Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Many trips now start off with the question of mode of transportation...should we drive or fly? Here is our thought process on that question.
UPDATE: Please see our update at the bottom of this article.
Driving can be a good choice, especially if you're not going too far. In fact, for trips of 500 miles or less, it's pretty much our default transportation. Here are some of the Pros of driving, followed by some of the Cons:
You can pretty much take whatever you want. You don't have to travel as light as possible like you do when flying. Shower chairs, extra pillows, pool toys, sports equipment...it's not the problem to take them like it would be on a plane.
If you're a wheelchair user, you can have your own personal car with you and don't have to worry about how you'll get around at your destination. If you're a power chair user, this goes double for you.
It's usually cheaper (at least for the shorter distances).
With all the early check-in required at airports these days, baggage claim, and transfers, travel time can be pretty competitive too for shorter distances.
You'll have a more comfortable seat when traveling.
You don't have to share your car with 100+ strangers in close quarters.
If you get tired of the drive, you can pull over to take a break, eat, stretch your legs, etc.
You get to see more scenery along the way and when something interesting pops up, you can stop to check it out.
You can travel on your own schedule.
Cons - If it's a long distance, you'll have a long drive...probably boring too.
If it's a real long distance, say over 1,000 miles, you probably won't save money over flying.
It's up to you to keep the car clean.
You're at risk of an auto accident...much more common than plane crashes.
There are some places...like San Francisco or New York...where having a car is more of a handicap than not having one.
You can get stuck in traffic.
If you need to go to the bathroom, you generally have to wait until one comes along.
Flying used to be much better but since 9/11, deregulation, mergers, and bankruptcies, it has gotten to the point of being quite a challenge much of the time. Still, it is the fastest way to get to your destination.
Pros - Fast. A distance that would take you a week to drive can be covered in 6 hours. You can fly coast-to-coast and cross an ocean in less than 12 hours.
Since you get there much faster, you can save money, not only on gas but on hotel rooms and meals along the way.
Safer...you are much, much less likely to get injured or die in an airplane accident than you are in a car.
You don't have to do the driving.
Cons - Economy class can truly be tight. Crossing the Atlantic on a 10 hour flight being squeezed into a 17 inch seat is just not fun.
Going through security at the airport...especially in the states...takes a long time and can border on humiliation.
Parking at the airport can be expensive...so can a taxi ride to the airport.
Service can be anywhere from pleasant to rude to downright mean.
Food, if available, can be barely edible.
You need to pack light, very light, or you will not only be lugging a lot of cumbersome luggage but also paying big fees to take it along.
It's crowded, not only on the plane but in the airport as well.
If you're a wheelchair user, you need to get to the airport an extra hour earlier than anyone else, then you have to beg, cajole, threaten, to get someone to help you check your chair and carry you to your seat.
So for us, if we could comfortably do it, we'd always drive but long trips don't always lend themselves to it. Flying is something we endure to get where we'll have a good time. Hopefully, you can go through the pros and cons of each mode and come up with a good way to get where you're going.
UPDATE: What this story needs is a real world example. Here is one from a fairly recent trip we took from Ontario, California to Seattle.
Airfare, including taxes, $184 each on Southwest. That's $552 for three
Parking for 5 days at ONT - $40
Link train from Seattle airport $16.50, round trip for three
TOTAL TRANSPORTATION COST FOR FLYING: $608.50
Gas, round trip for 2,300 miles round trip at 18mpg, $3.90 per gallon - $132
Meals for four days of driving (two days up, two days back)- $240 ($10 for breakfast, $20 for lunch, $30 for dinner)
Hotel halfway to destination (one each way) - $140
TOTAL TRANSPORTATION COST FOR DRIVING: $512
Now, when we consider it will take us two days each way to drive and less than 3 hours flying, that $95.50 difference doesn't seem so bad for the three of us. That's two vacation days I don't have to take if I fly and the cost difference is small enough to make it worth it to fly instead of drive for two days each way.
We also take into consideration that Seattle have very good wheelchair public transportation available and we won't really need our own car while we're there.
Of course, the more of you there are, the bigger that price tag will be. As always, your situation, tolerance, and costs may be different. This is just an exercise to show you how to figure what method of transport will suit your needs and budget.
