california’s central coast

i awoke feeling sore of back but knowing i had to move in order to make it to napa. getting out of town took longer than i would have liked, but with nearly 4,000 miles on my trip odometer, i needed an oil change before i left on the long trip.

the drive south started with highway 101 on the coast, meandering along the waters’ edge in a beautiful day. it took most of the day to get through oregon and into california, but i finally made it. i got to napa by midnight or so and drove up a hill to my sister’s boyfriend’s temporary residence in a lovely house that overlooks the city of napa. the next day i went to lunch with marshall at pine ridge winery where erika used to work doing parties and pr. marshall’s best friend drew came over as did some other friends. we all did a tasting and toured the caves. after, we went to drew’s for dinner with a big crew.

the next morning i needed to head south again to make it to santa barbara in time for dinner. the ride down 101 was speedy and i transferred over to 1 for part of it. i arrived in the early afternoon in the hot but breezy city and went downtown to do a little shopping and poking around. i met alexi and alex and a group of other mostly new yorkers at the restaurant. my good friend nora was there, back for the wedding from sweden, where she is living for a few months. we were staying in a 1960’s house above the beach.

several of us were at the house and we circled round the gas firepit in the house and played guitar and sang for hours. it was the first time i had met several of the people there and josh and i wowed them with our (drunken) musical stylings.

the next day was a lovely ladies’ brunch like a grown up tea party, with pink bubbles and scones with clotted cream.

the wedding day came next and we relaxed that morning in the beautiful weather until it was time to get in gear and go to the trolley. the wedding was downtown in the courthouse, which turned out to have a beautiful muralled room for the ceremony. it was a no-nonsense affair and alexi wore her grandmother’s wedding dress, which was quite lovely.

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the reception was at the four seasons and we took the trolley back there for drinks and then dinner and dancing.

after another late night at the 60’s house, playing music and enjoying the fire, we had to get up and ready to go the next day. there was a last brunch at the hotel, which we all managed to be at, though many were in pain from the night before. after saying our goodbyes, a few of us relaxed at the house and went to the beach once more before driving out to los olivos for wine tastings. it was a pretty drive, but hot, and none of us were in the mood to taste wine. we had lunch and after one tasting we parted ways.

i went north along the coast to find a spot to camp for the night. i also had to buy a tent, since i had failed to bring mine. i found a campground on the back bay of morro bay and set up for the night. the moon lit the night so clearly i never needed a headlamp. i made dinner by candlelight and enjoyed the moon through the mesh of my tent.

the next day i packed up my gear and reorganized the rav a bit before hitting the road.


morro bay – a volcanic core left after an eruption!

i went north toward san simeon and saw the elephant seals there.


the drive along highway 1 toward paso robles reminded me of the trip mom and i took out there after i graduated from college. erika met up with us and we camped in an rv park outside of paso robles and explored the coast and visited the hearst mansion. we didn’t see the elephant seals, however. they were awesome. the beach was covered with juveniles sunning themselves. they don’t yet have the big noses or mass of the full grown bulls.

i kept going, stopping here and there to see a town or beach, to get food and gas. the trip up the highway to napa took far longer than expected, getting stuck behind a slow rv on a one lane road, etc. i went through big sur and passed the henry miller memorial library, but read online it was closed that day.

that night marshall and claire and mamie – some of erika’s friends in napa – were planning to play bocce in her honor. i was late getting to the bocce courts, but everyone was still there and they fed me and gave me much needed wine and i looked at pictures of my sister and through her books which marshall had brought to find new homes. mamie wanted me to play some music so i played hallelujah and waltz of we. by the time we left the courts it was midnight and time to go home.

marshall was kind enough to let me stay at his apartment in napa, since i am allergic to my sister’s kitty, wubbo, who is staying with him at the house. it is nice to have a place to be alone for a bit, aside from the car. and my back has finally mostly straightened out.

this weekend there is much talk of a bluegrass festival in san francisco, among other events. i believe we shall go!

what comes next, i don’t know!

love and miss,




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