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Unread 22 Dec 18, 07:31 PM  
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The 1200 Mile West Coast Adventure - August/September 2018: Day 9: Spiders and ants and mice oh my!

Day 9: Spiders and ants and mice oh my!
Tuesday 28 August 2018

Driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, Cafe Kevah at Nepenthe, Bixby Creek Bridge, Elephant Seals and El Capitan Canyon


We woke up at around 7am, showered and packed our bags. This was the only day we had breakfast included!

Breakfast was a continental self service which included toast, pastries, cereal, cold meats, salmon, cream cheese, coffees, juices, fruit etc.

The breakfast area was absolutely packed, we considered taking our breakfast back to our room but it would have been a bit of a faff so we spotted a couple of seats had opened up and grabbed them.

It did mean we had to sit in twos separately though and there were lots of couples using up tables for four

Anyway, we had carrot cake muffin, toast, jam, orange juice, coffee and bagels.

I picked up what I thought was an onion bagel but it turned out to be a cranberry and seed one how disappointing

My breakfast date

After breakfast, we felt very satisfied and ready for our road trip.

We grabbed our bags from our room, took the elevator down to reception and checked out.

Our only charge was the parking and we packed up the car and were on our way!

On the road again

We had a little over 220 miles to cover today so there was a lot of driving ahead

After an hour or so we arrived at our first stop, Bixby Creek Bridge!

It looked so impressive up close and the views out to the Pacific Ocean were incredible

Our phone signal was non-existent at this point and we were trying to follow my paper printed instructions for our route (yes, I know its just drive South on the same road for 220 miles but I mean where each stop would be ) somehow we totally missed McWay falls?! Never mind

We drove on further to our next stop - Pfieffer Beach!

We finally reached the turning and started down the long windy road to the beach.

It was $10 parking (all day) and it was 100 percent worth it even for an hour or so.

Pfieffer Beach was honestly the prettiest beach we have ever been to. It was stunning and the warm sand felt amazing to walk on.

We strolled up to the keyhole rock to watch the waves crashing through.

The girls stayed and paddled and threw stones for a while.

We could have easily stayed all day but there was so much to see on the way to Santa Barbara.

The sand had so many colours in it, it was really pretty up close

Pretty sand from the water marks

We wanted to be at our next stop by around lunch time, so we decided wed better head off.

You could definitely spend a full day here with a picnic it was beautiful.

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Edited at 08:03 PM.
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Unread 22 Dec 18, 07:32 PM  
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Bye horsey


Our planned lunch stop was Nepenthe, Big Sur. We had read fab reviews and it was the perfect location on the way down too.

You cant make reservations for less than 5 people so we were happy with either Nepenthe itself or the more relaxed cafe Kevah downstairs.

The carpark was completely full so we parked in the roadside parking bay instead and walked up to the gift shop first for a browse.

They had some brilliant stuff there and lots of unusual items.

After a short browse, we decided we only wanted a light bite and to just go to Cafe Kevah anyway. It was moderately busy but we easily found a table. What a setting! I honestly don't think theres a prettier cafe view than this place!

We werent massively hungry but knew there werent many opportunities for food between now and our home for the night in Santa Barbara, so we got a breakfast burrito to share and some water.


After we ordered it took about ten minutes or so for our food to arrive. It was gigantic! It was absolutely lush and packed with flavour.

After brunch, we popped back in the shop to use the loo and have another browse then took the opportunity for a picture with the incredible view!

After a successful lunch stop we were ready to drive further South.

The scenery was beautiful and the pictures just dont show how pretty it was. I kept wanting to pinch myself that we were actually there, it was so pretty.

We were very lucky that this stretch of road was even open, just over a year before the road had suffered a massive landslide

The entire road was completely blocked in both directions and it took over $44m to reopen the road, which thankfully opened a couple of weeks before we were due to arrive!

The detour would have meant we had to skip a huge chunk of the beautiful coastal road and head inland onto infamously treacherous Nacimiento-Fergusson Road to skirt the landslide area still being repaired.

The road is a very steep, narrow road with NO guardrails!

"The 7-mile ascent to 3500 feet includes several treacherous hairpin curves where passing an oncoming vehicle could be difficult."

Everything I read suggested to drive extremely carefully and take your time. The alternative was to head inland much further North and miss even more stops.

I was surprised to find out they essentially built on top of the landslide as there was just too much for them to move! Look!

After that excitement we continued on to San Simeon

We arrived shortly afterwards at the Friends of the Elephant Seal beach.

This little stop of was brilliant! The seals were fascinating and we stayed and spectated for a while, there were some big personalities on that beach!

After we left, we drove out the car park and I did a double take zebras? In a field?

I still had no 4G to Google it but it turns out Hearst Ranch has zebras roaming amongst the cattle! How random!

We were in need of a loo break, a drink and a snack so we pulled over shortly afterwards at Hearst Ranch.

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Edited at 08:08 PM.
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Unread 22 Dec 18, 07:33 PM  
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The signs made me chuckle

I especially liked this one

They had wine tasting, which looked pretty fun.

Andy asked for a latte and the guy acted like he was speaking another language, We have self service coffee, its a dollar? Yep, sounds great

He handed him a paper cup and directed him to the Keurig machine.

We took our drinks and kettle chips with us and set off back on the road.

It was at this point we realised wed missed McWay falls - doh!

My 4G reappeared and we realised we still had quite a distance to go. I think we had underestimated how long the drive would take with stops and in hindsight we probably should have split this journey up over two days but then we wanted to do that in lots of places and we would have needed a three week holiday to do that.

