Day 3 Caramelized Hogs Breath!

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One of the problems of gettin' old is sleeping in. Exacerbate that with the 3 hour time zone change between EST and PST and you find Mike and Bone wandering around the town of Carpenteria at 4:30 AM! Despite checking out the Michigan game downtown, the Boys didn't really check out the town, they were too focused on getting to a place to see the game, then get back to the hotel. That morning in the dark the Boys wanted to get a little walk in before they hit the road and walked into town.  


Morning on the Ocean in Carpenteria

Carpenteria at 4:30 AM! Despite checking out the Michigan game downtown, the Boys didn't really check out the town, they were too focused on getting to a place to see the game, then get back to the hotel. That morning in the dark the Boys wanted to get a little walk in before they hit the road and walked into town. Turns out Carpenteria is quite the quaint little town! The much less pretentious than Santa Barbara still every bit as cool. It has quite the list of citizens includes George Lucas, Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis. It is a small town, but the few blocks of downtown had tons of cool shops and restaurants. It surrounded by nature and has city parks right on the Pacific Ocean. Mike and Bone wandered the shore as the sun rose and enjoyed the quiet sound of the surfs endlessly beats against the sandy beach. Enjoying the tranquil morning the Boys started back to the Hotel and came upon .....


The 130 foot Carpenteria Wardholme Torrey Pine!

As Mike and Bone walked through Downtown on the way back they caught something they missed in the early morning hours, the Wardholme Torrey Pine started as a seedling in 1888, planted by local Carpinteria resident Judge Thomas Ward as part of a contest to see who could grow the largest Torrey pine tree. It now stands at 126 feet, with a 130 feet branch spread, and a more than 20-foot circumference, making it the largest known example of its kind.

The Torrey pine is a rare tree, typically only found in San Diego County and certain parts of the southern California coast. In 1968 the towering Wardholme tree was designated as the First Official Landmark of Carpinteria. The celebrity tree later marked its 100th birthday in 1988 with a local celebration.  However, it missed a near death, in 2005, the Wardholme found itself literally on the chopping block to make room for residential and commercial development. Thankfully, resident petitions saved the record-setting giant. The Boys paid their respects to the massive tree and boogied back to the Hotel to shower and get on the road.   


The Old Mission, Santa Barbara

The Boys really did not give Santa Barbara a real chance, it was getting dark and there was Michigan football to watch, so the stopped in to get a cup of coffee from a local coffee shop and check out the town. This included a quick stop to the Old Spanish Mission in Santa Barbara. Founded by Padre Fermín Lasuén for the Franciscan order on December 4, 1786, the feast day of Saint Barbara, as the tenth mission for the religious conversion of the indigenous local Chumash-Barbareño tribe of Native American people. The mission is the namesake of the city of Santa Barbara as well as of Santa Barbara County and comes from the legend of Saint Barbara, a girl who was beheaded by her father for following the Christian Faith.

The Mission grounds occupy a rise between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, and were consecrated by Father Fermín Lasuén, who had taken over the presidency of the California mission chain upon the death of Father Junípero Serra. Mission Santa Barbara is the only mission to remain under the leadership of the Franciscan Friars since its founding, and today is a parish church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Mike and Bone on the other hand, did not lose their head, and headed out of town! Their opinion of Saint Barbara's place hadn't really changed. Soon they we heading north into much more remote and unpopulated areas!


Back on PCH again!

The terrain along coastal California changed considerably as Mike and Bone headed out of Santa Barbara, it also headed away from the Pacific as it veered away from Vandenburg AFB.  I headed back to the ocean at the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge.


Getting Guadalupe-Nipomo

When most people think of California, one of the first things they think of is sandy beaches, Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and farmland to the east, is one of the largest coastal dune systems remaining in California, Mike and Bone stopped to get a quick picture of its sandy splendor, then quickly continued on. The next little town the happened upon were in the middle of a tribute to classic Detroit Cars!


