Leaving the southern CA beaches behind, we headed North for a break from backroads and a long overdue visit with family in Thousand Oaks.
Hopping on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) again, we drove on some twisty narrow roads with no guardrails high above the rocky coast and through some pretty intimidating mountains. As we came down the mountains, we cruised through multitude of gorgeous beach communities where the sand is literally in your front yard and surfing is king. Although the beach communities all share the same ocean, Pacific Coast Highway location and reputation as surfing meccas, each town has it’s own personality and attractions. Here’s the rundown of our beach destinations.
Better hope you don’t get behind a “Sunday Driver” because there is no passing on the PCH. Gorgeous views but who wants to take their eye off the road to look?
We left the PCH and jumped over to I-5, soon passing Camp Pendelton Marine Corps Base, which is located near the town of Oceanside. We’re proud of our military and know they train hard to be prepared for any eventuality. But while training, Oceanside must be a good place for some R & R.
This is also where The Tour hit the 4,000 mile mark.
Bart and Rorie continued to sail along the highway ever mindful of the speed limit of course. We saw our first CA Highway Patrol (CHP) cop riding an impressive BMW. You gotta love the boots. If you watched the old TV show “Chips” starring Erik Estrada, you know these bike-riding highway police officers were hot (Rorie says). Reportedly, the CHP is going to be switching to Harleys soon.
Thankfully, we didn’t see one of these.
Our last stop before meeting up with family in Thousand Oaks was the resort town of Santa Monica. Famous for it’s iconic Pier where you’ll find the Pacific Park amusement park, the National Historic Landmark Looff Hippodrome Carousel, and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, there is so much to see and do without ever leaving the beach. But right next to the pier is the best attraction of all…Muscle Beach, an outdoor gym.
This is where we saw some amazing buildings barely perched on top of some seriously steep cliffs overlooking the ocean. It’s unfathomable how these homes just don’t slide down the mountain. Can you imagine living in a “glass house” precariously balanced on a sheer crumbling cliff in a state known for earthquakes? Talk about a view to die for!
We’re here! Meet the Munsons (no, not the CT Chocolatiers and owners of Munsons Candy). We were welcomed to our hotel with open arms by Rorie’s sister Helaine and our brother-in-law Alan. What a great ending to a great drive. Family and Cowboy John’s award-winning BBQ…who could ask for anything more.
Heading to the Munson homestead to break bread after a great nights sleep, we first drove by miles of fertile farmland. Unfortunately, we then put our lives at risk by taking the “shortcut” path through those treacherous mountains in the background, finally landing safely in gorgeous Thousand Oaks.
Why is it that the minute you get together with your family, you revert back to behaving like a child? Rorie, is that YOU?
Here’s our niece Brianna with her boyfriend Tom, and our nephew Derrick. Great fun and we were so happy to spend time with them. We all worked up an appetite in the park playing frisbee and kickball. We won’t tell you who won the kickball game but Rorie is hugging her winning teammate. You never outgrow that competitive spirit.
After a wonderful visit and a heavenly home-cooked meal, it was time to continue north and explore some out of the way places on our way to Fairfield, CA. Stay tuned.