We stopped at Target in San Luis Opisbo to pick up some supplies for tonights log cabin stay.

The next stop was Solvang, we were intrigued to see this little town and grab some danish pastries from one of the Solvang Bakeries.

We selected a few tasty looking treats and got another coffee then were back on our way, this time we were finally on our way to our final destination, El Capitan Canyon! A campsite near Santa Barbara.

Again, another place we had spotted on a Youtube vlog which looked like it would be a fun experience.

We finally arrived at El Capitan Canyon, it was conveniently located just off the freeway.

We checked in and got our keys and were advised where to park and where our cabin was located. We could pull up right outside to load and unload our luggage but had to park the car in a car park about a 3-4 minute walk away from our cabin.

There was hardly anyone there, maybe one other couple staying there. We had a Canyon Queen booked, it was a cute little wooden cabin with a double bed, shower, toilet, kitchenette and steps up to a loft space with two single bed pads with blankets and pillows. It was very cute.

We unloaded our stuff and went to check out the shop and cafe. As we had stopped at a Target on the way, we didnt buy anything but it looked pretty well stocked.

They also had a lovely area with a fire pit and benches and some corn hole sets

We also had logs left from Santa Cruz so we were pretty much sorted.

We walked back to our cabin and checked it out properly.

The girls and I climbed up to the loft space. The girls seemed really excited and eager to sleep up there, until. they saw a spider.

None of us are great with spiders and I have to admit I wouldn't have really wanted to sleep up there either.

We'd never been camping before the airstream, it's never really appealed to us and we are all a bit rubbish with being at one with nature and prefer the mod cons of a hotel room any day, however, it was advertised as glamping having all of the facilities and bed linens so it seemed like the perfect introduction into camping.

The inside of the cabin was sweltering hot as clearly there was no air conditioning. There was an electric fan we would make use of later though. We left the doors open for some fresh air for now.

The ceiling was bare wood with lots of cracks and crevices, I keep wondering how many spiders were there.

The kitchen

The bathroom

Andy made a start on dinner. BBQ number two! This time, no gas BBQ only a fire pit, so this would be a bit more of a challenge. We spotted a little mouse on the steps of our cabin but he scurried away before I could take a picture.

It started to get dark so we rustled up dinner as quickly as we could. Miraculously Andy managed to cook dinner on the fire pit.

We tried to eat outside but it was becoming too dark to see so we headed inside to eat the rest.

We ate for a few minutes then Izzy said Oh my God look at all the ants!

There were HUNDREDS of ants crawling around the kitchen worktop, up the wall. I immediately couldnt eat any more. It was so off-putting. I hate ants and I was panicking the whole cabin was infested.

Andy tried to find the source where they were coming in and managed to clear them all away. They were attracted to the food in the bin so Andy bagged it up and shut the bin under the sink hoping it would be enough to keep them away.

Next up, the inevitable, I pre warned Andy I had a feeling the girls wouldnt want to sleep up the top because of the spiders and I was right. I suggested top to tail x 4 in the bed might work and everyone agreed.

We stuck the fan on and agreed that this accommodation choice had been an unmitigated disaster and just vowed not to fall out, try make the best of it and set off as early as possible the next morning to get back to our comfort zone - Disney!

After a lot of fidgeting and wriggling, we started to drift off to sleep. After a while I heard some rustling.

My heart was pounding, surely the ants werent big enough to make a rustling sound? I tried to ignore it but then it happened again. I nudged Andy to wake up to make sure it wasnt me going mad but he heard it too.

This time, it lasted a little longer. When he confirmed he heard it too, we sat upright in bed. We had to investigate. My mind was racing at what we might discover a rat? cockroaches?

Andy grabbed the torch they provided and we tracked down the sound to the kitchenette, we couldn't see anything at first, apart from a couple of stray ants.

Suddenly it twigged, Andy, I know what it must be: that mouse we saw earlier!

We continued to look around the kitchen area with the torch and eventually moved the microwave to find our little visitor. A tiny little mouse! Once we moved the microwave, it became evident what was attracting the mouse and the ants to the kitchen - spilt bags of powdered milk all underneath from the coffee basket.

There was NO WAY we were eating or drinking a thing from that kitchen.

After about ten minutes I managed to catch the mouse with a coffee cup and some cardboard and released him outside.

Exhausted and laughing or else we would cry, we collapsed into bed and tried to get as much rest as possible before tomorrows big day! DISNEY!
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Edited at 08:29 PM.
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Unread 22 Dec 18, 09:28 PM  
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Lovely day until the end, beautiful photos, brought back lots of memories. Your little cabin looks lovely too, its a shame it didnt turn out to be as good as it looks.
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Unread 23 Dec 18, 02:40 AM  
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What a lovely day with such spectacular views , definitely too many too fit into a day makes we want to go back.
What a shame about the visitors to your cabin looked so cute and cosy.
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Unread 23 Dec 18, 11:29 PM  
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My pet peeve is people taking up more space than they need grrr

Stunning photos!

Not an ideal end to the day - I am not a roughing it person either!

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Unread 24 Dec 18, 09:41 PM  
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Some beautiful photos from todays drive, how many lovely stops.

Eek to the end of the day though 😬 not sure I would have wanted to sleep up there either! X
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Unread 26 Dec 18, 01:49 PM  
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A fantastic day until the wildlife! The beach looks lovely as does the burrito
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