Clowning around at the Classic Car Show in Pismo Beach

In the 1940's and 50's, in the classic black and white beach movies, Pismo Beach was one of the favorite spots for the kids to hang around and drive their hot rods. Being halfway between LA and San Fran, Pismo Beach has drawn attention for generations. So with this background, a classic car convention makes perfect sense!! Finding parking in the busy side streets Mike and Bone pulled off to enjoy the carnival atmosphere!


A Proud Owner, who drove his up from Bakersfield

The Classic (Car Show) at Pismo Beach was entering its 35th year, all the streets were filled with people and truly classic cars everywhere! Mike and Bone checked out the classic Mustangs! Camaro's, and tricked out cars! Mike and Bone spoke with a proud owner of a classic car, a regular guy that had devoted tens of thousands of dollars in making every wire, bolt and plate in his car, simply perfect.  After 20 minutes of oogling the awesome classic cars, the Boys drifted over to the Pismo Beach Boardwalk.


The Pismo Beach Boardwalk!

One of the things that Pismo Beach is famous for is its iconic Board walk. Some of the classic cars were on the Boardwalk, which lured Mike and Bone out there. Once on the Boardwalk the Boys saw a chillin' sight!


The Kool, (hadda be cold) Surfers @ Pismo Beach !!

The day before in Topanga Canyon, it was 98 degrees, today in Pismo Beach it was about 55! Seeing the surfers in the 50 degree water, made Mike and Bone shudder! After watching the hardy surfers trying to get up in the windy, cold waters for a few minutes, Mike and Bone heading back to their car, heading into Big Sur !


Covid Casualty II: The Hearst Castle @ San Simeon

Hearst Castle, known formally as La Cuesta Encantada (Spanish for "The Enchanted Hill"), is a historic estate in San Simeon, located on the Central Coast of California. Conceived by William Randolph Hearst, the publishing tycoon, and his architect Julia Morgan, the castle was built between 1919-47. Today, Hearst Castle is a museum open to the public as a California State Park and registered as a National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark.

George Hearst, William Randolph Hearst's father, had purchased the original 40,000 acres estate in 1865 and Camp Hill, the site for the future Hearst Castle, was used for family camping vacations during Hearst's youth. In 1919 Hearst inherited some $11 million (equivalent to $164,197,697 in 2020) and estates including the land at San Simeon. He used his fortune to further develop his media empire of newspapers, magazines and radio stations, the profits from which supported a lifetime of building and collecting. Within a few months of Phoebe Hearst's death, he had commissioned Morgan to build "something a little more comfortable up on the hill", the genesis of the present castle. Morgan was an architectural pioneer; "America's first truly independent female architect", she was the first woman to study architecture at the School of Beaux-Arts in Paris, the first to have her own architectural practice in California and the first female winner of the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal. Working in close collaboration with Hearst for over twenty years, the castle at San Simeon is her best-known creation. Even though it typically has over 750,000 visitors a year. Similar to the Getty, it was closed due to Covid. Snapping a pic, Mike and Bone headed on into the Big Sur headlands!


The Sleepy Seals of Piedras Blancas Light Station

The Boys made many stops along the coastal headlands of the beginning the Big Sur headlands, The first stop was the Piedras Blancas Light Station. The Light Station is a historic landmark located on a rugged, windswept point of land six miles north of Hearst Castle. The Lighthouse was first illuminated in 1875, and today beckons the visitor for respite from the modern world. The Light Station is named for the distinctive white rocks that loom just offshore. These rocks and the rugged shoreline are home to seabirds, sea lions, and elephant seals. That morning, Mike and Bone had the opportunity to see a large group of seals lounging in the cold water, afterwards the Boys quickly headed back on the road!


