Wow, we are sorry for getting so behind on our posts! But we promise there are a few to come soon, so we get caught up…not like we’ve been caught up at any point during this trip.
We last left you in Huntington Beach on Monday, August 1st. We discovered that the U.S. Open of Surfing was taking place, so we watched the competitors for a little while, then wandered into town to grab a bite to eat, then made our way to a Starbucks to do some work and then retired at Chez Walmart, one of the fanciest hotels in Huntington Beach.
On Tuesday, we made our way back to Huntington Beach in the morning because some big names were competing, including Kelly Slater, Mike’s favorite surfer and one of the most iconic surfers of all time. We watched a number of big names go and then Kelly was on! Check out some of the action below!
Fun fact about Kelly and another surfing competition: the Quicksilver Pro Tour is currently taking place in Long Beach, NY (where we lived for the past four years!) and the town is full of the best surfers in the world right now, competing for the biggest prize ever awarded in a surf competition. We (especially Mike) wish we were home to see it!
After grabbing some lunch, Mike went in for a surf and Kaitlin went for a run along the water (something that hasn’t happened much on this trip). Mike actually found himself surfing with Joel Parkinson, a world-champion surfer. They even talked for a couple of minutes! We went back to Starbucks later and then grabbed dinner and went back to Walmart to sleep.
On Wednesday, we visited another eco-friendly surfboard manufacturer, called Eco BoardWorks, in Hawthorne. They have a really great space where they create the boards, meant to be inviting to those who want to come watch the process. It was a lot of fun to meet them and we encourage you to check out Mike’s post about their company on evergreensessions.com, coming soon! We then headed to Santa Monica, where we walked the pier and Mike went surfing, while Kaitlin relaxed in a park above the beach. It was then off to West Hollywood to see Chris’ brother, Grant, who films and produces documentary-style reality shows for TV. He took us to a nice restaurant near his apartment, which was across the street from Chateau Marmont and we had our first quasi-celebrity sighting – the side of Mena Suvari’s face. Grant spotted her, but Kaitlin only partially saw her face as we walked by. Grant then graciously let us stay in his apartment for the night and we had a lot of fun hanging out with him and his roommate.
On Thursday morning, it was time to hit the road, so we first drove to Ojai to check out the area (where we saw a woman go through a McDonald’s drive-thru on a horse) and then headed back to Ventura to check out the Patagonia store and headquarters, a company which Mike has read about extensively and admires. Mike then attempted to surf, but the waves weren’t that great, so we drove to Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is an awesome town with a very extensive main street and the beautiful campus of UCSB, which is right near the water. We highly recommend stopping there if you’re driving the coast of Cali! We stayed at Gaviota State Park that night and almost blew away from the winds, but made it through the night!
On a cold and rainy Friday morning, we drove to Pismo Beach, but there were unfortunately not many good waves, so we continued onto San Luis Obispo, an organic and artsy town, somewhat inland. We had a nice lunch and then drove to a nearby winery on the San Luis Obispo Wine Trail. It had turned into a beautiful day at that point and we enjoyed sitting in the adirondack chairs on the lawn, soaking in some warm sun and looking out on the vineyard. It was amazing!
After our winery stop, we kept on going to Los Osos, where we stopped at Go Westy, a company dedicated to Westfalias – fixing them up, selling materials for them, answering questions about them – whatever you need! We bought a “Westfalia” sticker for the back of the van, since ours is coming off. It was on the road again after that, as we continued up the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway, something everyone should try to see!
It gets pretty remote as you head up the coast after San Luis Obispo, and campgrounds are scarce, so we ended up sleeping in the parking lot of a small hotel/gas station/convenience store that night, which the owner allowed (we weren’t the only ones).
On Saturday, we retraced our steps a little down the coast to visit Hearst Castle, the dream home of William Randolph Hearst, designed by famed architect Julia Morgan. It was never truly completed (based on the plans), but work ceased in 1947 and the estate, including the main house, three guest houses, the grand pool, and tennis courts, among other features, are breathtaking. It sits atop what was originally known as “Camp Hill,” overlooking the ocean and San Simeon and blends many architectural styles and boasts an unbelievable collection of European and Mediterranean art. We lucked out and the clouds went away by the time we were done with our tour of the inside, so we were able to enjoy the views from outside under the sunshine.
We left Hearst Castle mid-afternoon and started up the coast again. Before we made it very far, we stopped to admire some elephant seals who were sunning themselves on the sand.
We continued up the coast, through the Big Sur area and drove through the beautiful town of Carmel-by-the-Sea and then arrived at our campground in the evening. One small problem: we were unaware that the park/campground was hosting a large Christian Rock Festival that weekend and they were pretty much booked. However, they found us an available spot, and Bessie even looked out on the main stage, where we saw TobyMac perform in the rain.
On Sunday morning, we got some work done at Starbucks, drove through Monterey and then headed to Santa Cruz, where we’ll pick up next time!