On Sunday, we headed up the coast to Santa Maria, California. Grant's up here for a class he has to take, and Kendall, Watley, and I are just tagging along for the fun of it.
I've been wanting to go to this place called "Neptune's Net" in Malibu, but that's so far away from where we live, we haven't been able to yet. This trip gave us the perfect excuse! It wasn't quite what I expected - I've seen it featured on TV shows and movies before, so I knew it was this really informal, beachy place to eat. What I didn't know is that it was also part biker bar. Seriously. I think we missed the dress code of black Harley Davidson or Sturgis Bike Week t-shirts. But it was still cool. Loud, but cool. The view was great, and right before we pulled up to it, we saw the biggest group of surfers we've ever seen in one spot before.
By the way, to put the gigantic size of LA into some sort of perspective for those of you who've never been...from our house in the southern part of San Pedro (which is the very southern part of LA) to Neptune's Net in the northern part of Malibu(which is the very northern part of LA), it took us an hour and a half to get there. Some of that was because of traffic, but even without traffic, it's about 60 miles!
After Neptune's Net, we really started our journey. It was such a beautiful drive, and I couldn't help but laugh and feel "so California" when the second song that played on my iPod was Tori Amos' A Sorta Fairytale. The beginning lyrics are "On my way up north Up on the Ventura" - the Ventura is another name for the 101, which was the road that we were on. It did feel like a fairytale, though, driving along with the Pacific on my left and mountains on my right. Absolutely amazing!
Once we got north of Santa Barbara, the road turned away from the coast, and we entered into "Happy Cow Country," as I like to call it. Have you seen the commercial that says "Happy cows come from California"? Well, it looked like those were filmed in the area that we were driving through. I even saw a few cows, and they actually did look pretty happy! This area was unlike anything I've ever seen. All around, there were these golden hills - hills upon hills - with layers and layers of mountains behind them, and green vineyards thrown in every now and then. I immediately wanted to move here.
Santa Maria itself is a cute little town. The thing that this area is best-known for is it's wine, and the movie that was filmed in the area based on that exact subject - Sideways. We saw it once, but I think we'll have to watch it again since we're here.
Today was Grant's first day at class, so I went out site-seeing. I asked the girl at the front desk what there was to do here, and she looked at me very confused. Handed me a map, and said that the only thing to do here is to drive the wine trail. Come on - that can't be the ONLY thing to do here! When I worked at the front desk of a hotel, I could - at a moment's notice - give you the top 5 things to do in the area. She tells me this is the ONLY thing to do here?! I think not! Anyways, I'm glad she recommended it, because it turned out to be a beautiful drive, even if I got a little lost. I'll have to take Grant on the wine trail, so we can actually sample some wine. That's on our ever-growing list of things to do here.
Okay, sorry for the lengthy post. When I first started typing, I didn't really mean for it to be long, but I guess I just got carried away.