Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beach Road Trip with Pics: Monterey

Lazy days of summer... or crazy days, with kids on vacation. My munchkins love staying in hotels, and they think they like road trips but really, they only like the snacks and the unlimited video game time. They absolutely hate being in the car any longer than an hour, and with our planned stops, our road trip to Monterey took around ten hours each way. 

Ten. Hours. 

But we survived! Yay! Check out the highlights, including pictures!
Out the Door
We left the house only a little behind schedule, mostly because a mysteriously nauseating smell in the minivan sent us tearing the car apart. It turned out that while I’d been unloading groceries earlier in the week, I’d accidentally left a bag with bananas, hot dogs and a pack of cheese in the trunk. The smell decided to blossom on the morning of our trip! Lovely, right?
Despite being a little behind, we didn’t forget anything-- which is a near miraculous feat in my household. We even remembered little things like hair ties and lip balm, not to mention the biggies like cell phone chargers and cameras. After nine years of parenting, Superhusband and I finally have our act together!

Wait, why are those of you who know me in real life looking at me that way? There is no follow-up to that. We actually didn't forget anything. *ahem* Moving on...
First stop: Santa Barbara

Driving through Santa Barbara, I noticed it's filled with homes I'd be terrified to live in. I imagine they have phenomenal views, but I’d stay up at night imagining every sound I heard was really the earth beneath my house crumbling into the sea. 

But anyway, the beach! This is one of those postcard, white-sand-gorgeous, clean and perfect beaches. Definitely a great spot for letting the kids run around and stretch their road trippy legs on. We had lunch there and told the munchkins they could get their feet wet but not their whole bodies because we wanted to stay on schedule.

Two hours and three sopping-wet kids later, we were slightly behind schedule. Good thing I packed tons of extra clothes for everyone. :)
Next up: San Louis Obispo and the Second or Third MOST Disgusting Wall on the Face of the Earth

I’d like to start by saying San Louis Obispo is a beautiful city. Being a Thursday, we were able to experience the amazing weekly street fair and farmer’s market, and we shared a mouth-watering pulled pork sandwich with smokey-sweet barbecue sauce that tasted like heaven. I adore this city; it’s artsy with a laid-back vibe and I love it in a million ways, but... there is a wall there, and it’s covered from top to bottom in chewed up pieces of gum. Blek! Our three-year-old tried to pull some of the gum off because they looked gooey and he thought it was playdough! EW!!! Some of the pieces were freshly-chewed and glisteny and-- grossssss

*shudders* I feel like dousing my son’s hand in antibacterial sanitizer all over again just thinking about it. Moving on.
Monterey, Hooray!
This is actually a series of MASSIVE sand dunes.
Those tiny dark specks at the bottom are people carving their names in the solidified sand.

Our hotel was a mega bargain, and only a block from the sand dunes and shore. But everywhere I looked were signs that warned of the deadly rip currents, and for those of you who don’t know, I’m slightly extremely overprotective with my kids. They’re strong swimmers but I don’t really let them “swim” in the ocean. Because I’m paranoid. Luckily they don’t even like ocean-swimming, they only like ocean-playing: jumping waves and digging holes for waves to come and fill up, that sort of thing. Still, I kept my eyes on them. Those waves weren’t going to snatch away any of my kids, not on my watch. And check out this sign, ack! As if all the rip current warnings weren’t enough to make me feel like this was the most dangerous beach on the planet:
But the kids had a blast, and no one was swept away by a tsunami, a rip current, or anything else my paranoid imagination could come up with.
On the road again: Pismo Beach

After two happy nights at Monterey, it was time to head back home-sweet-home. Our road trip back included a stop at Pismo, at an interesting beach full of coves and inlets and creepy sea caves. This was a great beach for sitting and thinking up story ideas. At least, it was for me. For the kids it was a great beach to explore tide pools and look for interesting pebbles and broken seashell bits. It was also a great place to be told five thousand times that you cannot go into the cave because it's at the bottom of an inaccessible cove. And because there might be a weirdo hiding inside-- caves are spooky, I'm just saying!!!
I forever want to call this city Slovang, I can’t help myself. It was established by Dutch settlers and all the architecture is windmill-ish and adorable. Doesn’t that make you feel like slipping into some clogs and gathering tulips? No? Just me, then. Okay.

This and That:
As I mentioned, the sand dunes at Monterey have a natural wall of hardened sand at the bottom. People chisel their names in it. Being a social deviant at heart, I jumped at the chance to add to the graffiti. Check out my hardcore tagging:
Me, at the base of the massive sand dunes of which I spoke.

There's also an amazing aquarium, with touch tanks and an underwater wave tunnel. Very cool stuff!

And Monterey has an old lighthouse, which makes me think of writing a creepy ghost story. Except that this lighthouse looks much too cute to be creepy.

And that about wraps it up. We had a great time but I have to say, it's good to be home! :)



  1. Such gorgeous places you visited! I'm jealous.

  2. aww. your tag in the sandstone is so pretty! As are all your pictures! Pismo looks amazing and that wall of gum makes me want to toss my cookies. I just had a gum chewing nightmare last night, too. *shudder*

  3. Hi KT, the beaches were all unique, which is one thing I love about beaches so much. We had fun!

    Thanks Amalia, it was a great experience for all of us! A chewing gum nightmare... after seeing that gum wall I'm surprised I didn't have one too!

  4. Awww! It looks like you had an amazing time =)

  5. Great photos.

    And you're right. That was looked gross!