Friday, November 5, 2010

Road Trip to San Luis Obispo

I have always had this romantic notion of taking a road trip... driving seems like a very liberating venture since the  direction, duration and manner of the trip is completely up to the your whims. Schedules, departure times, destinations... completely irrelevant.  But, this is not a very ideal situation when one partner's idea of a road trip is to get from point A to point B.  Luckily, I can be very creative...

We were visiting Los Angeles... our son was interested in studying engineering... Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is reputed to have one of the best programs in mechanical and aeronautical engineering and we could drive out there in only three and a half hours... It should not come as a big surprise that today, we had an appointment at the Engineering College in Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo at two o'clock.  

We got on the road around 9.00am supplied with pastries from the cafe around the corner for breakfast.  
In about an hour and forty minutes we passed by Santa Barbara, I really wanted to stop by and show Mehmet around since I think this is one of the most beautiful places I have seen on this coast but we had an appointment to catch, besides... he was asleep in the back anyway...  A very pleasant surprise was in store for us though; the GPS took us onto CR 154 which is a two lane road through the valleys and mountains of Santa Barbara.  It was such a beautiful, winding road with incredible vistas opening up with each corner turned.  All around us campers were on the road in their jeeps with their tents latched onto their roofs.

I was so enjoying the view that at first I didn't realize we were low on gas.  But once I saw the fuel gage, I decided to turn this into an opportunity to explore.  We were going through major camp country and when I saw a sign for fuel right next to a sign for a campsite, I knew I just had to follow that path.  As we turned off the road, we came up to an entrance gate where the ranger on duty asked us what we needed.  When we inquired about gas, she just gave us a pass and pointed us in the right direction.  After that we found ourselves in the middle of a wonderful campsite right next to what I later realized was Lake Cachuma.

 We refilled and got some drinks and snacks from the General Store and were back on the road once again.

After driving 198 miles on the 'El Camino Real' for about 3 and a half hours, we were finally on the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus.  

Murat was advised that one of the things he should do when visiting a school was to try the food there, so we headed to the first cafeteria we could find.  It was the Market at Cal Poly, a supermarket/cafeteria with quite bad food but we were famished and just dealt with it.  
After Murat visited the engineering school and was properly impressed with their wind tunnel, we were back on the road again.  

We found ourselves in the middle of the weekend rush hour traffic and had to stop at Santa Barbara for a little snack break.  Oh, it was such a hardship... 

Watching the sunset over the pacific ocean was great and catching the reflections on store windows was a lot of fun.

After lingering for as long as we could, we went back on the road and were pleasantly surprised to find that traffic was finally moving. 

By the time we got back to Los Angeles, it was dark and we were hungry once again and took this opportunity to introduce Mehmet to another LA classic...Hot dogs at  Pink's...

Pink's serves the most interesting hot dogs, maybe, anywhere... But one of the most interesting parts of the experience was the long unending line we had to wait in for almost 40 minutes; it is like this even at 2 o'clock in the morning.  This was definitely the right way to end this wonderful day.

Pink's Hot Dogs
709 N. La Brea Ave (Melrose Avenue)
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 931 - 4223


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