Copyright 2012 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved
Monday, January 30, 2012
Tim's playing Baywatch...sort of. He's away at camp, roughing it in that backward community of Malibu. Actually, he
Our trip this year is up to Yosemite. Specifically, to the nearby town of Mariposa. Actually, we're only planning on spending one day in Yosemite and the rest of the time enjoying California's historical Gold Country.
Of course, as usual, we don't have nearly enough time to see everything we'd like to on a trip like this (4 nights) so we don't try to cover all the bases. Just what we can really enjoy during that time.
Day One, the drive.
Letty could only get one extra day off for the 4th of July weekend but since she gets off of work at 2:30, we could at least get an afternoon's head start.
It was hot at around 100 degrees in the San Gabriel Valley. Brush and forest fires burned out of control in the Angeles National Forest to the north. It seemed like a good time to get away. We ended up leaving at 3:00 on a hot, smoky Wednesday afternoon.
Traffic was light and we made good time out of the L.A. basin by going up the 210 freeway through La Canada and Sylmar. After the Grapvine, we took the fork up Highway 99 through Bakersfield enjoying the endless miles of farming country.
Three hours later found us just south of Fresno in the Swedish themed town of Kingsburg. It seemed like a good time to take a break from the road and to grab some dinner. Dinner this night would be at Kady's Cafe at the second Kingsburg offramp.
The food at Kady's, although wholesome and filling, is really unspectacular and rather bland. It did take much salt, pepper and tabasco to coax some flavor from it. Oh well, at least we're not hungry anymore...back on the road!
Just a few minutes later we hit the south end of Fresno and spot a brand new In-n-Out. Boy, we could have had a delicious double-double if we'd just waited five more minutes. Now I'm sorry...
When we hit Merced, we gas up where we can still get it relatively cheaply (gas in the mountains runs 20 to 30 cents a gallon more than down in the valley) and head east on Highway 41 to Mariposa. It's a beautiful drive through rolling hills of oaks and grass.
Exactly 5 1/2 hours after we leave home, we arrive at our destination, the Restful Nest Bed and Breakfast located just south of Mariposa.
Upon arrival, we are greeted by the resident pet, a 6 month old Labrador named Casey. Casey is an exuberantly friendly pup who keeps everybody company here. After Casey comes the owner, Lois Moroni, who greets us with an offer of a cold drink and shows us to our room.
The 3 rooms of the inn are just off of the great swimming pool and hot tub . All are large rooms with private bathrooms and private entrances. Each room is equipped with a tv, vcr, bar, refrigerator, and coffee machine. There is level access via a paved walkway to the rooms. Jon has a ramp to afford access to the upper level where breakfast is served. The pool area requires the negotiation of a few stairs and there are no accessible features in the bathrooms but we managed showering by putting one of the plastic patio chairs in the shower stall.
The property of the inn encompasses 10 acres of rolling countryside complete with a stocked fishing pond (bring your gear). There are also horseshoe pits, a volleyball court, and tetherball. Near the pet pheasant's cage there's also a hammock if all of the above sounds just too tiring for you. A wheelchair can get around to most of the property but be careful on the pond dock, there is no railing around the edge.
Wildlife abounds in the area. On top of the ever-present squirrels, rabbits and quail, we counted 5 deer sightings over the weekend. Letty, ever the bird watcher, cataloged 18 different species of birds just on the BandB property over our 3 days there.
Well, all the above is great, but after 5 hours on the road we were more concerned with getting some shuteye so off to bed we went. After a good night's sleep, we were ready when the breakfast bell rang at 9:00 the next morning (you can schedule breakfast at any time that's convenient for you).
DAY TWO - YOSEMITE
Breakfast this morning was a huge affair that started off with platters of fresh cantaloupe, honey dew melons, water melons, grapefruit, and oranges. We polished that off with help from our fresh coffee and juice when Lois brought out more...much more. Next came banana muffins, omelets, pancakes, homemade sausages, and ham. The crowning touch was Lois' homemade brioche.
We then waddled off to the car for the drive to Yosemite. From the inn, Yosemite is a 50 mile drive up the Merced River canyon. We went on July 3 mostly to avoid the Independence Day crowds.
First up on our list was Bridalveil Falls.
We grabbed the last spot in the parking lot and walked up the 1/2 mile trail to the base of the falls. The mist felt refreshing as we came up upon the falls. There was no shortage of water going over the precipice. The view is spectacular but the best spot for a photo was back at the parking lot. The crowd was not too bad but I dread to think what it would be like the next day with that small parking lot. The train up to the falls is wheelchair accessible but gets a little steep towards the end.
