Day 6: Big Sur Surprise

I started my morning in Bakersfield checking in on my friend Molly who is pregnant and due any day. And then, this happened: 

I said a few words for the baby birds (sniff) and then helped Matt pack up the car so we could head the 210 miles out to the coast and up to Big Sur. 

The first thing we noticed when we got out of the city were miles of farms that looked like this: 

KK: I think they are ferns. 

Matt: I'll pull over. Ask the farmer. 

I jumped out and asked the man in the work truck what these farms were growing. He only spoke Spanish and at first I didn't understand what he said, so he showed me. 

Man: Almendras.

KK: Oh, almonds! ¿Y que es este? (I pointed to the "ferns".)

Man: Zanahoria. (As he pulled a GIANT carrot out of the ground.)

This experience counted as science for the week, so I thanked my new friend for the lesson and we were on our way. 

We stopped in Paso Robles for a burger at Good Ol' Burgers. The town felt like a lake town where people come to vacation, so there were things like this we had to do.

Oh come on. You would have done it, too. 

Pretty soon we were on Route 1 And this is the exact place where our jaws hit the floor and we didn't close them until we reached our final destination for the day. 

Here's what we were looking at: 

Just south of Point Piedras Blancas, we saw a sign for Elephant Seal Beach. I don't think words can describe what it was like to see hundreds of elephant seals covering a shoreline. This wasn't like a trip to the zoo. It. was. insane. 

These seals are HUGE. Sage could not figure out what she was looking at. 

And I couldn't stop saying LOOK AT THESE THINGS!  

I mean LOOK AT THESE THINGS!

But Matt had a bigger surprise in store for me in Big Sur. So we hopped back in the car and continued to point and squeal about everything we saw along our drive. This is a drive that is within a few hours of our new home. This is nothing like Texas. And definitely not like North Dakota. This was going to be our new backyard? Wow. 

Then we arrived at Big Sur Campground and Cabins, where we were staying for the night.  

At first, I was excited. We were in Big Sur! We were surrounded by Redwoods. It smelled amazing. 

Matt said he rented us a cabin. It was the last night of our trip, so I was up for an adventure. But I knew he was up to no good when he came back from checking us in and he looked like this: 

Seriously. He looked like that. I had the camera ready.

But in my head, all I saw was this:

Do you see the resemblance? 

He giggled (yes, giggled) as he drove us down past a community bath house (red flag!) and basketball court. I saw a few small cabins nestled in under the giant redwood trees. Then I saw people crowded around tents, cooking on small charcoal grills. Next to the tents, I saw what looked like a shed. It had four wood walls, a plastic corregated-like roof and thick army green canvas curtains that were rolled up so you could see inside. 

Matt: There it is. 

KK: There's what?

This is what he was pointing at. Our "cabin" for the night. 

The dogs got down to their dinner and I couldn't form words to let Matt know what I was truly feeling, so I dug into our road trip cooler looking for a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, we forgot to pack a corkscrew. 

Matt: It's just for one night. Look how cool this is! 

I guess the look on my face made Matt realize I needed a quick change of scenery. So we got in the car and drove 2 miles to Pfeiffer Beach. 

Now THIS was the Big Sur I wanted to see.

You would have thought the pups had been kenneled their entire lives. They ran up and down the beach, up sandy hills, jumped over rocks. People were pointing and smiling. These dogs were having a total blast. 

The sun was about to set and we had heard from more than one friend we needed to try Nepenthe for dinner.

The restaurant sits high up on a cliff and overlooks the ocean. For as far as your eyes can see, you just see blue. There's a huge outdoor patio with a fireplace and all of the tables face the ocean. Inside, the wall facing the ocean is all glass. Matt and I kept saying how we wished everyone we knew were with us. 

We ordered a bottle of wine and an appetizer—goat cheese and roasted garlic—inside at the bar while we waited for our table outside. It was clear this was a favorite for locals and frequent vistors. (I'm super skilled at eavesdropping.)

After dinner, we headed back to our "cabin", brushed our teeth with our neighbors, slid the homemade wood lock over the door (totally safe) and got into bed. I was certain I was about to be part of the opening sequence to a horror movie. Simon agreed. Chhchhchhchh hahahaha....

Total miles this day: 210