Bruton Parish - Itinerary
Day 1: San Diego - Los Angeles
After a must-do stop at Jack in the Box, which apparently doesn't have franchises on the East Coast, we continued up the coast to the Mission San Juan Capistrano in South Orange County. The group spent more than an hour here, exploring the mission, as famous for its migratory swallows as for its more serious Spanish, Mexican and Christian history.
Our mission exploration completed for the day, we continued our trip north towards Los Angeles, surprising the kids with an unplanned drive through the village of Laguna Beach and a stop at Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier. Our final stop for the day was another treat: dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in Beverly Hills.
Day 2: Los Angeles - Malibu - Santa Barbara - Solvang
We took the coastal road through Malibu, through Oxnard, and made it to Santa Barbara in time to spend an hour at the Mission there. As day turned into evening, we continued north, toward our destination for the night of Solvang.
Day 3: Solvang - Lompoc - San Luis Obispo - Morro Bay
The mission La Purisma Concepcion has been developed as a California State Historical Park. Efforts have been made to portray the mission as it would have been during the heyday of the mission system in the 18th and 19th centuries. After some time exploring the exhibits, Sandy and the kids set out on a hike into the hills, and didn't return until they had completely spent their energy and hydration reserves, and couldn't wait to find the comfort of the vehicle.
We completed the day with a drive through San Luis Obispo to the coastal town of Morro Bay, where the group had dinner by the harbor before settling in for the night.
Day 4: Morro Bay - San Simeon - Big Sur - Monterey
As is often the case, Hearst Castle was a tour highlight, and the beautiful weather in San Simeon had us excited about the scenic drive through Big Sur.
Unfortunately, Central Coast weather isn't always cooperative, and Big Sur greeted us with a thick blanket of fog, continuing all the way from Ragged Point to Carmel, with just a few oases of clarity. Fortunately, despite the fog, we were able to enjoy stops at a few vistas, where we could see far enough to get some appreciation for the area's rocky coastline, and rolling inland hills.
The day ended with the group staying with a sponsor in the hills overlooking Carmel Valley. From the heights of their sponsor's home, they were able to enjoy a sun-soaked vantage over the fog-shrouded coastline.
Day 5: Monterey and Carmel
After Fisherman's Wharf, we stopped at a deli, where the group picked up sandwiches for a picnic lunch at Carmel Beach, before visiting the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, the resting place of California's mission patriarch, Father Junipero Serra. The day concluded with some serious strolling and shopping through the streets of downtown Carmel by the Sea, before another night with their Carmel Valley sponsors.
Day 6: Monterey - San Bautista - Sunnyvale - San Francisco
With the group staying in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf, everyone decided to enjoy the area's attractions on foot for the remainder of the day, before turning in.
Day 7: San Francisco
We spent an hour at "the Haight" before driving back across the City, where the group had dinner together. Finally, after dinner, the kids were treated to a surprise trip to see the Giants play the Texas Rangers at the downtown AT&T Park, in what turned out to be a thrilling game that ended with the home team winning a one-run game on a 2-out RBI single in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Day 8: San Francisco - Home
On the way back to San Francisco, we dropped Leslie off to see a friend in Sausalito, and then took the kids back to Haight-Ashbury, as the boys had convinced the girls that they had missed something special the day before. We reconvened back at the hotel, where we collected the luggage, and headed for Grace Cathedral, where the group attended services before we headed for the airport for their flight back to Virginia.
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