Next was a jaunt across the valley to see Yosemite Falls, the nations tallest. At over 1400 feet for the first drop, Yosemite Falls is the 5th tallest fall in the world and stands at about 9 times the height of Niagara Falls. They can literally be seen for many miles away.
We grabbed the second to the last spot in the lot this time. The crowd was much thicker here and many people lined up for the restrooms here. Again, I could only imagine what the crowds would be like the next day as everybody had the day off to visit.
Another 1/2 mile, wheelchair accessible, trail led up to the base of the falls. There, you are at the bottom of the 3rd drop of the falls and cannot see the first large drop. You can feel the wind that the falls generate however and it's a very refreshing feeling.
The third must-see of our day in the park was Glacier Point. The 30 mile or so road to the point takes you to the rim of the valley. The view from there is what you really want to see when you come to Yosemite and it is all accessible.
You can see all the major waterfalls including Yosemite, Nevada, Vernal, and another fall way up the valley that I don't know the name of. It is heart stopping to see the kids running around the edge with its thousands of feet vertical drop to the valley below.
Going back from Glacier Point, we pull into the lot for Sentinel Dome trail. We had planned to hike there but a ranger was about to lead a hike to nearby Taft Point so we decided to tag along. The 1.1 mile hike to Taft Point wound through forests, streams, and meadows before reaching the most famous feature, the fissures.
The fissures are cracks in the rocks that have expanded into 2 foot wide, canyons that reach down hundreds of feet. They are spectacular to look down but beware if you are afraid of heights.
At the end of the trail is Taft Point, named after our heaviest president. Here is a real edge-of-your-seat experience as you look over the edge straight down to the valley thousands of feet below you (see picture at the top of this report). At the point there is a small pipe fence to give you some security as you look and there is a whole lot more of unprotected cliff-edge to look over.
Again, you really get the willies as you see kids running around very unconcerned here. See just how high it is in the photo above. I commented on one particular kid to the woman standing next to me on the point. "Oh, that's my son. He's been here lots of times. He won't fall over..." Yeah, right. (NOTE: the trail to Taft Point is not accessible.)
Below is a picture of Yosemite Falls as seen from Taft Point.
Throughout all of this, we never got hungry. That breakfast was big enough to carry us through the entire day.
Toward evening we headed back to Mariposa and had appetizers at the Meadows Ranch Cafe . Here we had some delicious jalapeno poppers and chicken quesadilla rolls, all washed down with some Yosemite Brewery (located next door) amber ale. The brewery and restaurant are located at 5008 Highway 140 in downtown Mariposa.
Back at the inn, we took a dip in the pool and soaked in the hot tub to cut the day's trail dust. The inn's other owner, Lois' husband Jon Pierre, had returned from a business trip and prepared some homemade french onion soup.
Jon is an affable French man from the Provencal region of France. Along with his wife, he bought this inn as a retirement income booster. Jon and Lois both really enjoy it here and love chatting with the guests.
This evening the soup was marvelous. Along with the bread, cheese and wine, it made a perfect cap to the day.
Copyright 1997 - Darryl Musick
Sunday, January 29, 2012
OK, little Danny Torrance...calm down. It's not murder to make one of these and they taste oh.so.good.
Watch The Video!
This week on the Cocktail Hour it's my Redrum, which is...not murder...but a red rum drink.
Here is the recipe...
INGREDIENTS (two drinks):
3 oz. dark rum
1 oz. Grand Marnier or orange liquer
juice of one lime
splash of grenadine
4 oz. cranberry cocktail
Put all ingredients into cocktail shaker 1/2 filled with ice, mix, and strain into two highball glasses filled with ice.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Not many Sierra towns can claim historic status after only 40-odd years, but Kernville can. That's because the town...in it's entirety...was relocated to its present site when the old town was inundated by the waters of adjacent Lake Isabella.
Most people come here to drop their boat or jetski in the lake, to run the mighty Kern River, or to catch that tasty Rainbow Trout lurking in the cool waters of the Kern.
Look closely and you can see the person that went overboard clinging to the side
Don't get me wrong, we like all that too, but this trip we came to see what's OFF the beaten path in Kernville.
