Courtesy of BW

“It’s not a race, Ruth, slow down.”

Quietly and ever-so-gently, I was pulled to a stop after twenty minutes of gallivanting up the mountain like a billy goat on too much espresso.  My run was brought to a calmer, moseying pace, up the trail with plenty of pauses to actually stop and take a look around.  If you stop bouncing around enough, you can spy a red tailed hawk gliding on the ocean breeze, and look here at the orange, purple, yellow, and white flowers that line the path.  What kind of flowers are these, none of us are sure, and let’s take a look at the next one over here.  At one point, we stood and listened to the surf and watched the waves crash and froth along the coast of Big Sur.  We were, at separate times, high enough to watch the mist glide in over the shore and low enough to see the white tent tops from the Pro-Am event at Pebble Beach.

Later that afternoon, we rolled past tourists pulled over in endless rows of Mustang convertibles, gawking at the vistas.  We eased our windows down to gawk at the tourists, surprised that more of them weren’t hit by oncoming traffic or toppling over barricades.  There were too many selfies / selfie sticks / couple selfies to count.  When did we become so obsessed with viewing the world through a screen and memorializing every. single. moment. that we miss out on the waterfall cascading on to the beach or the peachy sunset dipping behind the clouds?  At some point, instagramming everything became more of a focus than holding on to a railing, catching the sunbeams on your face, and not caring which way the wind has blown your hair.

In the mornings, tracking California dew on the carpet, we’d meander next door for breakfast or rather, the boys would chow down on biscuits, gravy, eggs, bagels, yogurt, sausage and I’d drink my breakfast.  On my last day, I caved and housed down a meal alongside them - keeping up was hard work.  In the evenings, we dined on only the most high class fare available - pub grub or chowder in a bread bowl.  To be specific, someone else’s bread bowl after he ate the chowder out of it already.  How magnanimous right?  Oh bread, you’re always so good to me.

On President’s Day, on our way through San Jose, we stopped off for a tour of the Winchester Mystery House, something I’ve wanted to do ever since I watched that Halloween / late night special on all the spooky places you can visit in the US.  We wandered through 110 of the 160 rooms on the six acre property, lagging behind the tour group to peer out windows that looked out onto other parts of the house and craning our necks around corners to encounter shrinking, dimly lit hallways.  If you ever need a new setting for a Gothic ghost story or have any interest in Victorian architecture, this house is The Place to visit.

Having gorged myself on only a smidgen of California adventures, I’ve been invited back the next time the guys are out there.  There are more parks and more peaks to conquer, along with wineries and restaurants that we didn’t even get to.  Next time, CA, I’ll be back.