By Caitlin Kelly
I loved stumbling into a farmer’s market in a suburban mall parking lot.
OK, I cried. It’s hard to drive an L.A. freeway while crying!
But it was painful to leave California and its stunning beauty and weather — I didn’t have even one rainy or cloudy day in 29 days in June, and I faithfully wore sunscreen but came home quite tanned!
I loved seeing 11 friends, in North California and in Southern California, some of whom I had never even met in person (Twitter, online writers’ groups, Facebook) and others I’ve known for decades. I “wasted” two sightseeing days (one in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles) with friends — just sitting for hours catching up and, of course, with lots of discussion about our work and goals in journalism. No “sight” could possibly have pleased me more.
I had 12 days — June 10 to 22 — completely alone, which never for an instant was lonely or boring; I’ve been traveling the world alone since I was 22, so I am not only used to it but really enjoy it.
Jose and I, like many people (and those with small children and pets) have been working in a one bedroom apartment since March 2020 and COVID — making the normal free options of our local large library impossible.
I needed out! I craved solitude! I wanted adventure and independence!
My late mother’s beloved Mousie, a perfect travel companion — at Julia Pfeiffer State Beach,
I stayed in six different kinds of lodging, none of which was disappointing — two renovated/attractive motels, one with a gorgeous, lush interior garden, free breakfast, laundry and a pool — and savored the luxury of a five-star hotel for my final five nights, The Langham in Pasadena. Its nightly price was less (!!) than my motel in Santa Barbara and worth 100 times the value: valet parking, multiple restaurants, pool, spa, concierge…you name it. My room had a fantastic view over their enormous gardens and the city below.
Looking down from impossibly twisty Route 1, Big Sur
I loved the foliage!
I was also a terrible tourist — in Los Angeles, arriving with ambitious plans — I didn’t visit a single museum or sight. I did see glorious Union Station, had dinner at Musso & Frank, (open since 1919), and visit multiple neighborhoods: Little Tokyo, Hollywood Boulevard, Santa Monica, Pasadena, the Arts district. I loved seeing how people just live, driving around different neighborhoods; most middle class houses are small and one-level, but many have spectacular gardens and often are painted in delicious colors: deep blue, mustard, pale pink, olive, soft gray.
home in Oakland.
I was also a terrible non-hiker. With daily temperatures at 90 degrees or more, it felt like an unhealthy choice and, warned about ticks and rattlesnakes, thought better to return with proper hiking boots! I did a few flat hikes (2 miles) and that was good.
My tiny perfect bedroom at Deetjen’s
At the astonishing Monterey Aquarium
I can’t wait to go back.
9 thoughts on “California, concluded. Lots of photos!”
Sounds like an absolutely wonderful, restorative trip. You did a great variety of activities, saw tons of friends and interesting sites. Who cares that you didn’t visit museums or hike, with the risk of ticks and rattle snakes. Your photos are so good, I’m especially amazed at the deep blue water of Big Sur.
It really was everything I had hoped for — and with some lovely spontaneous surprises like seeing a NY friend now in SF for Chinese dinner.
Glad you liked the photos…I have a lot of them and some of the best I’ve ever taken. I am sure that being alone and totally relaxed helped!
That water is soooooo beautiful!!!
Nice! This post makes me look forward to my “Plus One” status with my husband’s upcoming work trip in D.C. Haven’t been there in about 3 years. Hoping Covid levels don’t jump up and result in this being canceled.
sounds like it reinvigorated you and you found just what you needed. what a perfect trip can do -. p.s. love the birthday pie
Pie was better than none!
Thank you for sharing your road trip and those restorative images. They help, more than you know.
Thanks…sometimes it feels really selfish to do it.