Kerville occupies a little niche at the extreme southern end of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, separated from the nearby Tehachapi mountains, the desert, and the Central Valley by Lake Isabella. To get there from L.A., you need to either go through Bakersfield or Mojave to get there. Either route will take about 3 hours.
From L.A., take I-5 to CA 99 to CA 178 (in Bakersfield). Go east on CA 178 to Lake Isabella. Or take I-5 to CA 14 to CA 178 and go west on CA 178 to Lake Isabella. We prefer the CA 14 route. Kernville lies at the north end of the lake.
Accomodations range from budget motels to bed & breakfasts. Many of the smaller motels in town are true classics of roadside Americana with the tidy little gardens and pine-knot paneling in the rooms. Wherever you stay, the Kern River or the lake will be close at hand.
We start off our little adventure (this is an overnight excursion from L.A.) by wandering through the riverfront park in town. Our feet are hot and tired. Taking off our shoes, we dip our feet in the very refreshing water of the river. Many others are splashing in the water and a few are jumping into inflatable boats for a homemade rafting trip down to Lake Isabella.
A Conestoga Wagon catches our eye in the corner of the park. We head over to see what's up. A local actor's group is putting on a play about pioneers interspersed with some songs. We watch for awhile, but our interest doesn't keep up and we're soon looking for something else to do.
We decide to head upriver and see some sequoias. Heading up Sierra Way, we drive up the Kern River Canyon. The canyon is hot and dry for the most part. The river makes for some quick cool down spots along the way. Many rafters are in the water today. This looks like fun.
At the top of the canyon, there's a turn up to the mountains. We pass the former logging town of Johnsondale (now a time share campground called R Ranch) and it's a quick, steep climb up to the crest of the Sierras.
Once up there, it's not a long drive to get to Long Meadow, home of the giants.
We park in the Long Meadow picnic area lot. After a picnic lunch, it's across the street to the fabulous Trail of 100 Giants. This 1 mile trail winds through an ancient grove of giant sequoias. Many of these trees have holes that have burned into them from years of forest fires that allow you to actually walk into the tree.
It's cool and shady here. A couple of creeks meander through the grove and a carpet of ferns covers the ground. I don't know what the actual count is but 100 is not a stretch for this grove of big trees.
After our hike through the trees, we head back down to Kernville. By now, it's dinner time. Kernville has many places, much along the lines of burger or barbecue joints but we come here for one very special restaurant, That's Italian.
Here, in this little out of the way river town, is one of the best Italian restaurants ever. Forget the corny name, the food here is extraordinary. We had the canneloni perfectly prepared with a cream sauce, the lasagna, bow-tie pasta with shrimp, and desserts that just can't be passed up like white chocolate rasberry cheesecake, an incredibly flaky napoleon, and more. Ever see the movie "Big Night"? That's the kind of Italian dishes they serve here. Call (760) 376-6020 for reservations.
After a splendid dinner on the balcony overlooking the town square, we take a little walk around the postage stamp sized downtown. There's a few shops here but not much that really peaked our interest.
We head back to our motel and turn in for the night. The next day we check out, have breakfast, and head over to the dam that holds back Lake Isabella. Here are a few remnants of a ghost town and many mine shafts to explore (tread carefully here, many mine claims are still worked and protected as such).
Nearby, you can see some of the wildest whitewater around where the Kern River exits the dam for it's journey on down to Bakersfield. Many outfitters here can put you in the water starting at less than $20. We checked with a few and decided we'll do the rafting on a future trip.
The last thing we want to do on our trip is to have a nice picnic before heading home. We pack up a lunch from the Vons in Lake Isabella and head south through the old mining town of Bodfish. Beyond this is a beautiful stretch of country called the Lorraine loop, because of it's resemblance of the Alsace-Lorraine region of France, that begs you to pull off and enjoy the scenery.
The only sign of civilization here, besides a few houses, is the general store located in the old school house. There is a particularly scenic spot to have a picnic next door.
After a little snooze on the blanket laying in the warm sun, we continue through the loop until we reach the village of Agua Caliente, so named because of some nearby hot springs. We jump back on Highway 58 which heads over to Tehachapi, Mojave, and home.
One last sight to see is the famous Tehachapi Loop, an engineering feat enabling the trains to climb this steep pass by looping over themselves.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Today on the patio were chillin’ some brews. A couple of Belgian beauties.
Belgium is our favorite beer making country, followed closely by Germany and the good ole USA. Today, we’re trying an abbey brewed reserve ale and a Lambic. Both are readily available, today’s bottles came from Trader Joe’s.
