I have finally worked my way through all the shots I took during our trip. Of course, the pictures don't do justice to the beauty of California.
After a very bumpy flight out (WAY out of my comfort zone) we landed in the morning, had a quick lunch and headed leisurely down from San Francisco to Monterey. We followed the coast for a good portion of the drive. Multiple 'state beach this way' signs lured us off the highway. The first was Seacliff State Park, which had a little pier with fisherman and a big shipwreck.
The second was Salinas River State Park, gorgeous, utterly deserted, and a wicked wind that blew sand in our eyes and the cuffs of our pants.
The drive also took us through the heart of artichoke country (hehe). Miles and miles of artichokes growing amid signs that trespassers could be shot, which frankly were the only thing that stopped us from a life of crime as artichoke poachers.
Luckily, there were many roadside establishments where I could legally get an artichoke fix. We didn't get the chance to experience much of the fine dining California offers, but I am so grateful we pulled over to try fried artichokes. Fresh from the fields, strangely creamy, and piping hot, deep fried artichokes are the things dreams are made of.
The next day, since I am a whore for beaches, my aunt drove us down Hwy 1 from Monterey towards Carmel, and indulged me by pulling over several times. We trooped down the craggy rocks and looked at tide pools while the wind frizzed my hair with salt spay and made our noses run.
The beach at Carmel was also gorgeous, wide and sandy. The town was so cute, with a main street lined with boutiques (including a Lush!) and cafes and well-behaved dogs on leashes everywhere.
Unfortunately, when we returned to San Francisco, I remembered that I hate taking pictures in a city because it makes me feel so touristy. But, I did take a few on our trip out to Alcatraz. Yes, that is a super touristy spot, but cool and creepy nonetheless.
On our last day, we drove down an incredibly winding road to Muir Woods to see the enormous redwoods. Many of the tourists did not make it far down the path, so the forest was so peaceful and quiet.
In the afternoon, we drove up for a quick drive-by tour of the wine country. Also, very pretty with beautiful views and quaint towns. We got to try out wines at two vineyards, both tasty, one very friendly and the other not so much. We spent the evening resting and flew home the next morning, glad for making the trip but happy to be headed back east.