Sunday, November 28, 2021

Final Thanksgiving Road trip

This will be my final post for my Thanksgiving road trip. It was perfect. Simple. Absolutely beautiful scenery and close to (my new) home. 

I created a short video to help me remember the sounds of this adventure (no background music added). If you like to hear the ocean, you’ll enjoy. 

Thanks for following along! I added some stats for all my stat fans. 

 -Rae Ann

Final Stats: 
  • Miles: 808
  • Gas cost: $128.79
  • Gallons of gas: 25.745
  • Miles/gallon: 31.16 (Mini-Cooper!)
  • Average cost per gallon: $5.00 (ouch!)
  • Lodging (four nights): $389.10
  • Car rental (Turo): $424.97 (insurance was $110.58, as I don’t own a car and therefore do not have insurance)
  • Breathtaking views: Too many to count
  • Views on this blog: 228,014

Saturday, November 27, 2021

A Friend and Santa Barbara

I slept great and ventured out around 8:30 toward Solvang. Solvang is located in the Santa Ynez valley with Danish-style architecture. It is as if you are being transported to Europe! Ten (10) years ago I met a woman, Tatiana, at a knitting retreat who lives in Solvang. We met for coffee and she took me to have their famous Aebleskiver, which is a donut like bunch of yumminess.

I could have visited Tatiana all day but Santa Barbara was calling my name. So I filled up with $4.60/gallon gas (so cheap!) and made my way south. I joined a walking tour of Funk Town, what used to be an art district of sorts in Santa Barbara. I love walking tours. You learn a ton, get great tips, and often meet others. 

I walked to the beach and realized why Santa Barbara attracts the wealthy. You have sun, sand, and mountains. Beautiful!

I quickly realized I only had some Danish donuts and a Diet Dew for the day! So I went to Stearns Wharf for dinner, a glass of wine and a beautiful view of the sunset.

Before heading to my Airbnb I made one last stop at McDonnell’s for their famous ice cream that is still made as it was 70 years ago. Something about 85.5% cream…blah, blah, blah. All I know is it was damn good ice cream.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Yes Sir Big Sur

I spent all day driving down highway 1 along the coast and…oh…my…beautiful! I have so many pictures! It took me nine (9) hours to drive from Carmel to Santa Maria because I stopped so often. Around 3pm I started to panic as I was still a couple hours from my Airbnb. 

Pro-tip: There are a ton of State Parks along the way so save your pass because the first will cover all. After filling up with $5.18/gallon gas (!!) my first stop was Point Lobos Natural Reserve. It took my breath away and I didn’t realize I had 8 more hours of it. 

People get on my nerves at tourist stops and Bixby Bridge was filled with idiots so I continued down the road a bit and captured it from the other side. 

Andrew Molera State Park was a nice walk to the beach with a river crossing without shoes. 

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park was my first glimpse of Redwoods. This is the most south they grow, and therefore smallest. I can’t wait to drive north at some point to see the giants. 

I stopped for lunch at Nepenthe, which had a lovely view. 

I couldn’t miss Moonstone Beach with lovely colored rocks. These pictures don’t do it justice. 

I was losing the sun but caught the sunset at Pismo Beach. 

Wow! What a day. Just…beautiful. 

I am staying at an Airbnb in Orcutt, just outside of Santa Maria. I will sleep well tonight. I can’t believe I live in this state. 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m not much of a holiday person but Thanksgiving makes me reflect upon what I’m grateful for. I’m thankful most for my health, the fact my children like me, and all the people in my life. 

Today started waking to an alarm, which I like to avoid, but my parking garage was only open between 10:00-11:00am due to the holiday. I drove through some parts of San Francisco, including across the Golden Gate Bridge. 

I’m not spending much time in areas I can access by public transportation but I thought it would be fun to drive across. It was. I jumped on Hwy 1 and my first stop was this Taco Bell in Pacifica. You might ask why a Taco Bell but it has the best view and serves alcohol! I thought that would be fun. Probably good they were closed because starting to drink at 11am is never good. 

But it gave me an opportunity to watch the surfers and oh my goodness…I have never seen so many surfers! Look closely at my video. Those aren’t seals. I tried surfing once…once…in Hawaii. It was so freaking hard! I admire everyone out there (although I noticed many of them are sitting on their boards). 

I continued down the coast and my next stop was a swing that hangs off an old pier in Davenport. When I planned this I wanted to make my way down the steep cliff and get an Instagram-worthy photo but…I chickened out. The tide was high and I would have been soaked and there wasn’t anyone to take my photo. Excuses. 

So I took this one instead with my iPhone Watch remote…note the steep cliff in the back. That is what I would have navigated down to the swing. 

This coastline is just beautiful and the weather was perfect, as always. My next stop was the Monarch Sanctuary in Monterey. Monarch’s migrate to this area every winter as the weather is perfect. Monarchs aren’t stupid. Zoom in on my video if you can. The Monarch population is severely down but it was crazy how they were fluttering around. 

I checked into my Airbnb in Carmel. I took a 12 minute (power) nap and went to The Fish Hopper in Cannery Row because I wanted a traditional Thanksgiving meal and this was the only one under $100. California isn’t cheap. If the Monarchs had to pay rent they would land elsewhere. 

The place was packed with huge tables of families. I was the only single person. Two families asked me to join them. I’ve been dining alone in restaurants for six years now, and although it feels uncomfortable at times I would have rather been alone than sitting with the woman that bitched at her husband all night.

I stopped at the Ghirardelli store and picked up a big of minis. If you want to know how many of those things you can eat before you vomit, I think I tested it tonight. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I am truly grateful for my life and everyone in it. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Thanksgiving Road Trip

I’m taking advantage of a long weekend and heading down California’s Hwy 1, where I’ll turn back around in Santa Barbara. I’m trying out Apple Map’s “My Guides” which tracks your stops. I think this is my first solo road trip and I prefer being the navigator over the driver so I’m hoping this app helps. 

I’m on a year-long journey of using public transportation only so I picked up a car via Turo. Think “Airbnb, but for cars”. The owner lived in San Jose an hour bus ride away. It is a cute little Mini-Cooper!

I admit I was a bit nervous at first driving. I haven’t been behind a wheel since August. I may need to drive more often as I don’t like that feeling. 

I stopped at In-n-Out, my first fast food since being in California. I LOVE fast food burgers and my neighborhood doesn’t have any begging me to walk in (probably good). We don’t have In-n-Out in Minnesota and it was…ok. Not sure I will be going back. 

I made my way to San Francisco where I went to Twin Peaks to check out the view. I must admit I teared up once arriving. Beautiful!! I love cities and skylines.

I navigated my way to my hostel via the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and passed by The Painted Ladies. I love this cities’ architecture. 

I checked into my hostel, where I’m in a shared bunk room for only $33 ($1 for a towel as I don’t like to pack one out wet). What a deal! When traveling solo, hostels are always a deal. Over two people, not so much. I don’t often post videos but you have to check these out. This place is so cute and I have a fire escape that has an awesome view!

My main goal for coming here tonight was to see one of my favorite bands from Minneapolis, Yam Haus. When I bought the tickets in July I bought two thinking I may know someone that wanted to join me but I didn’t have any takers. So on my way out for the night I stopped in the hostel’s kitchen and asked if anyone wanted to go to a show. Meet Jessie…

It was SO fun to see Yam Haus! They were great and the venue, The Great American Music Hall, was beautiful. 

Jessie and I went to a club afterwards and returned to the hostel to eat my leftover dim sum. It was a really good day. Experiences are amplified with company.