The Lambic is Lindemans Framboise raspberry Lambic and the ale is Chimay Grande Reserve.
First the Lambic. These are mainly sour beers often fortified with fruit. Letty loves the sour Belgians, I think they taste like vinegar. It’s an acquired taste for me but some people really love it. This one is not sour, though. It’s actually pretty sweet and tastes more like a raspberry soda. Not sour enough for Letty and too sweet for me. The raspberries give it a deep red color and it looks like punch.
The Chimay is a rich, brown, smooth tasting beer. It’s not very clear, almost a Guinness like thick brown that blots out the sun. It is very smooth, like you’d expect a Belgian to be, and tastes just a little hoppy and a lot nutty. Not a bad brew but there are better out there, although they are not as readily available.
The Lambic is $8 and the Chimay $9 for a 750 ml bottle at Trader Joe’s.
Did I make you thirsty? Click on the link below to take care of that...
Friday, January 20, 2012
Yes, it really exists (as does the great town of Walla Walla, Washington…but that’s another story) and this beautiful, classic retro California beach town can be found about an hour north of Santa Barbara on California’s awesome Central Coast.
Watch the Video!
Our home for two nights is the Oxford Suites, located adjacent to the 101 freeway on the south side of town. The room is a true suite with a living room, a separate bedroom, and a bathroom. Each room has its own flat screen TV. In the front room, there’s also an L-shaped sofa that folds out into a rather large sofabed. A wet bar and fridge complete the living room amenities.
The bedroom features a king-size bed (rooms with two queens are also available, sink, ironing board, and a patio. The bathroom was basic with a tub and toilet…the sink is in the bedroom. Accessible rooms with roll-in showers are also available.
The room also includes a full, cooked-to-order breakfast in the dining room next to the pool and spa. There’s a fitness room and beer and wine are served in the lobby lounge each night for 2 hours.
Dinner time arrives and we have a selection of restaurants we’d like to check out. A couple, we scratch off the list right away because they are in the town of Guadalupe and no one wants to make a 20 plus mile drive for dinner.
The rest are in downtown Pismo Beach but each one features a long line heading out the door and an even longer wait.
This is not our first time to the Pismo rodeo, so we know that the little town of Avila Beach is just a few minutes away and the always reliable Fatcats sits at the shore end of the pier there.
There is no wait here and the outdoor seating, under heaters in the chilly air, makes us want some comfort food. No problem…Fatcats serves breakfast all day so Letty and I have French toast and chicken fried steak while Tim is satisfied with his roast beef sandwich.
A quick stop at the local grocery store in Avila for an overpriced bottle of local wine and we head back to the hotel to drink it.
The morning finds us in the southwest corner of town, next to the only beach in California that allows you to drive your car on the sand.
We’re here for something else. Each winter, thousands of Monarch butterflies migrate up to 2,000 miles to winter in a tiny grove of eucalyptus. A web of wheelchair accessible trails surround the grove where all we do it look up and see the air filled with the orange insects.
At Ventura, we turn east and head a dozen miles up the mountains to the little town of Ojai. Here, we’re going to a little restaurant sitting all by itself about a mile out of town.
This is Boccali’s Pizza and Pasta, a country casual Italian restaurant that is oh, so relaxing.
We have a pizza with their flaky crust and a little of their house wine. It’s oh, so good too while we enjoy it outside under the California sun surrounded by orange groves and condor country.
It’s a great end to another trip as we finish up and head slowly over the winding road back towards L.A.
Copyright 2012 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved
Book your own trip to Pismo Beach today at...
Sunday, January 15, 2012
There’s too many to count, really. Maybe millions. Whenever I bring it up, I’m met with either shuddering disgust or local pride.
Here in this narrow alley, there is not one iota of wall space that is not covered up with a used wad of gum. This colorful fiesta of chicle and spit is Bubblegum Alley, where locals have been sticking their gum on the wall since World War II.
Welcome to San Luis Obispo.
Watch the Video!
The alley can serve as a metaphor. Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco but doing its own thing, this pretty college town lives in another California…the one not defined by big cities. Rather, it’s coastal, green, and laid-back.
While many people coming from L.A. take the coastal route up Highway 101 through Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria; our route takes us over the hills from the central valley via Highway 46, past the James Dean Memorial Interchange, and over the green hills on Highway 41, coming in to town on the rather steep Cuesta Grade from the north.
