Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Morro Bay

It took less than 2 hours to reach Morro Bay. By the time we got there, it was after 9:00 and this town had closed down for the night! We checked into our room at Pacific Shores Inn, which looked questionable at first, but the room turned out to be just fine.
The channel buttons on the remote didn't work. Steven developed his own system!Join me for a tour of the room!
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The sign on the balcony said the rooms had ocean views. We doubted this Tuesday night, but then again without city lights we really couldn't see very far. Sure enough, when I opened up the curtains in the morning, there was the ocean!

Santa Barbara

On Tuesday we began driving up the coast of California, unsure of exactly where we wanted to stay that night. We did drive by a tiny island just off the coast. There was a bridge connecting it to the mainland, but apparently they don't want any visitors on the private island because a large gate and barbed wire blocked the entrance to the bridge.
So we kept driving and reached Santa Barbara in the late afternoon. It was a quaint town and much to Steven's dismay, it had more than its fair share of one-way streets. Using my once again oh so hand iPhone we found a coffee shop with free wi-fi. Seriously, I don't know how people traveled before technology, what a pain! We didn't find any good deals on hotels in Santa Barbara. I placed a few bids on hotels in San Luis Obispo, but none were accepted. Instead, I ended up booking a room via Hotwire in the nearby town of Morro Bay. With a destination in mind, we spent a few hours checking out Santa Barbara. There is a stretch through town on State Street with shops and restaurants. I hadn't been in the mood to shop this trip, so really we just walked around outside of the shops. We decided on Chipotle for dinner and enjoyed giant burritos!

And this would be me choking on the burrito before I could stop Steven from taking the picture.What would a tour of Santa Barbara be if we didn't check out their dessert offerings? I had seen Pinkberry locations all over California. My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to check it out. It was delicious! They have soft-serve frozen yogurt with an assortment of fruit and cereal toppings. I chose the parfait with vanilla fro-yo, pineapple, granola, strawberries, and red raspberries. Steven thinks fro-yo is an ice cream imposter and he wasn't about to settle on such a thing....so to Ben & Jerry's we went!

Monday, June 29, 2009

The View from Above

Our hotel is across the street from an upscale mall, Fashion Island, that has lots of restaurants including the Cheesecake Factory. Instead of going to the close-by restaurant, we drove to Irvine since it has an open-air mall with a ferris wheel! We arrived right before dark and had a beautiful view of the colorful sky. Then we walked to the other side of the mall to one of the 20+ restaurants at this place, the Cheesecake Factory.To save room for dessert, I strayed from my usual Spicey Cashew Chicken and split a chicken parmesan sandwich with Steven. Even with splitting the entrée, I could only eat half of my cheesecake. We have different tastes when it comes to dessert, so we each got our own. I had the White Chocoloate Raspberry Truffle (check out that tower of whipped cream) and Steven had Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple. Next time we’ll split dessert too!

Laguna Beach

Monday we explored the nearby town of Laguna Beach, made famous by the tv show creatively entitled “Laguna Beach.”
We rode the free trolley around town to check out the sites. This is my favorite sight from the trip through town, a restaurant called Hush. Once again, this town had plenty of awesome houses on the mountains overlooking the beach. I saw these same flowers at a nursery in Indiana, but instead of a 4-inch plant as they are there, they are the size of small trees in the West. This one was a beautiful rainbow of pink, orange, and yellow blooms. Notice the bee in the picture. I don’t know if you are more impressed by my photography or by the fact that I got this close to a bee. I am guessing the latter.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Swedish Style

I found out there was an IKEA just a few short miles away.
Steven had never been, so I wanted to make sure he had a chance to take part in the IKEA experience. Afterwards we refueled with massive p’zones at Pizza Hut.

Another Success Story for Priceline.com

I made another successful bid on priceline.com and snagged a room at the Marriott Newport Beach Hotel & Spa Sunday night. There are several buildings with guest rooms and restaurants, not to mention 3 pools and at least 2 hot tubs! The hallway leading to our room is partially closed and partially open air.
We have a view of one of the pools and the neighboring golf course from our patio. The fitness center is the nicest and largest one that we have encountered thus far. I love that they have fans and tvs on each of the cardio machines and a cooler for the towels. The hotel turned out to be so nice that we extended our stay for a second night.
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Shout out to the O.C.

As a dedicated viewer of The O.C., I wanted to visit Newport Beach.
I made the hotel reservations from my phone on priceline.com as we were driving. (Haha, Steven will be thrilled that I posted this one!)Newport Beach had plenty more ritzy houses with ocean views. We drove around looking for the closest beach and ended up on Balboa Island. It is a tiny island that is completely crammed with houses and narrow roads. It got a little claustrophobic as we tried to make our way out of the maze of one way streets.