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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Coastal Journey, Day 1: Los Angeles to Morro Bay

Bags packed, snacks secured, Evan's bag of toys positioned next to his car seat, we headed out last Tuesday morning for our trip up the coast.

On the CD player, a radio show specially recorded just for this trip: "The Evan and Daddy Show" -- yes, the Kid Formerly Known As Blogger Toddler and I had recorded a special radio show for the trip, a mix of tunes by Duffy, Coldplay, the Aquabats, the Smiths and more, with our witty banter between songs. (Precocious, I know.)

Away we went, up the 101. First stop, Santa Barbara. We parked off State and strolled up and down, making a pit stop at a Barnes & Noble. It was there that I looked up the address for a taco spot that Maria had heard about: La Super Rica.

(One of you later backed this up -- I can't believe we had never hit La Super Rica in all of our years visiting Santa Barbara!)

From there, we continued our drive up the 101, stopping outside San Luis Obispo at the famed Madonna Inn.

This quickly became the "let's visit places on the 101 we've always meant to stop and check out, but never have" trip. Madonna Inn was at the top of the list. Friends have stayed here, but we've never stopped to check out the pink palace ourselves.

It was pretty much what we expected. Quite gaudy, quite old, and quite interesting. I wish we'd seen some of the hotel's themed rooms, but the main building is actually separate from the guest accomodations.

C'mon, how creepy is the doll below?!

From there, we took a few of you up on the suggestion to visit the Apple Farm restaurant and hotel. Yeah, it's a tourist trap.

But a tourist trap with tasty baked goods, and a nice place to sit after a long drive. We skipped the restaurant and simply grabbed a few cookies and headed out by the water wheel (which fascinated the KFKABT, of course).

Then, it was on to our pit stop for the night, Morro Bay. One of the last fishing towns in California, Morro Bay is also known for the big rock that dominates the skyline.

Morro Bay is also recognizable for these three smokestacks, connected to a PG&E plant.

We got a good view of the bay and Morro rock from our hotel, the Best Western Tradewinds. Nothing special, but a decent room at a decent price. Can't beat the location -- also walking distance from Morro Bay's Embarcadero.

We opted to drive back to San Luis Obispo, however, and try another spot you recommended: Novo Restaurant.

Located on the creek that runs through San Luis Obispo's downtown, Novo's back patio was a great spot to dine on our first night.

Afterward, we strolled through San Luis Obispo, where we walked past the mission (above) and the Fremont Theater (below).

Next Up: Day 2, we avoid the fires.

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