Tuesday, August 19, 2008

back from Southern California

"He's your brother, right?" -- random drunk lady asking Mom about me

I just got back from Southern California with my parents. The plan was to leave Saturday morning, but we had to postpone the trip by a day due to limited hotel vacancies. At any rate, the getaway was a great way to end the summer!

Day 1

The trip began at 10 a.m. with a long drive to Paso Robles. Our first stop along the way was Paraiso Vineyards in Soledad. The view from the patio was amazing, making it a perfect spot for a picnic.

We visited a few more wineries after lunch. Though they're not my cup of tea, exploring new places is always exciting. There was a funny moment at one of the wineries: as we were walking from the parking lot, a woman asked me if I was 21 and then asked my mother if I was her brother. She's obviously had too many drinks. This was completely random, but Mom was flattered as it made her feel young. ^_^

The smooth traffic made the 180-mile drive to Paso Robles shorter than expected. All of us were a little tired and had a rest in our hotel room before going to see what Paso Robles had to offer. I saw an oceanfront restaurant that looked nice and suggested having dinner here. The food was slightly overcooked but wasn't bad otherwise.

Mom and I watched the movies we had borrowed from our local library after returning to the hotel. I saw Sunshine on my laptop before going to bed.

Day 2

Solvang awaited us in the morning. The city seemed smaller than we remembered, but that's probably because we hadn't been there in ages. On the other hand, there was no shortage of restaurants and gift shops; I had a great time checking them out. Though some of the food looked delicious, nothing here was cheap. High prices aside, Solvang was my favorite part of the trip. This was followed by lunch at a Japanese restaurant as it was almost noon.

Our hotel for the evening was located in San Luis Obispo. Dad took us to Santa Barbara after checking us in. The stay included two free DVD rentals as part of a package deal. Sweet!

The reason for the side trip was to see the University of California, Santa Barbara. This is one of the schools that accepted me when I applied for college. The campus was beautiful; UC Santa Barbara would have been my top choice if I hadn't gotten into Berkeley.

The 190-mile round trip meant it was rather late when we got back to San Luis Obispo. All of us were pretty hungry at this point and stopped for dinner at a Chinese buffet restaurant. The food was somewhat salty but wasn't too bad as far as Chinese buffets go.

It was finally time to redeem the DVD rentals. I chose Blade while my mother picked a comedy. However, Dad was exhausted and wanted to go to bed; not wanting to disturb his sleep, Mom and I decided to finish our movies in the morning.

Day 3

The two of us finished watching our movies before checking out. Our main stop of the morning was the California Polytechnic State University campus. Cal Poly is another school I had applied to, although I didn't get in. On the whole, I personally liked UC Santa Barbara better.

We stopped at the Gilroy Premium Outlets on the way home as Mom wanted to look at shoes. Shopping for shoes isn't exactly my thing, but I can't complain about extending our trip. Back in the Bay Area, the three of us had dinner at Pizz'a Chicago before arriving home. It was a spectacular end to a spectacular vacation.

I should probably get back to studying as my fall classes are starting soon. In the meantime, be sure to check out the pictures from our trip.

Update: The pictures are now online.

Currently listening to: The Collector's Series, Volume One by Celine Dion

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