Big Sur I know you're the one

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.


  1. Oh my! This was a lovely post. Reading it made me feel like I was right there with you! ;)

    On a more serious note, you bring up a good point. I've been trying to be mindful on being present and less about trying to capture every single thing. I used to carry my DSLR everywhere but that got tiring because I could never really enjoy the moment. And then it was replaced by the iPhone.

    Don't get me wrong I still will take a snap or two if I'd like to commit something to memory. But now I'm intent on just enjoying the moment and my peeps.

    Sounds like you had a lovely trip Rooth! I can't wait to hear about your future adventures.

  2. The first line left me confused and disoriented. Not a race??? :) J/K, I actually like to meander while on vacation, see what I can see without being too worried about doing what I planned to do. The Winchester House sounds awesome. Oh, to have the money to indulge!

    I'm glad you had such a nice time.

  3. Oh man! That Winchester House does sound an awesome place to visit, esp. for my hubby who likes this kind of stuff:D
    More stories, please! :) I love California, and would love to go back someday.

  4. That sounds wonderful. Not the part about the selfie sticks, but you know, the Big Sur part and all.

    I have given up trying to get the perfect picture of my travels. It's always better in my mind later on anyway, and I don't need to show off to anyone on facebook!

  5. I just came back from a Californian adventure myself and already planning to see the many sites I did not get a chance to see or thoroughly explore. Unfortunately I didn't make it to Big Sur, only got as far as Malibu. I loved how you mentioned our obsessive need to record every detail digitally. In hindsight a lot of my trip was "ruined" because I was too focused on getting the right shots to use for my own blog and social media accounts. I'd love to go back and just watch it all, if even for only 5 minutes, and take it all properly in.


  6. Ah, it sounds like a fabulous adventure! And that view!

    For the record, Amen to being present . . . soaking in the goodness, and not simply capturing it through a lens.

  7. Beautifully written! It makes me want to get on a plane right now!

  8. Sounds awesome! Wish I was there right now

  9. Sounds like a lot of fun! I think it's strange how people live their life to put pictures online for validation or memories. I get taking pictures but it really cuts down on the actual experience. I'm glad you get to go back to see more!!

  10. "Like a billy goat on too much espresso.." haha I like that. Sounds like you had a good trip there. A return to California is definitely due. I would love to visit again. One trip wasn't enough.

  11. take me with youuuuu! i miss CA. Been too long since a visit.

  12. We were in Big Sur the 12 & 13 of February. Crazy how nice the weather is already!

  13. Like a billy goat on too much espresso... Oh I know what that's like. "When did we become so obsessed with viewing the world through a screen?" Funny you should mention this. I asked my students the exact same question in class today. The world is not friggin' YouTube or a picture on FB. Experience it. Breathe in, breathe out. Switch off that stupid smartphone that makes everyone dumb.

    Yes? ;)

  14. So jealous of your California travels! We are headed to Lake Tahoe in July at least. I can't believe I'm going to have two walkers by then.... eek!

  15. I really want to visit the Winchester Mystery House! I get what you mean about photos, but I actually really look back on them and relive my trips! More often than not, I wish that I had taken more photos.

    Hope you enjoyed the vacation!

  16. I have yet to go to Big Sur. I need to get my ass over there!

  17. Big Sur sounds delightful! Lets all gaze and wonder about
    the white, yellow, purple and orange flowers c:
    At first I thought you went all by yourself to that 'haunted'
    house :P luckily there was a tourguide
    Xx Ice Pandora


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