Some of the gals managed to find some time off to see Reebok's latest and greatest production (baby Brandon) and some of Mother Nature's best in Big Sur.
Dubya, JFTB, and I met up at Lil's house way too early (for me, at least) on Saturday morning. Lil and Dubya went to the car rental office to get our car for the trip. Dubya came back first, leaving Lil to deal with the paperwork. Soon after Dubya's return, Lil pulled up in a oh-five Impala, was greeted with a 40 and then started drinkin' ...oh wait, no she didn't. We loaded our cargo and then set off for the road.
A Small Bump In the Road
About 15 minutes into our journey, Dubya could no longer take JFTB's driving, saying that she was swerving too much. JFTB was all surprise, "Really? Am I really swerving?"
Dubya responded emphatically, "Ye-es!"
Whether JFTB intended it or not, the car swerved rather sharply just then, which prompted Dubya to narrow her eyes and ask, "Are you trying to sass me?"
In the end, JFTB was forced to go off the freeway so that someone else could drive. She was relegated to the back of the car, and Dubya took over. For a minute after Dubya started driving, JFTB insisted that the car was prone to swerving, but then she settled down and focused on eating her 100-calorie snack pack. Naturally, during this time, Lil just laughed at everyone and drank her Taiwanese drink (which did not contain boba but was still in that same beverage family).
We stopped for a restroom break somewhere on the 5, had lunch at an IHOP, and then continued on our way. When we hit Gilroy, we stopped at a large shopping plaza where JFTB purchased an FM transmitter for her iPod so that we could enjoy a larger variety of music. She would be the DJ for the rest of the trip.
At about five o' clock, we arrived at Reebok's house in Belmont. We opened the door to an awesome sight, little Brandon all wrapped up in mommy's arms. We all took turns holding him, and we laughed as he made funny faces and stretched in his sleep. Mommy Reebok was looking great and told us all about his arrival and how she and Dad Scott were dealing with their not-so-awesome new sleeping schedule. It's funny how you can just stare at babies for a really long time and not get bored.
Baby Brandon pretty much wanted to sleep after a while (not before laying a good ol' stinkbomb), so aunties Dubya, JFTB, Lil, and me had some grub in Cupertino (of course, Lil made a stop at the Ten Ren there) before driving down to our hotel in Marina.
Our two-room suite turned out to be extremely roomy and was declared a success. With two queen beds and a sleeper couch, there was plenty of sleeping space for everybody. There was a fridge and microwave and a little counter area with stools. And two televisions. We went to bed extremely pleased with our lodgings.
On the Road Again
The next day, Em arrived to join us on the Big Sur portion of our trip! It was good to see her again. As usual, she looked very put together even in her hiking outfit. After Dubya and JFTB got some long-sleeved attire from the Old Navy in the local shopping center, we were ready to go.
Basically, for the rest of the day, it was all about enjoying the scenery. And there is a lot of it. Since a picture says a thousand words, I'll save my energy and let the photos speak for themselves.
First Vista Point
There was a layer of fog that you could see at the horizon that stayed with us all day.
This bridge built around 1932 (I can't remember exactly) enabled automobile travel through Big Sur. And Lil says it has a twin in Australia.
Creek En Route to Molera Point
I can imagine Legolas and Aragorn rowing me down this creek in a canoe. A girl can dream.
Big Sur River Inn
At the Big Sur River Inn, diners can sit on benches and chairs in the river itself while listening to live music from the verandah.
The natural arch formations at Pfeiffer Beach reminded Em, Lil, and me of El Arco out in Cabo.
I thought this rock formation was cool. Em is standing in the center while Dubya curls up for a nap (she's the little black lump on the left).
Pfeiffer Beach is known for its purple sand, caused by manganese garnet particles, which have an amethyst color.
A sea lion came very close to shore, bobbing his head up and down as he watched us humans on the beach.
A very short walk leads you to this stunner. A lot of reward for very little work. In the distance, we saw two whale pods.
Sea Lion Colony
At some point, we bumped into a guy whose job is to monitor the condor population in the area, educate people about condors, and do research. He apparently knew a lot about the local flora and fauna and led us to a turnoff where we could see sea lions. They are the brown lumps that could be mistaken for rocks. While we were there, we also saw a bat and heard a peregrine falcon.
Sunset by Sea Lion Colony
Impala and Moon
Lil Strikes a Pose
At this popular local restaurant, you can eat on the patio and get a great view.
After hitting Nepenthe, we headed back to Marina (with DJ JFTB providing a soundtrack featuring artists such as Atlantic Starr, Whitney Houston, NKOTB, and Hanson). We had dinner at Cafe Stravaganza in Carmel, which has very friendly service.
The next morning, we headed down together to the lobby of our hotel for our free complimentary breakfast, which is VERY important. Lil was not completely satisfied with her breakfast, so she decided to reheat the leftover spaghetti (mine and Em's) from the night before. Dubya didn't really appreciate the smell of microwaved garlic in the morning, but that didn't stop Lil.
We said goodbye to Em and then headed back. It turns out that the 152 is rather windy in parts, and I got carsick and made Dubya pull over. I felt good enough by the time we reached Kettleman City to insist on some In-N-Out, and we continued on the 5 at a pretty good clip...until we hit the Grapevine.
As luck would have it, there had been a brush fire earlier, and traffic came to a standstill. It was very painful. The smoke was extremely thick and smelly. Although brush fires aren't good, I still found it oddly beautiful because of the colors the smoke created in the sky, which you can see in the photo below, which I think is kinda cool because you can see the lake, the smoke, and me in the act of taking the photo (look in the car's side mirror).
It took a long time, but we FINALLY got home. Although none of us were looking forward to going back to work, it was good to be home.