Day 23 Pacific Highway! Carmel-by-the-Sea!

Pismo Beach is beautiful.  I think that it seemed even better because we loved our accommodation, the Cottage Inn by the Sea.  It was at the far end of the beach so had a view down to the pier.  We had 2 king size beds in our very large room and and a gas fire which was delightful as it had got quite cool last night.  We really enjoyed it and it was so comfortable.

I went for a beach walk before breakfast which we ate at the hotel.  It included some very yummy waffles that you could make yourself.  They were light and fluffy and covered in golden syrup.

After breakfast we all headed down the stairs to the beach and through rocks to wander along the beach towards the pier.  The beach was very flat with smallish waves although some surfers were giving it a go.  We walked all the way to the pier and the 12 year old and I had a lovely time fossicking for shells.  We were stopped by a local who told us that the thick ones were Pismo clams and the flat ones that looked almost fossilised were called Sand Dollars.  We collected a few to take home.
Pismo Beach Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach  Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Pismo Beach

The most amazing thing was that even on the cliff outside our hotel, there was no wind last night or this morning. While it was cool last night, the temperature was perfect this morning.  It was fantastic to stand on the cliff and look at whales shooting their spouts.

We visited the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets and bought Hamish some Nike running shoes and myself some undies!  Very exciting.

We headed off with Monterey as the target.  We soon turned inland into green hilly territory.  San Luis Obispo was only about 10 miles away.  Exciting for me as it is another Kinsey Millhone town.  The town itself is closely surrounded by green hills and has a closed in, cluttered feel to it.  It is another mission town and we visited the mission which had a little museum full of memorabilia from the mission settlement.
San Louis Obispo
San Louis Obispo

Also of note was Bubblegum Alley.  An alleyway between the shops with two walls covered in bubblegum that has come to form a sort of artwork over time.  There was a faint whiff of bubble gum but that might have been from the shop that sold it next door.
San Louis Obispo Bubblegum AlleySan Louis Obispo Bubblegum AlleySan Louis Obispo Bubblegum Alley

I noticed a M on a surrounding hill and then a P as we left San Luis Obispo which led me to Google it.  The result was a whole list of letters found on hills in California.  Also known as mountain monograms.
San Louis Obispo

On our way out of San Luis Obispo, we pulled up next to a Sheriff.  It was the first one that we had seen so we had to sneak a photo.
San Louis Obispo Sheriff

Shortly after that we passed the California Men’s Colony which I remembered from a Kinsey Millhone book.

At Morro Bay we found our way back to the coastline again but not looking as nice as Pismo Beach.

Next stop was the cute little town of Cambria for lunch.  It was full of quaint shops and restaurants and we ended up in a Mexican cafe which looked promising as the Mexican workers were also eating there.  It was very nice for a quick lunch

We bypassed Hearst Castle just outside of San Simeon.  It was heaving with tourist coaches and the weather was misty and closing in on us.

We then stopped to look at the elephant seals and there were heaps of them.  They are pretty disgusting to look at.  Piles of blubber and they were lounging all over the beach.  Littering the beach would be a better description… They only seem to rouse themselves for a bit of a fight.
San Simeon Sea ElephantsSan Simeon sea elephantsSan Simeon Sea Elephants

After that the drive hit the spectacular heights.  Often we were high above the water and heading over arched bridges.  It seemed quite elevated and alpine at some points and was certainly cold and windy when we got out of the car multiple times to take photos.
Pacific Highway


We were all getting quite tired by the time we reached Big Sur which turned out to be mainly national park camping but had some spectacular views.
Pacific Highway Big SurPacific Highway Big SurPacific Highway Big SurPacific Highway Big Sur Pacific Highway Big Sur Pacific Highway Big Sur

We pushed on into Carmel-by-the-Sea and as I had been without internet most of the day, we pulled over and I searched for accommodation online.  The internet was still unreliable and it was frustrating but eventually I came up with something affordable that could accommodate us all comfortably – Carmel Inn and Suites.  It seemed to be decorated in a French style…

Amongst all of my internet issues I managed to get confirmation of the booking by text but still had some internet results on the laptop.  We plugged in the address and were delighted when it was just around the corner.  Well almost, we drove into the street but found that a fence separated us from getting to it.  We had to circle back around several blocks and the highway to find a separate part of the road.  We went into reception and while the manager was trying to appease some Chinese customers who wanted cooking equipment in their room, I looked at the confirmation texts and again and realised that they included an address which was not the one that we were at…  We set off again and several blocks away found our nicer accommodation.

The manager was young and new and informed us that despite me booking the last two King suites online, he only had one available…  But eventually he figured out that there was a similar room available at their sister property across the road.  We trotted over to look but by the time we got there the female manager of the property was on the phone to him and sorting him out.  They had found a room available for us back at the original property.  Back we trotted…  Eventually we were settled in our sizeable, French historical themed rooms.  Interesting…

We got some warm clothes on as it was quite cool by now and headed out to walk the incredibly cutes of Carmel to find somewhere to eat.  Hubby wanted a bar so I did some Googling and we came up with Brophy’s which wasn’t that busy and had some locals watching the basketball and ice hockey games on 4 TVs.  We seated ourselves in the booth seats and had some yummy chardonnay, beautiful salad, coleslaw, fish and chips (all scrumptious) and the 12 year old had tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwich (also yummy).  Poppy had a fantastic Cobb salad.  All very happy.  I even got into the basketball game.  Maybe I am a closet American sport fan…

22 000 steps!