Alta California Impressions

According to Wikipedia, there are more than 500 songs with “California” in the title. As we were driving towards Big Sur (while we still had radio), a most appropriate song played, which inadvertently captured our favourite part of the state. Below are part of the lyrics, and the youtube link is for the full version (and a wonderful piece of writing):

“California Saga: California”

On my way to sunny California,                                                                                                                              On my way to spend another sunny day
Water, water get yourself in the cool, clear, water
The sun shines brightly down on Penny’s place
The sun shines brightly down on the bay
The air’s so clean it’ll just take your mind away
Take your mind away
Take your mind away

Have you ever been south of Monterey                                                                                                           Barrancas carve the coast line and the chaparral flows to the sea                                                         ‘Neath waves of golden sunshine                                                                                                                         And have you ever been north of Morro Bay                                                                                                      The south coast plows the sea                                                                                                                               And the people there are of the breed                                                                                                                They don’t need electricity                                                                                                                                  Water, water, cool cascades of clear, clear water                                                                                              The sun dance final scene sets the hills ablaze.                                                                                          Horizon edges quick up the mountain’s way.

Have you ever been down Salinas way?                                                                                                         Where Steinbeck found the valley                                                                                                                                And he wrote about it the way it was in his travelin’s with Charley                                                          And have you ever walked down through the sycamores                                                                                        Where the farmhouse used to be                                                                                                                        There the monarch’s autumn journey ends                                                                                                           On a windswept cyprus tree

Water get water get yourself in that                                                                                                                     Get yourself in that get yourself in that cool, clear, water                                                                                The sun shines brightly down on Penny’s place                                                                                                Get yourself in that water                                                                                                                                        The air’s so clean that it just takes your mind away                                                                                             Take your mind away                                                                                                                                              Take your mind away

Have you ever been to a festival, the Big Sur congregation?                                                                    Where Country Joe will do his show                                                                                                                     And he’d sing about liberty                                                                                                                                     And the people there in the open air, one big family.                                                                                               Yeah the people there love to sing and share                                                                                                          Their new found liberty

As we spent 4 rather quick days getting to LA, here are the highlights in photos with some impressions:

Avenue of the Giants (Redwoods):  ancient, stately, and humbling…still

Wine Country:  walked into a wine festival in Hopland, and drove through Sonoma and Napa, which are now quite built up and transversed by gridlocked highways. The Okanagan rules!


The Perfect Combo for Scrabble evenings!

San Francisco: too little time, sigh…but an excellent few hours away from the crowds

Monterey:  separated coastal bike path where we were highly outnumbered by “stroller fitness” moms (and a few dads) and groups of mom and tot boot camps. Pelicans and harbour seals as we rode through Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf. A favourite place for us both and where we could have easily spent more time.

Big Sur: What can we say?  A perfect day in a perfect place. Our overall favourite Cali locale! At least a dozen stops to drink in the view, have lunch, get our toes wet, and see the elephant seals at play.


Santa Barbara: Another lovely locale with the added benefit of always learning something new about the history of Alta California. The Jesuit Missions will be a theme as we head eastward, so we were glad of the opportunity to learn more about the indigenous peoples of this area.



Los Angeles: Highway 1 whenever possible (Sunset Beach below) in order to minimize the freeways. Finally, Dr. M. at the Technology, Media and Child Development Conference at UC Irvine (Newport Beach).

Stay tuned for our next stage…

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