Our day will start with coffee, followed up by a quick stop to Bubblegum Alley to film the intro to our video. After that, it’s out the west end of the alley to Higuera Street and to Mission Mall on the other side.
While there are some fine shops in this little arcade, including a nice toy store and a shoe shop, it also makes for an easy, wheelchair accessible route to San Luis Creek in back of the building.
About 240 years ago, Father Junipero Serra hung a bell from the big sycamore here, rang it to call the faithful to mass, and founded Mission San Luis Obispo.
There’s still a big sycamore here but I doubt it’s the same tree. The creek still flows, however.
Steelhead trout find their way up this wide trickle of water to spawn. It’s about twenty miles or so from this point to the creek’s meeting with the Pacific Ocean in nearby Avila Beach. The fish numbers have severely dwindled. Now they’re protected and don’t even think about fishing here.
It’s serene and very beautiful to walk along the water here. Behind the mall, there’s a ramp down for wheelchairs to get close to the water.
On the other side, the massive adobe building is where Father Serra’s mission found a permanent home. Finished in 1819, visitors can now pay a small fee to visit, see the church, and its historic courtyard.
A wheelchair accessible pedestrian bridge spans the creek here.
Back on Higuera, we finish our morning stroll window shopping. We’re taking in a local Ross store, the Apple Store, a chocolate shop, and a Bath and Beauty Shop where my wife takes advantage of the after Christmas sale to stock up on lotions.
A twenty minute drive takes us over the hills, past Cal Poly University, the penitentiary, the community college, and the state’s first National Guard base to the Ocean in Morro Bay.
Morro Bay is a tiny seafront town with a giant rock. The wharf, rock, and bay have a spectacular view that is marred a bit by the big generating plant at the north end of town.
We can get by without it ruining our day, so we head to the waterfront for lunch at the Hofbrau. The star of the show here are the roast beef dip sandwiches that are hand-carved to your specification at the counter.
We get a couple and wash it down with a cold, German hefeweisen. It’s very good, hearty, filling food under $10 a person with a million dollar view.
After lunch, it’s a stroll along the waterfront. The town has done a pretty amazing job of laying out an accessible route so wheelchairs can also roll along over the water.
We pop in to Rose’s bar, another whopper of a view, which features a completely wheelchair level and accessible bar shaped like a boat. The tequila sour goes down good with the view as we toast the end to this quick little trip up to the heart of California’s Central Coast.
Copyright 2012 – Darryl Musick
All Rights ReservedPin It
Watch the Video!
Hemingway's favorite drink. Originated in Cuba and named after Playa Daiquiri near Santiago. Although popularized by the El Foridita Bar in Havana, it was invented at Venus Bar in Santiago by Jennings Cox, an American mining engineer. Supposedly, the bar ran out of gin but had a lot of rums, limes, and sugar...three things that are in abundance in Cuba.
Besides Hemingway, the drink became popular during World War II as rum was one of the few commodities that was not rationed. This week, we present it in it's historical incarnation. It's not blended, flavored in any extra way, and served just as Ernie would have had it.
In the video, we cheated just a little by using coconut infused rum for extra flavor and putting the finished product in an old fashioned glass on the rocks. The coconut rum was used because I'd tried the recipe before and never got it right...I was intimidated. The glass was because Tim can't use a cocktail glass.
Be assured, however, that after filming we did try the original recipe with cocktail glasses and it came out fantastic. That recipe is the one on this page. Turns out the key is to not be shy with the lime juice. Enjoy!
DAIQUIRI (two drinks)
3 ounces white rum
2 ounces simple syrup
3 key limes
Fill a cocktail shaker half full with crushed ice. Cut the limes in half. Squeeze the juice of all the limes into the shaker. Put the rum and simple syrup in the shaker. Cover and shake. Strain into two cocktail glasses.
UPDATE: for the birdwatchers...here's today's visitors:
Red Tail Hawk
White Crowned Sparrow
-Darryl and Tim
Daiquiri photo courtesy of Wikimedia
Aaron Gustafon under CC-BY-SA license
Thursday, January 12, 2012
We're working on an updated look at this area, in the meantime, take a look at our previous report...
