Southern California - December 22 - January 1, 2016
Again, we wanted to go someplace that was warm at Christmas time. Last year we went to Northern Florida. This year we thought it would be good to go back to California, after many years. As it turns out, all of the time we were in Southern California, it was warmer back in Houston! The high temperatures there were in the 50s and lows in the upper 30s, so coats we brought were given extensive use. But, after starting out with some rain, the weather was nice and clear the rest of of time there.
Our wanderings took us up the coast to as far as the Piedras Blancas Light Station, and as far south as San Juan Capistrano. It was a nice trip, and we got to do most of the things we planned, with a few extras thrown in.
The state tried to make us feel welcome by having a grass fire that closed down Highway 101 and the Pacific Coast Highway and made us detour through the mountains, along with a few thousand other driving companions. As well, they arranged a magnitude 4.4 earthquake east of Los Angeles -- we didn't feel anything on the coast.
It was a good trip and we enjoyed seeing CA again, but leaving it for TX was nice too.
[Tuesday] We got up very early and drove to IAH and flew to LAX on United. We rented a car at LAX and drove up US-101 and CA-1 to San Simeon. We checked into Pelican Inn for 2 nights. It's a wonderful place to stay, right across the road from the ocean.
Click on the small photos to enlarge them.
[Wednesday] We spent the entire day at the Hearst Castle. We took three tours - Grand Rooms, Upstairs Rooms and Cottages & Kitchen.
< The Pacific rolling into San Simeon near our hotel.
< Hearst Castle Visitor Center. < The view from Hearst Castle.
< Banquet room. < Sitting room. < Library. < Hearst bedroom.
< Another library. < Indoor swimming pool.
[Thursday] We drove up CA-1 to Piedras Blancas Light Station and took a 2-hour tour of the station. The lady that conducted our group was excellent.
< < < < < < Piedras Blancas Light Station tour.
< Sebastian's General Store. < Elephant Seals along the beach. < More beautiful coast.
[Friday] We started out in downtown and visited The Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. Built in 1772, this is the 5th in a chain of 21 missions stretching from San Diego to Sonoma. They were getting ready to start Christmas mass and we sat inside until they were almost ready to begin services.
< Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.
< San Luis Obispo street scene.
< < Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove.
[Saturday] Watching the news this morning in the restaurant at the hotel, we saw that US-101 and the coast highway CA-1 eastward were closed due to a fire in the mountains between here and Ventura, where we are going today. We detoured CA-150 and CA-33 around the fire and got back on US-101 south. We went to the Getty Villa and spent the day looking at the exhibits there. We took the architectural and the garden culinary tours.
< Lake Casitas on Hwy 150 on our detour.
[Sunday] Today we spent the entire day at Ronald Reagan presidential library. The library contains many rooms detailing Reagan's presidency. Included in the exhibits is Air Force One Tail Number 27000, a Boeing 707. The airplane flew seven U.S. presidents - Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, H.W.Bush, Clinton and W. Bush. At the end of the day, we drove to Brea and spent the night at the Embassy suites Hotel.
< < < < < President Ronald Regan Library.
[Monday] We spent the morning at the Richard Nixon presidential library in Yorba Linda. The library was under reconstruction, so some areas were closed, but it was still worth the visit.
< President Richard Nixon Library.
[Tuesday] Today we drove down to San Juan Capistrano and toured Mission San Juan Capistrano. First we went inside the new mission. Afterwards, we toured the old 1776 mission compound. You will remember that this is where the Cliff Swallows return every March 19th. They migrate 15,000 miles from Goya, Argentina in large groups.
< < < < The old mission compound.
< Pacific coast near Dana Point. < The earthquake. < Dana Point harbor.
[Wednesday] We drove from Dana Point up the beach and stopped along the way in various places like Laguna Beach. We ended up in Long Beach at the Queen Mary which is now a hotel. We spent the night at the Queen Mary. We ate supper at the Sir Winston Restaurant onboard. .
< The Queen Mary. < Shopping area. < Outside deck.
< Long hallway on our floor. < Amateur Radio Room. < Dining room.
< View from one of our port holes. < Samples of all the varieties of wood used inside.
[Thursday] After spending the morning on the Queen Mary looking around, we drove up the coast from Long Beach through Rancho Palos Verdes and Redondo Beach up to our Hyatt Place hotel next to LAX airport.
< Pacific coast north from Long Beach. < Surprised to learn that LA has a good rail transit system.
[Friday] We checked out of the hotel and drove up CA-1 and Sepulveda Blvd through Beverly Hills and then to the Fox Car Rental, where we turned the car in and caught the shuttle bus to LAX. Our United flight left a little late but arrived in IAH ahead of time. We got back home about 10:45 PM.
This draws to a close our brief vacation to Southern California. We hope you enjoyed the photos and brief descriptions of our activities. God willing, join us again soon for another travel adventure.
Goodbye for now,
Lawson & Kay
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.(1 Thes. 5:23-24 NASB)