Family travel tips to share and how to master hotel stays is one of the most important.

The Central California Coast (January 15 – 18)

Apologies for the looong delay in getting this post out! But my work has a nasty way of interfering with my blogging!! In spite of the last post with what I thought were those oh-so-cute photos of the baby seals, the delay in my posting may have contributed to my losing a couple of my followers (I hope Cheryl and John will choose to return soon!) but Searching Soul and most everyone else has stayed on through the entire time I was away! Anyway, the “real” work is done (my boss can be proud) and I can relax a little and catch up with all the recent places I’ve been so fortunate to visit and can now take a few minutes to allow me share with you many of the pictures I’ve taken along the way. And what a fun time I had! Basically I flew to San Luis Obispo and stayed at the home of a dear friend whom I’ve known since graduate school. Together we spent four days touring up and down the Central California coastline and taking in many of the beautiful sights along the way including Pismo Beach, Shell Beach, Morro Bay, San Simeon and Avila to name just a few of the towns we traveled through. With no offence intended to my adopted home here in Houston, all I can say after visiting all these fine places is: I only wish Houston were as pretty a place!!

My favorite photo … I will call him (or her) Pelican Pete. Like most Californians, Pete was mellow and relaxed enough to allow me to approach and take this close-up photo. Location: near Avila Beach.

Mission San Luis Obispo – this local mission (church) is but one of many along the entire California coastline.
Only in California! Gum Alley – an alley way in-between two buildings in downtown San Luis Obispo where passers-by over the years have deposited their chewing gum. Ya won’t see this in Singapore!!
A close-up view of the gum wall. Apologies to my followers. It’s a bit gross to look at but this collection of gum literally represents over many years worth of people chewing gum and then sticking the wads of gum up on the wall. A bit yucky …. but this is California!!!
After a hard day of sightseeing, what’s a fella (or gal) supposed to do? Why, relax at a nice coffee shop, sip some fine espresso and watch the people go buy and soak in the wonderful weather! After each day, my host and I camped out at Peet’s Coffee and Tea – a wonderful alternative to that Seattle coffee chain … Star something or other! [Madame Lefty and Cheryl please take note!!]
Peet’s also sells excellent loose tea and I purchased 4 oz of their second flush Darjeeling Extra Fancy Kalimpong tea (for $15.00). Not only did I receive a coupon good for $1.60 off my next coffee beverage, but I now can enjoy a fine tea here at home as I type out this posting. Ah the memories of San Luis Obispo linger still ……..
Just one of the many highway signs along the way.
I visited the Edna Vally Vineyard on Sunday, January 18 – my last full day before going to “work” on Monday in Santa Maria and then in Bakersfield the remainder of the week (January 19 – 24).
The Edna Valley Winery offers an excellent view … and some fine wine tasting. (My purchase was a 375 mL-sized bottle of “Sweet Edna” – a white table wine … more like a dessert wine.)
At the top of the mountain sits the Hearst Castle. This castle was built by the billionaire William Randolph Hearst who made his fortune in newspapers (he probably couldn’t do that in today’s economy!!) almost a century ago.
A typical beach view north of San Luis Obispo and south of San Simeon. Thankfully the weather cooperated and I was blessed with sunny skies and cool temperatures (60 s – 70 s deg F).
A painfully beautiful neighborhood in Shell Beach (just north of Pismo Beach and about 15 minutes south of San Luis Obispo). If only I could afford one of these multi-million dollar homes with a terrific view of the Pacific Ocean. Sigh!! Dream on ….
Sadly, Continental Airlines does not serve San Luis Obispo so I had to travel via US Airways with a connection in Phoenix, Arizona. Caution: US Airways charges $15 for the first suitcase and $25 for the second piece. And $2.00 USD per soft drink or bottle of water!!! Otherwise my flights were ALL on time. Including the day of departure from Bakersfield when the fog was so thick our pilot needed a lead vehicle to guide our plane out to the runway for take off!
The San Luis Obispo airport …. small and easy to get to and through (unlike Frankfurt, JFK and those other huge airports!).

My ride for the four days in San Luis Obispo …. a Lexus LS460! Nice car !!!

On Monday, January 19 my idyll in Central California ended and I drove to Santa Maria and then to Bakersfield where my next posting will cover. I hope this posting was pleasant enough. Your comments and suggestions for making my future postings even better are most welcome.

PS: This week marks the ONE YEAR anniversary of The Traveling Chemist!! Many thanks to all my loyal followers.