3-7 May 2015 California - Malibu, Buellton, Pismo Beach

Sunday 3rd May

Took the I-10 west through East Los Angeles towards Santa Monica. Being Sunday there were very few trucks on the road but the roads were very busy, I can't imagine what it would be like in a week day.

Eventually we reached Santa Monica and the west coast Pacific highway ( highway 1). There were road works, therefore it was very slow going but we got our first glance of the Pacific Ocean and the beach. The beaches looked lovely with soft golden sand and big rollers coming in off the ocean. There were rows of Malibu Board surfers bobbing in the sea waiting to catch a wave. Whilst waiting in a queue of traffic the vehicle next to us signalled that there was a problem, when I opened the window the driver said that we had a rope tangled around our trailer wheel. We stopped as soon as we could to have a look, and the securing band on one of the car wheels had come off and was being dragged along. The car hadn't moved and was still securely on the trailer but it was still course for concern because why had it become detached. We carried on along highway 1 until we reached Malibu Beach RV Park. The park is set just back from the highway up into the hills. Our parking area has a beautiful ocean view, and as we have backed into the site the bedroom overlooks the ocean.

Just after we arrived one of our neighbours here said that they had just seen a pod of whales pass quite near to the shore. As I write, I've just glanced out of the window, there is a full moon casting a beam of light across the sea and I can hear the noise of the Pacific rollers crashing onto the sand.

Monday 4th May

Picked Chris and Dave up at LA airport at lunchtime, they arrived early and got through and out of arrivals within the hour. It was great to see them at last - Sandy was so excited she did backward somersaults - and we're really looking forward to our three weeks together. We took Highway 1, Lincoln Boulevard, back to Malibu Beach. After having a welcome drink and and catching up on all the news we walked down to the highway to Malibu Seafood. This place is a simple restaurant overlooking the sea with an array of fresh fish on display. It was difficult to choose but I had salmon, Tony had squid steak, Chris, clam chowder and Dave, scallops. Some of the best fish I have ever tasted. The sun was going down and a chilly wind had got up so we retired back to the RV for the evening. We watched flocks of pelicans flying in formation along the coast on their way to settle for night.

Photos by Chris

Tuesday 5th May

We had breakfast outside overlooking the sea whale watching. We spotted one was lazily swimming along the coast. After breakfast we broke camp, filled up with propane and got onto Highway 1 to make our way along the coast north to Buellton and the Flying Flags RV Park. The skies were grey this morning and there was a mist over the sea but the coastal drive was still spectacular, sea and surf on the left and the mountains on our right. Just before Ventura we got onto the 101 past Santa Barbara and turning away from the coast as we climbed into the mountains and Buellton. The scenery turned into pretty farm land and then as we climbed we wound our way through picturesque grassy hillsides. The sun was shining when we arrived at Flying Flags, a very smart, well kept RV park with excellent facilities.

We have a nice end pitch near the swimming pool where we settled down outside to have a late lunch of Angus steak burger. Chris and I sat by the pool in the sunshine for a while but the wind got up and it was too chilly to venture into the pool. Dave is busy trying to set up the wifi booster we have had for a while but has proved difficult to get working. Had chicken dinner around the table in the RV this evening, it was nice and cosy inside, too chilly to eat out.

Wednesday 6th May

Woke up to a cloudy day, the California sunshine has deserted us, there is a cold weather front coming down from British Columbia. We walked into Buellton to Emma's Pancake House for breakfast through a chilly wind, it felt just like home! The restaurant is very homey with checked table clothes and the hot coffee offered us soon as we sat down was very welcome. Chris had a short stack of pancakes with whipped butter and maple syrup. I had the Danish pancakes which are thinner and similar to what we have in the UK but with icing sugar, whipped butter and syrup. Dave and Tony had smoked sausage, hashbrowns, egg and Dave added biscuit and gravy. The biscuit is like an English scone and the gravy looks like a white sauce. After breakfast we made our way to Solvang just over 3 miles away. This Danish style town was established in 1911 and the has decorative windmills and lots of gabled buildings. A pretty little place with several bakeries and gift shops. This afternoon we head down the coast to Santa Barbara and Arroyo Burro. Here we could let Sandy off the leash and we walked along the white sand beach. Sandy had a great time running in and out of the surf and playing with the other dogs.

Photos by Chris

Afterwards we had a drink in a really nice beach restaurant called the Boathouse, they did good cocktails. Victor was behind the bar and gave us recommendations on scenic drives we could take and where to go for dinner.

Photos by Chris

From the beach we went into Santa Barbara, along State Street to pick up State Route 154, the San Marcus Pass through the Santa Ynez Mountains. Victor told us about this road, it was an old mountain stage coach route and due to the steepness an extra two horses were attached to the coaches. On the way we passed Lake Chachuma down in the valley. The road took us through unspoilt wilderness and views of the valley below and eventually brought us out just north of Solvang at Los Olivos. For dinner we went to the Hitching Post Restaurant in Buellton. A well established family restaurant producing their own wines and with a varied menu. Chris and I had mahi mahi with starters of shrimp cocktail and salad. Tony had pork and Dave lamb. The wine was excellent, the best we had tasted so far.

Thursday 7th May

We broke camp mid morning and headed north on the I-101 towards Pismo Beach. On the way we passed fruit farms and vineyards and pleasant open country with rolling hills. The weather is still dull and quite chilly. At Pismo Beach we booked in at the Pismo Coast Village RV resort which is positioned on a creek, lined by sand dunes with the sea beyond. The park has good facilities, with a general store and small restaurant. We took a walk into Pismo town along the beach where there is a fishing pier. We stood on the pier watching the surfers trying to catch waves. The bay has nice white sand and the town stretches along it and back into the hills. The scene was very reminiscent of an English sea side town. We went along Highway 1 out of the town towards Grover Beach

Photo by Chris

and turned into Pismo State Beach which took us through a really nice grassy state campground past a butterfly sanctuary and forested area towards the sea. Here the beach had beautiful white sand and was very quiet. We let Sandy off the leash for a run around as we made our way back towards the creek and the path back to the RV park. We had dinner in the RV and listened to the UK election results.