…And then I ate ALOT of Crab legs!

     The best thing about vacationing in Pismo Beach is when you can get there without hitting a deer, or two, or three. Also the beach is awesome and I may have eaten my weight in crab legs; its seems plausible.
     I live in the mountains, up a long winding highway that deer love to scamper across, and they do not stop for cars. I know, a week after I bought my brand new Subaru Baja a few years ago, yes, I killed Bambi.  Although in all actuality Bambi did hit me, there was nothing I could do about the situation. It was a very foggy mountain morning, and I had just pulled over to let another car pass me (Turned out to be a coworker of mine, A.) I pulled back out onto the highway, and Bam! The deer hit the drivers side of my car. Oh yeah, it was dead. I got to work, and A.  asked me if I had seen the deer, and I answered

     “Yeah, I hit it!”  That was the second animal I’ve hit; I also hit a coyote on the freeway in my old Ford Escort. So after my past adventures with road kill, it wasn’t a huge surprise when a huge deer ran right in front of our car on the way to Pismo the other morning. Dead deer seem to be attracted to me, and my group of friends. A few years ago, my buddy Adam hit a pack of deer in Utah. On the freeway. In a Hyundai. And he lived to tell about it.  My Bff Ryan lives in San Luis Obispo, and he has hit two or three deer with  his Ford Escort. Really do you even keep track any more after two?  Luckily, on this particular early spring morning, we made it to the Central Coast without taking out anymore wildlife.

     The traffic through Los Angeles in the morning is pretty ridiculous so when we make the drive to Central California alot of times we take the back roads through the high desert. Every time we do this I am reminded just how much I hate the high desert, especially Palmdale. Imagine if you took Compton and all the gansters who live there and threw them into the middle of the desert and did not take away there meth. That’s what the high desert is like. Oh yeah, and its hot. I hate the heat.
      Highway 138 leads from our pine covered mountains, winding past Crestline, crosses the 15 freeway in the Cajon Pass and goes straight through dusty Palmdale to the 14 freeway. Its about a two hour drive down the 138, the Pear Blossom Highway as its locally called. This is the deadliest highway in California. Probably because everyone drives 80 on it, trying desperately to escape from the desert, oh yeah and did I mention alot of the people in this area are driving on meth? Its not a good combination. Luckily we only passed one roll over accident on our trip through this dry and desolete wasteland.

View of the beach from our private balcony

?      The high desert might be a miserable place, but when we go this way we can cut up through Fillmore and Ojai, and that part of the drive winds through farmland, mountains and vineyards. Its breathtaking. When we drove it this time the orange blossoms were in bloom, and that right there is just about the best smell in California.  Driving this route as opposed to the Los Angeles way only adds about another hour to the drive. If you factor in the time waiting in stop and go Los Angeles rush hour traffic, its probably faster.  We walked around downtown Ojai a little bit, but it was so hot! The end of March and it had to be close to 90 degrees out doors! We were ready to head towards the beach!

     By the time we approached Pismo Beach it was almost four o clock. I was starving, I’d had nothing but a nutrition bar and coffee that morning.  That’s when I devoured  at least one pound of Alaskan Bairdi Crab legs at the Cracked Crab. The crab legs were very good, really sweet with great flavour, and very reasonably priced. The sourdough rolls that came with our dinner had absolute perfect sourdough flavour. I hardly ever eat white flour, but man were they worth it! I just wish their outdoor patio had been open for the season, it was such a beautiful evening!
     After gorging myself on shellfish we drove the half mile to our hotel, waddled inside and checked into our little suite at the Seaventure Inn. I found a killer deal on Travelzoo. Luckily we were traveling during the off season (Even though it was 80 degrees at the beach!)  so we got our suite, on the beach, with a Jacuzzi on our private patio for $149 a night! Plus we got tons of coupons for free wine tasting in Avila Beach and at a few local wineries (they even had a free shuttle to nearby Laetitia Winery) a free flight of wine at the hotel restaurant, and our room came with a free breakfast basket every morning delivered to our room! I can tell you now, that much wine could make a person want to start buying cases of wine online to make sure they have their stock up of their particular favorites! Such a good deal! I love this hotel, and can’t wait to stay there again! I just love having a hotel on the beach; I could sit out on our patio all day and read, or write or just stare at the ocean.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       


