar at the roadhouse
Famous chicken looking for scraps on the patio

The famous chicken.  Disappeared unnoticed, then was mailed back.
He awaits your next visit.
You can stay at this favorite spot across the road.
Honeymooners love the romance of it,
but your bride may only have eyes for Tony.
Highest gas prices I've seen.  Whoa.
View from Ragged Point Lodge
After leaving Tony and his sis, I head south again.  Now that it's dark, I decide to stop for the night at Ragged Point, a nice hotel on the cliffs.  Above is the view from the hike along the property.  They do a lot of weddings here I guess.  I guess I can see why.

Treebones restaurant
Next morning, I decided to drive back north again.  I was able to schedule a massage at Esalen for 4:00 pm, giving me time to explore the section I missed in the dark.  I am so glad I retraced my steps!  My friend Dennis has told me to stop and check out Treebones, a lodging experience that allows you to stay in a big Yurt!  They have 10 I think, nestled high on the hill overlooking that rugged Big Sur Coast.  Wow.  Swimming Pool, organic garden, gourmet dining, and a separate sushi bar.  Just lovely!

For a truly unique experience,
you can try the "human nest" at Treebones resort.
My dream house!
After leaving Treebones, I head north to Esalen for my massage.  The original hippie place for alternative thought and non-denominational spirituality, it has long held a reputation for generating wisdom, developing improved massage techniques, advancing fields of psychology, and in general, sending good energy out in the world.  It is also the site of sacred hot springs which flow into tubs overlooking the amazing surf and coastline.  What an experience.

Open showers perch over the ocean.  Most refreshing shower ever!
Hot tubs and relaxing - clothing optional!
Interesting walk to the baths below
Similar shot.
Just one of the many incredible gardens at Esalen
Continuing south the next day, after a somewhat uncomfortable night in the truck.  I must remember to always take a pad and bag in case I end up without lodging in the future.  I stopped several times to stretch and do yoga along the way, eventually stopping at several famous beaches.

Mussel Shoals is one of many surfing beaches I have heard about for years.
Interesting stop.
The pier at Mussel Shoals
Only experienced surfers brave these waters.
Homes along the coast of Mussel Shoals.
I'm sure there are some celebrities living here....

Mussel Shoals gardener

Surfer getting ready to hit the beach at Refugio
One of the most beautiful beaches was Refugio.  Wow, I just loved the lawns and palms.  I got a few good shots of surfers, but need to work on my technique in the action category.  I also met Detective Bernard, a surfing police officer (off duty) who was there to check out the swells.  We struck up a conversation and I learned that he was born in Hawaii and that we share many things in common beyone a love of Hawaiian music and food.  Bernard teaches surfing to injured and handicapped veterans, firefighters, and policemen.  He told me he has taught people with paraplegia, missing limbs, and even the blind to surf.  I figured if he can teach them to overcome their limitations, perhaps he can show me how to do it.  We make arrangements for lessons and exchange contact info for the future.  Awesome!  Learning to be a better surfer (I've only accomplished limited long boarding in Costa Rica) is at the top of my bucket list.  Bernard assures me that I can manage this goal with his help.  If the surfing doesn't work out, maybe he can teach me some cool chords on my guitar...I just love the old Hawaiian songs.

New Friends
Detective Bernard, the Surfing Police Officer

I think this is called hanging 10?
Surfer at Refugio Beach California

Surfer gets ready to get wet.
All ages enjoy the difficult and exhilarating sport.
For some, it's a religion.
Respecting each other on the wave is a must.

One day, this will be me!

REI on Santa Monica Boulevard
I finally arrived in Santa Monica, where I had put a new "massage tent" on hold at REI, on Santa Monica Boulevard.  I am planning to offer a wilderness massage experience soon, packing supplies in on horseback.  I needed a lightweight shelter for my table, and REI had just the thing.  The place is such a candy store for me!!!

After my purchase, I was delighted to partake of the happy hour (it's my thing!) at the Sushi restaurant across the street.  After yummy green lipped mussels, seared yellowtail, and seaweed salad, I enjoyed a small carafe of hot sake and green tea ice cream before heading to Venice Beach, which turned out to be just a short distance away.

Finally arrived in Venice Beach
Spent the night in a youth Hostel around the corner from Danny's.
What a fun place on St. Patrick's Day!  
After a pleasant time with new friends I met on the street in Venice, including a St. Patrick's Day drink with Michael, the friendly Tai Kwon Do Black Belt and bouncer at Danny's, I slept well in my room at a youth hostel, sharing a room with 3 other young women from Russia.

I have spent hours at Starbuck's today, whose free wifi makes it possible for me to share this blog with you.  I hope you enjoy reading these stories and insights from my life.  Please come back often and leave comments or send me an email if you are so inspired.  Hearing from you is my favorite thing about the blog, as you know by now.

It's time now to head south again.  My good friend Kristen awaits my arrival at her home in Carlsbad, north of San Diego.  More adventures await!  My plan is to return the horses at Anza Borrego in the morning.  It is time to prepare for our audition for "America's Favorite Trail Horse", April 9th, at Monty Roberts Ranch in Solvang, CA.  We have much to do, and only three weeks to get it done!