Traffic up was a bit jammy around Santa Barbara - but we'd been rewarded by seeing actual wild dolphins (and strangely large ones, and had a white ventral area, unlike the most common bottlenose. So what's that, either a Risso's dolphin, or a Pacific White-Sided Dolphin?) and they were madly frolicking right off the beach in Malibu. I mean, full on jumping up in the air, leaping over each other - some serious dolphin shenanigans! We stopped for a light dinner at the restaurant from "Sideways" where Miles and Jack meet Maya, the Hitching Post. There, because she is willful and fierce, pyr8queen got in a staring contest with a buffalo. The food was plentiful, but in truth, mediocre.
We arrived in Pismo and checked into the Seaventure Hotel, which was right on the beach. The stay included use of the hotel's beach cruisers, beach towels, and other fun-making equipment. It's only three stories tall, with half the third floor taken up by the hotel's restaurant. We had dragged a risible amount of gear with us, so we mostly unpacked, snacked, and drank perhaps too much wine. Which made the subsequent rum both gratuitious and excessive. But what's life without a little gratuity? (Ask a waiter - no fun at all!) We also soaked in the hot tub, which on a cool night with the sound of the ocean's breakers nearby was very relaxing.
Saturday we explored the town, witnessed a surfing contest and poked around in shops looking for gifts for her family. She also managed to pour a perfectly good cup of coffee on the sidewalk at a local sticky bun shop - and the owner was very gracious and poured us another without charge. The cinnamon rolls were quite tasty, too! After wandering around we had some flat-out amazing clam chowder, too. We regretted not bringing surfboards, because the surf by the pier looked very nice indeed. When we went back to the hotel and got a couple of boogie boards, we regretted even more not bringing wet suits with us - the water was freezing. I'm sure my viking ancestors were sneering at me, but I'm telling you - it was colder than Republican health-care proposals.
A hot soak in the tub set us to rights, however, and then it was back out for a stroll around sunset. There was a little estuary near the beach where we saw ducks, pelicans, an egret, and plenty of other sea-birds. nesting on the dunes. did some frolicking, and also poked a stranded jellyfish. All in all, it was absurdly scenic, and made me realize how profligate with beauty we are here in Southern California. It's all so commonplace, to be just breathtaking, one sometimes forget to stop and take a picture or two (with which to make distant, less scenically blessed friends jealous.)
Sunday morning we got up and had brunch at a nearby hotel with an all-you-can eat raw oyster bar. There was other brunch too, but that was our primary reason for going. We had a bottle of champagne, and too much food, and generally basked before getting in the car. The ride home we followed PCH through some strange little towns and rolling hills covered with scrub trees (which are NOT oaks) and grass. It was hot, and the air was laden with the smell of the grass, the sage, and the summer heat. A different kind of beautiful - blasted, stark, and dry. pyr8queen indicated to me that we needed to get wet. She did this by pointing and nodding at a beach-side parking lot. Like a lioness, her moods are signalled subtly, but one had best be paying attention. We stopped at El Capitan beach to jump into the water, and I foolishly stood a little too long on very hot pavement. My feet, so long coddled in my custom orthotics and shoes, blistered immediately and painfully. This after tearing half of my big toenail up so it stod up straight on Friday night in a door-use mishap. My feet are cursed! After ottering in the surf a bit - in the substantially warmer water than up North, we made it the rest of the way home.