Thursday, October 29, 2015

Road Trip on Pacific Coast Highway (September 2015)

The road trip on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is always fun, exciting and panoramic.

1st Day: San Francisco to San Luis Obispo -  We started the journey from Half Moon Bay near San Francisco. Half Moon Bay is a beautiful place with a variety of interesting things to see and do. We have already covered it with Joyce.

We stopped over at Pescadero Beach but only briefly and also at Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz had a board walk filled with arcades and fun rides. Obviously it was not for us, but for young families with young children.

On the way down towards San Luis Obispo, we passed through vast farm lands. Here and there, we saw farm houses that sold fruits and vegetables from their warehouses. The U.S. is a country that received much blessing with abundance. We enjoyed fresh California fruits we normally taste in Rwanda, such as grapes, grape fruits, cantaloupes, honeydews.

Monterey is a beautiful port city where you can find an impressive aquarium and delicious foods. We tried clam chowder on bread and calamari at the pier and they were excellent! Probably the best we have eaten thus far. It was an off-season so the place was less crowded, but the beauty remained.

The 17 Mile Drive is a magical route along the fabulously beautiful coastal lines and world-renowned golf courses around the Pebble Beach. The dark green pine and cypress trees have sustained themselves in the midst of ocean winds, but their shapes have been significantly distorted and twisted. We saw many sea lions and seagulls which harmonize themselves with the nature. Ahhhh. It was a breath-taking tour and my senses seem still digesting the impact.

Bunch of sea lions lying down at the beach
We passed through pretty winding roads that appeared never-ending. California reeds were greeting us along the way, waiving their hands and heads. The Big Sur area was particularly rocky with curly roads, but the view from the roadside cliff was stunning! We passed through the Bixby Bridge, a landmark for the Big Sur area.

A stunning view of the ocean from above at the roadside cliff
  We also passed through a forest national park in Big Sur where we could find gigantic red woods, a symbol of California. Literally, cars can pass through the tree trunks.

We stayed overnight in San Luis Obispo, a small city in Central California. We used to do vacationing often in this area when our children were little. So the entire area gave us a nostalgic feeling.

2nd Day: San Luis Obispo to Solvang via Santa Barbara - The next day, we explored the Avila Beach where we spent most of our vacation time, playing golf, wandering the port to buy fresh fish, playing in the shallow water, enjoying the hot springs and strolling in the Thursday Farmers Market. We spent quiet time at the pier watching the birds and seals that were also enjoying in the sun. Just a beautiful and tranquil place...

We stopped over at the Pismo Beach, previously known as the capital of clams. I am not sure if they still have them. But, it was fun to walk around the pier and the downtown district. Surfers were riding the waves although the distance was rather short and the waves were tiny.

After exploring Avila and Pismo Beaches, we drove down to Santa Barbara, a 2-hour drive. We visited the Museum of Art located downtown. Coincidentally they were displaying Asian arts. They had arts from several countries in Asia, including Japan, China, India, Pakistan, Nepal, but they did not have any from Korea. No wonder, the East Sea was described as the Japan Sea. Culture and art are important means of diplomacy.

We also visited the Old Santa Barbara Mission and remembered the old pilgrimage life.

We drove back up to Solvang for the second night. Solvaning is a city that the Danish people established imitating the heritage and culture of the Denmark. An interesting place to visit.
Solvang brewery
3rd Day: Solvang to Laguna Beach via Los Angeles City - The third day, we headed down south, passing by Zuma Beach, Malibu Beach and Santa Monica Beach. Malibu Beach is one of the exotic places where many celebrities live on the secluded mountain hills. Ironically, we also saw inexpensive-looking motels and fab houses on the way in the same city. We passed by the Pepperdine University that is located on a hill looking over the Pacific Ocean. Its campus looks like a resort to me.

Santa Monica Beach is a beach for common people. A lot of people hang out there for sun-bathing and people-watching. Also, many people play beach volleyball.

We had to stop over in Los Angeles Korea Town to check my eye sight. It has not worsened since 18 months earlier. A good sign.

We then headed further south passing by the Huntington Beach, a surfer's haven and the New Port Beach, another beach town for the wealthy.

Finally, we arrived in Laguna Beach, an art town full of art galleries. After we checked in, we drove out to have dinner with Grace Kim and her family. Grace was a student when I was serving at Korean Central Prebyterian Church in Denver (KCPC). Now she is a mother of three children, married to a medical doctor. Her mom also joined us for dinner. It was a joyous reunion. Besides, she reminded me that she worked for Premier Bank for a couple of years and also I wrote a recommendation letter when she applied to a law school. It was a small world. She also wanted to help out the SfK Ministries.

4th Day: Laguna Beach to San Diego - The next day, we explored the town of Laguna Beach, a cute but beautiful town, which has the famous Las Brisas Mexican Restaurant. I used to see many artists drawing and painting on easels on the hills by the beach. Unfortunately, we did not see any this time. But we visited a few art galleries and enjoyed the art pieces.

We then drove on the local streets to enjoy many beaches along the coast. After we stopped over at La Jolla Cove and watched the breaking water. Somehow we could not find a place where we dined after we ministered with a medical and dental team in Tijuana, Mexico.

Finally, we arrived in San Diego, a city with more than 300 days of sunshine. It has attracted many retirees from all over the places in the U.S. We drove down to the border, but had to return after seeing a giant Mexican flag beyond the border. Also, we checked out the famous Hotel Coronado that started almost 200 years ago.

5th Day: San Diego to Los Angeles - The following day, our goal was to drive up the Los Angeles to get ready to take a red-eye flight to Atlanta, GA. On the way, we had quick lunch with Daniel Pak, who used to serve the Project BGAN ministry, a mission mobilization ministry in Denver. He was working for Experian. Also, we had dinner with Elder Suk Hwan Kim, who is now ministering in China. All reunions were joyous.
With Daniel Pak in Irvine
With Suk Hwan Kim in Los Angeles
Our 4-night 5-day road trip from San Francisco to San Diego gave us a wonderful recollection of the beautiful memory of the past. As always, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity that we enjoyed. - Jeffrey