We stopped at the beach not long after leaving San Simeon. It was already much warmer than the Bay Area and there were a few people on the beach. An older couple fishing, caught my attention. No pun actually intended. The man was taking it quite seriously, dressed in waders, he was able to get into the water several feet further than the woman who stayed mostly on the shore. I was glad to witness her first catch of the day, a healthy sized surf perch. She was so excited; earlier she had something but it was too much for her equipment and the line snapped. A bit further north of them were two men who must have had that problem before as they came prepared with an industrial strength pole and heavy line. I could have stayed there all day and done the same.
Alas, we had places to be. We wanted to be in San Diego by nightfall. As expected, the trip was gorgeous. At some point, we left route 1 for Cabrillo Highway, route 101, also known as El Camino Real. Every 30 miles or so there was a strange iron bell hanging from a curved metal shepherd’s hook. Upon some investigation, later I found out that these were placed in the early 1900s to commemorate the 600 mile trail of mission settlements. Thirty miles was about as far as you could get on horseback in one day. The road was adorned with brilliant mustard flowers said to have been spread by the padres as they traveled between missions.
We stopped briefly in Santa Barbara to visit the Moreton Bay Fig Tree said to be the largest in the country. Planted in 1876, it’s grown to be over 42 feet in circumference. The city naturally put a fence up to deter people from bothering it; in my mind, I crawled along its sprawling legs and rested in the folds of its soft elephant skin.
We had lunch at Joe’s Cafe, a large fancy restaurant reminiscent of the old bars in New England with its high tin-tiled ceilings. It was a good reprieve before the next stretch of rather uneventful road to San Diego.
I was surprised that the traffic through LA was not nearly as frightening as I expected. We went through around 3 or 4 and though it was crowded, agility wasn’t as required so much as patience. From what I could tell, LA traffic is nothing compared to in Miami. At least when you’re bumper to bumper in LA, you’re not going 80 mph.