We saw and did so much that it's hard to sum it all up in one post. Since right before I left I listed the things I wanted to do and see while on vacation that seems like a good place to start. I think I fared pretty well but feel free to judge for yourself.
1. Take lots and lots of photos of the coast.
Done. I took over 800 photos while on vacation. Some of my favorite were of the coast. Like these.
For scale, notice the white SUV in the lower righthand corner of the last photo. Photos don't do it justice. We could have stopped every five feet on Highway 1 and gotten photos this amazing or better.
2. Spot a celebrity.
Didn't happen. Everywhere we went Mike and I heard stories from our California friends and family about their celebrity encounters.
Our friend Julie who works for E! recently met Heidi Montag. Heidi apparently said hi and then immediately asked if Julie followed her on Twitter. Julie does not follow her on Twitter. Julie's sister, who we met for drinks one night, had the previous night seen the guy who plays Daryl on The Office karaoke-ing in Venice. Mike's mom has seen Van Morrison, John Legend and Sean Penn all just outside her shop in downtown San Rafael. We drank a wine in Sonoma that we were told was a favorite of Virginia Madsen's. But I think my only near miss was at a CVS in Santa Monica. As we were checking out, purchasing some sunscreen and an US Weekly, the clerk pointed to a picture of Bradley Cooper on the magazine cover and said "He was in here yesterday." So close.
3. Sample various California wines at a bonafide California winery (and bring at least one bottle back with me).
This was done, four times over. We went to two wineries on Thursday and another two on Friday. And there is a case and a half of wine making its way to Mike and I right now. Sadly, we lost one bottle to the airport. Mike had an extra in his carry on that we had to let go. Security wouldn't let us take it on the plane. Thankfully it was one of the bottles that we were told we can purchase at Binny's here in Chicago.
4. See the redwoods at Muir Woods.
Did not happen, but that's only because we saw the Armstrong Redwoods instead. They were breathtaking.
5. Swim in the Pacific.
5. Swim in the Pacific.
Done. We swam in Santa Monica and stopped on the side of the road just north of Malibu for a dip.And for the record while in the ocean I did turn to Mike and say "suck it!"
6. Soak in the Avila Hot Springs.
Didn't happen, but I'm not sad about it. The Avila hot springs were just north of Pismo Beach, where we stayed on Tuesday night. By the time we arrived it was a bit late to head out again. Plus we got a sweet hotel room with an ocean view. We sat in the hot tub and swam in the pool at our hotel instead, and then we sat out on our balcony and enjoyed the view.
7. Eat an amazing (fresh) fish dinner.
We ate several. I am still thinking about this salad.
And I'm pretty sure Mike's considering living on the beach in Malibu so he can eat daily the ahi tuna burger he had there.
8. See the seals at Fisherman's Wharf.
They smell. But they're cute.
9. Bike, kayak or snorkel on Catalina Island.
Didn't happen. We didn't make the trek to Catalina Island. The all-day excursion would have taken up too much time. Instead, we did something equally fun. We rented bikes and rode from Santa Monica to Venice. In Venice, we drank a pitcher of beer, walked the boardwalk and saw some real characters. The most memorable? This guy.
Yes, he is wearing a patriotic banana hammock.
10. Not think about work for even one second.
I did think about work but only to remind myself that I wasn't there. And instead was on VACATION. IN CALIFORNIA!
On man. I miss it already. And work tomorrow is going to be pretty rough. But when I'm down, I'll go to my happy place. Which is here.