     Our first full day in Pismo I would love to say I got up at dawn to watch the sunrise over the water. Well, I meant to after all, but instead I slept in til eight a.m. when our breakfast of bran muffins, juice and coffee arrived. Breakfast of champions! It was a perfect little snack to enjoy on our balcony with the free newspaper the hotel provided. I worked on the blog for a bit, then we headed north on the 101 towards the town of Paso Robles. The 101 is a pretty drive up the Cuesta Pass through farmland studded with cows, llamas and sheep. Paso is known for its vineyards and wine tasting, but I was really looked froward to checking out WeOlive; a little store that sells speciality olive oil and gourmet foods. I’d also heard they have samples! So, I tried just about every sample in the store and wanted to buy everything I tried. Unfortunately all the olive oils and the amazing aged balsamic vinegar I tried were super expensive. Like they made Whole Foods look like Pic N Save. The sweet, melt in your mouth balsamic vinegar I fell in love with was about 26 dollars a bottle. I Just couldn’t bring myself to swipe my Am Ex. I found a recipe to make vinegar; I guess its pretty easy, and I am going to do that one of these days. You can make vinegar with any alcohol or fruit juice. You just have to age it with this stuff called Mother (they use it when making beer?) I haven’t found any Mother in my travels yet, which is the only thing holding me back. I also tried some Meyer Lemon Olive Oil that was SO GOOD.  I would love to cook a Ahi Tuna Fillet in that, but really, it costs almost as much as a tank of gas for a bottle. Can you tell that my vacations revolve around food? After sadly leaving WeOlive empty handed, we wondered through the two cheese stores in town, trying samples and buying some fig and honey laced white Stilton to go with the Pinot Grigio we had brought from home.

     We took a very scenic detour driving back to Pismo Beach. We came back via highway 46, taking the highway across the rolling hills towards the ocean. It ends up in Cambria, way North of Pismo. We’ve been there a few times. I seem to recall being dragged into antique stores. In no mood for that today, we took a cutoff at Old Creek Road which cut through farmland, it was all 25 mile an hour curves as the road curved up and over the mountain passes. This drive was so so pretty. The green hills were sprinkled with cattle, oak trees shaded the lonely country road; if only Southern California could look like this! The road went past Whale Lake Reservoir, and after that we had a view of the ocean sparkling in the distance as we made the drive down the pass. The road dumped us out on highway one, just pass the beach hamlet of Cuyacos, Morro Rock sat in the distance just out of reach.

The drive on Old Creek Road


     At this point of course I was hungry again so we returned to our hotel and walked across the boardwalk to Splash Cafe, well known for having the best Clam Chowder in town. Plus, I had to order a side of Calamari and Chips, only five dollars, how can you pass that up? Such a deal! Suffice to say the Clam Chowder was creamy and clammy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it when we returned to our room. The calamari was perfect too. After having my snack on our balcony I went to sit out on the beach awhile and read Quinn Cummings book, Notes from the Under wire. Check it out, its awesome in a laugh out loud kind of way.


Ryan and I at Pismo Beach


     In the evening we enjoyed our free flight of wine on the restaurants balcony overlooking the ocean. We tried three different Chardonnays that were all pretty good. My BFF Ryan had driven down from San Luis Obispo so we hung out on the swings at the beach for a bit, checking out the beginnings of an awesome sunset.  

     In the evening I enjoyed the jacuzzi on our balcony, along with the Pinot Grigio we had brought from home, staring up at the stars reflecting over the ocean. This was such a relaxing perfect vacation! Every time we come to the Central Coast we say

     “Why didn’t we decide to stay another night?”

So next time, which sadly probably won’t be until next year, we will have to stay three nights. I didn’t even get to do some of my favorite Central Coast things like Avila Beach, Montano De Oro, shopping in downtown SLO, or eat at half the restaurants I love!

Everyone asks me if I photo shopped that photo and I did just barely. This video shows that yes, the sunset really was that amazing!


  1. 3rseduc / handsinthesoil

    your description of palmdale is too apropos. i keep wanting to go out there and see the poppy fields but i mean i work kinda out there and hate it why drive an extra hour in desert meth ghetto hell? yeah theres a good produce stand with great honey on the way but still…desperia, victimville, that’s enough high desert for me.

    I wanna go jeep-ing out near pismo one of these days. when i am like 90 and mike and i dont have work and school and a family and housework and sleep and groceries and all that to do lol.

Comments are closed.