TEN Avocados? For ONE Dollar? A Leisurely Drive From San Fran to LA

2013-05-California-069

We decided to drive from San Francisco (where I was attending a work-related conference) to LA (to hang out for the weekend) via Highway 1, instead of on the much quicker but far less interesting I-5. It was a magical day. Here’s how it went.

6:00 am: Defying logic and our usual tendency to get up at a decent hour, we spring out of bed and speed off towards the Golden Gate Bridge. We wanted to reach LA that night, and Highway 1 beckoned – but I’d never seen the bridge before, so that was a must.

The cheesy pose was my idea.

The cheesy pose was my idea.

7:00 am: Quick coffee-and-breakfast-burrito run at Arlequin, gazing enviously at the beautiful, snobby-looking people who live in this elegant neighbourhood.

7:30 am: Hit Highway 1 with the Eagles on the radio.

8:30 am: Pit stop (hehe) for sweet cherries sold alongside the road by a smiling, faded California girl who has never heard of Montreal.

Who could resist?

Who could resist?

9:00 am: Veer off the highway, enticed by a sign advertising 10 avocados for $1 at a farmer’s market. Blissfully devour two of a slightly higher-priced variety of avocado while sitting on the boot of the car.

A vegetable-lover's paradise

Yes, it’s all organic.

Funny, they're not this red when they get to our grocery stores.

Funny, they’re not this red when they get to our stores.

A fine mid-morning snack

The “10 for $1” sign was just to get us to stop

10:30 am: Roll on down the 1, stopping periodically to take obnoxious selfies in front of the breathtaking scenery.

Forget the gorgeous backdrop, here's us!

Forget the gorgeous backdrop, here’s us!

PROTIP: Don't run up a sandy hill.

PROTIP: Don’t run up a sandy hill.

11:30 am: Breeze right past the Henry Miller Library, a hippy-dippy haven of art, books, peace and good vibes. Turn around and head back to check it out.

12:30 pm: Break for a sunny lunch at Nepenthe in Big Sur.

Books, music, art, aging hippies.

Books, music, art, aging hippies.

If you ever see me with a faraway look in my eyes, I'm daydreaming about this moment.

If you ever see me with a faraway look in my eyes, I’m daydreaming about this moment.

Thank God I came along!

Thank God I came along!

2:00 pm: Spot the kooky resort Riccardo’s friend Jessica told us about – Treebones, where you can literally sleep in a nest overlooking the ocean. The nest was occupied so we couldn’t visit, but it was a lovely place for a glass of wine and a rest.

4:00 pm: Routine scenery gazing stop made vastly more interesting by the sudden sight of thousands upon thousands of elephant seals lazing around on the beach, occasionally engaging in chest-bumping displays of aggression. Eventually forced back into the car due to the overwhelming stench of raw seal energy.

Bo-ring.

Bo-ring.

Phoque'd up!

Phoque’d up!

Vulgar displays of power.

Vulgar displays of power.

5:30 pm: Fuel up in the sleepy surfer town of Cayucos, which retains some charm from its heyday in the 50s and 60s.

7:00 pm: Come across a small-town farmer’s market just as it’s closing up for the day, but in time to pick up some brownies for our host in LA (after sampling each and every flavour).

Why no, I have not yet read the Book of Mormon! Gee, that lady was so nice.

Why no, I have not yet read the Book of Mormon! Gee, that lady was so nice.

Road warriors

Road warriors

A plate of clams at Duckie's Chowder House in Cayucos. Heaven.

A plate of clams at Duckie’s Chowder House in Cayucos. Heaven.

8:00 pm: Cruise through Santa Barbara; stay just long enough to buy a tank top in anticipation of the LA heat.

10:30 pm: Arrive at the beautiful home of Riccardo’s friend from Montreal. Appreciate the stellar skyline from his verandah before walking down the hills for a snack and a bottle of wine. Marvel at being the only human beings walking, at all, anywhere. Head home and fall asleep wishing Montreal was more like California.

* All photos in this post, except the two crappiest, are courtesy of brilliant Montreal photographer Riccardo Cellere.

Bonus musical selection – Joni Mitchell longing for California on the Johnny Cash Show in 1970:

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