an evening drive from san simeon to arroyo grande

Thursday, January 9:  After leaving Hearst Castle, I drive to San Simeon where I get blown about by the wind on a bit of California coastline as the sun is going down.

San Simeon
San Simeon
San Simeon
San Simeon
California coast at San Simeon
California coast at San Simeon
Coast at San Simeon
Coast at San Simeon

My original plan is to drive to Santa Barbara or Ventura, but as the sun slips into the Pacific Ocean, I figure I may as well stop so I can at least enjoy the drive down the coast in sunlight. As it is, I’m just able to get a peek at Morro Bay’s biggest claim to fame, Morro Rock, a volcanic peak that’s one of the Nine Sisters, a 21-million-year-old chain of rocks stretching all the way south to San Luis Obispo.

Morro Rock
Morro Rock

It just so happens I find a Hampton Inn at a reasonable price in Arroyo Grande, so I check in there.  I ask the hotel receptionist for a good local place to eat, and she recommends Rooster Creek.  She tells me I must try the salad: arugula and mixed greens, red and golden beets, sliced apples, goat cheese, shrimp and sherry vinaigrette.  I do just that, and I’m quite pleased.

Rooster Creek in Arroyo Grande
Rooster Creek in Arroyo Grande
Beet, goat cheese and shrimp salad at Rooster Creek
Beet, goat cheese and shrimp salad at Rooster Creek

While I’m at Rooster Creek, I post a picture of my dinner on Instagram and Facebook, and I get a comment that while in Arroyo Grande, I must go to Doc Burnstein’s for some ice cream.  I don’t usually treat myself to dessert, but how can I miss this enthusiastic recommendation?   I enjoy a mini-dip Mexican chocolate on a sugar cone.

Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab
Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab
Inside Doc Burnstein's
Inside Doc Burnstein’s

Outside of Doc Burnstein’s, I see this pretty church still decked out for Christmas.

Harvest Church in Arroyo Grande
Harvest Church in Arroyo Grande

I head back to Hampton Inn, which I’ve always found to be a reasonable and comfortable accommodation. This is the only hotel I stay in during my trip to California, as I’m here mostly to visit friends and family.

The next morning, I head down the coast in the sunshine, making my first stop in Santa Barbara.

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