Day 20 – 11th September 2008 – Cambria to Los Angeles
Wake up in the idyllic surroundings of Moonstone Beach in Cambria – today we intend to squeeze every little drop of enjoyment out of Cambria before heading on to Los Angeles – Lyn is up before me and has already taken a stroll along Moonstone beach as the sun was rising. She returns with more stories of how fabulous it is and urges me to get ready and come see. The sun is back with us today in full force.
There is a walk that takes you along the very edge of Moonstone Beach - couples stroll arm in arm along its length – all you can hear is the sound of crashing waves – the occasional bird call and my lens shutter. If you cannot de-stress here then I don’t know where you can. As you pass couples along the coastal path you exchange smiles that tell you that they are thinking exactly the same as you – this is heaven! You don’t have to speak in hushed voices but the peace and serenity of Moonstone Beach seems to charm you into doing so.
We walk for an hour or two planning where to build our house on Moonstone Beech and how nice it would be to bring the children here, as you do when you’ve found somewhere that you just fall in love with.
Well the time is drifting on and we do have a check out time so we meander back to our room and once again pack the car – this time with a good deal of reluctance. We have a super breakfast (part of the room hire cost) and jump into the car – Lyn has already walked down the road and asked me to pick her up along the way – she really does not want to leave.
We decide that before we drive to Los Angeles that we must take a last look around the old town of Cambria. It is a lovely quaint town with lots of art galleries and antique shops – perfect for spending an hour or two just browsing. Cambria has decreed that there will be no fast food chains located in their town which just adds to its charm.
Ok we can’t drag this out anymore we have to move on – sadly we get back in the car – put Snow Patrol – Eyes Open on the CD player, that will bring us out of our melancholy mood and it does – soon we are bouncing down the road singing out of tune to our favourite Snow Patrol tracks.
Our drive today is 220 miles which should take around 4 hrs – we fill up with petrol once more ($30) (probably for the last time) .I should mention at this stage that I have a correction to make – up until now I thought that we were travelling on the Pacific Coast Highway – eagle eyed TAs have written to me to inform me that we have actually been travelling on the Cabrillo Highway – The Pacific Coast Highway being the stretch between Oxnard in Ventura County to Dana Point in Orange County – thank you TAs – my mistake.
I am not looking forward to this drive – well not the drive so much, more the negotiating of Los Angeles itself – I find driving in any major large city daunting no less one of he biggest cities in the world – don’t let me down now Mrs GPS.
Whilst we are driving to Los Angeles I must just bring you up to speed with the story surrounding our accommodation in LA – we are going to stay in the Four Seasons at Beverley Hills – how fabulous is that – now I could kid you that we stay in the Four Seasons and the like all the time but I think you would probably see through that and so I will share with you what really happened. Lyn’s son (my step son) knows a friend of a friend that is able to procure for us ‘preferred’ rates at the Four Season – we immediately accept only to find out later that even ‘preferred’ rates are still very expensive – well they are for us anyway, considering we are trying to keep to a £100 ($190) per night budget – well how often do you get the chance of rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous – to hell with it – this will be our one extravagance on this trip and we will just enjoy the experience.
We now start to consider how it is going to appear to the Four Seasons staff when we roll up in our Chrysler pt Cruiser which by now has been through Death Valley and the off road section up to Bodie Ghost town etc and you can hardly see the car for dust. I am kitted out with my $10 sunglasses and reading glasses with only one arm that sit at that jaunty little angle on my nose – we subconsciously start humming the theme song to the Beverley Hillbillies and continue on our merry way – I’m sure the Four Seasons have seen worse…….haven’t they?
“The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes is the largest remaining dune system south of San Francisco and the second largest in the U.S. state of California. It encompasses an 18-mile (29 km) stretch of coastline on the Central Coast of California and extends from southern San Luis Obispo County to northern Santa Barbara County. The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex is home to a unique dunes ecosystem as well as several endangered and threatened species of plants and animals.
This Dune System has the highest dunes on the entire western coastline of the United States. Among these, Mussel Rock Dune is the highest, measuring approximately 500 feet (150 m).”
Well who can resist that sort of description – we re-programme the GPs and head for the Dunes. We are now driving through serious farming country – mile upon mile of all kinds of farming produce!
We enter the dune area – there is a road but it is partially cover by the drifting sand making the drive into the dunes very exciting. There is no one else on the road and Lyn thinks we are on the wrong road and keeps telling me to turn back but I figure that they are not going to build a road in the middle of the dunes if it doesn’t lead somewhere – so we press on. You have to say that this is the strangest scenery ever – on the left side of the road are massive rolling sand dunes only capable of supporting the hardiest of occupants whilst on the other side of the road there are lagoons with cows chomping grasses – who does that work?
Anyway persistence pays off as we eventually arrive at a car park – from the main street in Guadalupe you could have taken the Oso Flaco Lake Road which also leads to a parking area where boards are laid out allowing visitors to take a short walk through the dunes to the beach.
We get out of the car into a very nice car park that is surrounded by concrete tables and benches – there is a park official trying desperately to clear the area of the encroaching sand – a thankless task which he is barely winning.
There are a number of information boards around the car park which give you a fascinating insight into the areas diverse ecosystem. We stay for a while just gazing at the fascinating scenery before we once more head back to the car to resume our journey to LA. A very interesting diversion – one that we can thoroughly recommend and judging from the lack of fellow visitors a well kept secret.
We drive back out through the vast areas of farmland and rejoin the highway. The County of Santa Barbara is much bigger than I thought but before long we arrive at Las Cruces – the real start of the Pacific Coast Highway! We drive through Ventura County and before too long we enter he suburbs of Los Angeles – hold on Lyn we’re going in.
Our GPS is magnificent once again and takes us to the Four Seasons without a hitch – the dunes at Guadalupe of course just added the finishing touch to our rental vehicle’s apperance.
We pull up at the Hotel entrance and are immediately greeted by the Doorman who takes our keys – offers to park the car and have our bags delivered to our room – there are many expensive looking cars at the entrance and ours does stand out some what – still the Doorman’s expression gives nothing away. Although we feel like the poor relations the Four Seasons’ staff were fabulous and at no time did we feel that we were treated any differently that our more salubrious guests.
Two men opened the doors for us as we enter the Building and politely greet us – as soon a we entered the lobby area we were approached by an other member of staff who directs us to our very own check in clerk – no standing in line in this Hotel. At check in we were informed that we had been upgraded to a Junior Suite – Lyn and I could hardly contain our excitement. I have to say that as a general comment virtually everywhere that we went in America during this trip we received first class service – everyone that we had to deal with was polite, efficient, helpful and provided their particular service with a smile – this contributed in no small way to the fabulous experience we had but the Four Seasons take service to another level – you are made to feel very special – whoever you are or your background. This, I suppose, is what you get for your money and they do it very, very well.
We were shown to our suite and we just stood there with our mouths gapping – I’m sorry for getting so excited about a hotel suite – I’m sure that many are reading this and asking ‘what is he getting so excited about – it’s no big deal’. Well as I said this is an extravagance for us and it was just a fabulous experience.
The bedroom, bathroom and sitting room all have televisions (that reminds me must find out how the Giants are doing) – we have a balcony that looks out over he gardens – a 3 piece suite and ………well you name it - it had it all. How nice is this!
After about an hour or so there is a knock at the door and we are treated to complimentary cheese, biscuit, grapes and a bottle of red wine. Well thank you very much – we ditch all ideas of going out tonight – we open the wine and decide to enjoy the luxury of this beautiful Hotel instead – wonder if there are any famous celebrities in tonight – who cares – another glass of wine love?