San Luis Obispo lies just about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Many use it to stay overnight along the way however it is also a destination unto itself. San Luis Obispo is located about 12 miles inland from the ocean from Morro Bay. It is the starting poing of the scenic portion of Highway 1 that runs through Big Sur, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay before ending up in San Francisco.
Our trip begins on a Friday afternoon. It’s 3 to 4 hours driving before we get to our destination, the Sands Motel. For $70 per night, we get an adequate room with 2 queen beds and an extra large bathroom. It has a bathtub with a shower on a hose, no roll-in. Parking was difficult here as the handicapped spot was not large enough for us to deploy our ramp. We had to park away from the room (update - rooms now appear to be in the $100 plus per night range).
Having had dinner on the ride up, we watch a little TV and then hit the sack. In the morning, we have breakfast across the street at the Monterey St. Café. The motel provided a continental breakfast but to be honest, it just did not look appetizing. The restaurant provided a decent meal.
San Luis Obipso is in the middle of the Central Coast wine country so we headed east of town to visit it. We ended up at Edna Valley Vineyards which has just built a big new tasting room. The wines were good but with prices starting at $18 a bottle they’d need to be a bit better. The demonstration grape vines out by the parking lot were a lot of fun. 15 different varieties are planted here and you can wander through and taste the grapes right off the vine...in season of course.
Back in San Luis Obispo, we have dinner at F. McClintocks, a western themed steak joint. Dinner was excellent and the restaurant was accessible but small. After eating we take a walk along the creek that runs through downtown. Accessible walks allow wheelers to stroll along here too.
There is also an interesting, if a bit gross, attraction in the downtown area. That is “Bubble Gum Alley”, a narrow walkway where locals and visitors alike deposit their chewed gum upon the walls - sometimes to artistic effect. There is almost a half century work of gum deposited on the walls.
Wheelchair seating at Santa Maria SpeedwayThat evening, we head south to Santa Maria to take in a night of racing at Santa Maria Speedway. The sprint cars were running that night and the place was packed with race fans. Wheelchair users have reserved spots at the top of the stands overlooking the track by turn one.
Santa Maria SpeedwayThe racing that night was spectacular with typical sprint car hijinks and a lot of fun.
The next morning we drove over to nearby Avila Beach for breakfast. Avila has an interesting recent history. Years ago an oil tank farm was installed in the hills above town. About a decade ago it was found that those tanks had been leaking for years, fouling the ground under downtown Avila Beach. The company was sued and now must pay to remove all the soil under the downtown area (which was largely demolished), restore the downtown area and the beach, plus pay a huge settlement to the tiny town itself.
A sea lion begging for scraps off the San Luis PierDowntown Avila Beach is still under construction. Just up the road (past the equally infamous Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant entrance) is Port San Luis pier. This 100+ year old wharf nestles in a beautiful little cove. We had an excellent breakfast at Fatcats at the foot of the pier and then walked out to the end where sea lions cavorted in the water begging for handouts at the back of the fish market. Diners also know that the Olde Port Inn at the end of the pier offers some of the finest dining on the central coast.
In the afternoon we took in a matinee at the theater in downtown San Luis Obispo (Meet the Parents, funny movie).
Dinner tonight would be at the F. McClintock’s in Pismo Beach just south of San Luis Obispo (yes, the very same Pismo Beach that Bugs Bunny was always in search of). This is a much larger and much more tourist oriented location than the one in San Luis Obispo. It’s also a tad more expensive and not quite as good food wise. This night it seemed to attract every birthday and anniversary celebration on the coast. I don’t think I want to hear the wait staff sing the F. McLintock-generic celebration song again for a long, long time...
This being our last night here, we pick up a couple of bottles of local wine from the on-premises liquor store at the motel and soak in the inn’s hot tub before retiring for the night.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN SAN LUIS OBISPO
Of course, we couldn’t do it all in a weekend but over the years we’ve found the following area attractions to be well worth your time...
Hearst Castle is an hour’s drive to the north of San Luis Obispo
The Apple Farm Inn at the north end of town has a wonderful restaurant plus a working grist mill powered by the local creek.
The Monarch Butterflies spend their winters in several eucalyptus groves near Pismo Beach.
You can soak in natural hot springs and swim in naturally warm pools at Avila Hot Springs for a reasonable price or nearby Sycamore Hot Springs for a significant amount more. Both are just south of San Luis Obispo at the Port San Luis/Avila Beach exit of the 101 freeway.
Copyright 2000 - Darryl Musick