Yes Sir Its a Big Sur !! Part Dos

Big Sur National Forest has been a favorite area for Mike and Bone and is a rugged and mountainous section of the Central Coast of California between Carmel and San Simeon, where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. It is known for its dramatic scenery of the mountains crashing down in the ocean. It has been called the "longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States.”  Mike and Bone had never been through the entire area and marveled and the  amazing terrain and views! Soon enough the Boys came upon a familiar site, Nepenthe! Perched 800 feet up, high atop the Santa Lucia Mountains, just off one of the most winding part of PCH, you’ll find a restaurant that provides visitors with a stunning panorama of Big Sur’s rocky beaches and rugged oceanside landscape, Nepenthe!


 Wining and Dining at Nepenthe !!

An old Mike and Bone haunt, Nepenthe is far more than a scenic overlook, though, with a history stretching back over half a century and involved many famous celebrities. Nepenthe started out as a very simple cabin in 1925, located downhill from the log house where writer Henry Miller lived. Orson Welles bought the cabin as a gift for his new bride, the movie star and World War II pinup girl Rita Hayworth. Unfortunately, the relationship failed, and the Big Sur cabin was abandoned. After Welles and Hayworth divorced, Bill and Madelaine “Lolly” Fassett, with five children in tow, purchased the cabin and 12 acres for $12,000. They employed Rowan Maiden, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, to create Nepenthe. Redwoods hewn from area canyons and hand-made adobe bricks were used. Nepenthe is still family-owned, Kirk Gafill the current owner is Bill and Lolly's grandchild.

 Nepenthe opened in 1949 with an open terrace design so that people could enjoy drinking, eating, reading poetry and dancing under the open sky. Nepenthe is an ancient Greek word meaning an elixir for sorrow, literally, a “drug of forgetfulness”.  And sorrow you will indeed forget when you see the jaw-dropping panoramic view of the Big Sur coastline at this iconic restaurant. Nepenthe became a place for creative expression and bohemian culture for people who enjoyed living freely and had disdain for traditional societal propriety.  Nepenthe was a place to gather.” Famous visitors included Anais Nin, Man Ray, Ernest Hemingway, Joan Baez, Kim Novak, Steve McQueen, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor. The latter two performed scenes for the 1965 film, “The Sandpiper”, at Nepenthe. Even today, Nepenthe continues to invoke the spirit of the previous beatnik and hippie cultures, both engendered by Mike and Bone!


Mike and Bone with a Cabernet and a 800 foot view of the Pacific!

Mike and Bone got an awesome seat outside with a great view of the Big Sur Pacific Coast. Ordering some burgers and a half a bottle of some local Cabernet they enjoyed the afternoon sun and breeze in the iconic setting. However, the lunch quickly went to the birds!


Reuniting with an Old Pecker !!

Bone had been there the year before the in exactly the same seat! Bone had observed the woodpecker perched in the same spot the year before! The results of his work will eventually provide Kirk a headache and maintenance! On the topic of birds . . . . . .


And a Phoenix?

As the Boys left the restaurant, they noticed the famous Phoenix, which started with a sad story. Nepenthe's terrace was once graced with a beautiful old oak tree. It used to be the first thing you saw coming up the ramp through the gardens. It framed the view of the south coast beyond, and made you feel as though the restaurant and its surroundings were one. An overzealous gardener and too much watering conspired to send the oak tree to an untimely demise. Sculptor Edmund Kara came to the rescue with his version of the Phoenix Bird, Nepenthe's standard. He found the tree at the bottom of the Mule Canyon creek, and sculpted the bird in one piece, adding legs of bronze. Aloe Vera were planted around the base adding a touch of fire. On Chinese New Year in 1976, the bird came to land on the base of the old oak tree, where is has roosted ever since. With an awesome lunch in them, Mike and Bone continued into the amazing Big Sur Highlands!


Heading into the Carmel Highlands

There are few drives in North America as iconic as the PCH section from Nepenthe to Carmel. Some of the best scenes of California are filmed here. After 40 minutes the Boys came out of the clouds and into a very cool town, Carmel!!


Nope, its not Middle Earth, it is Carmel!!

Positioned at the end of Big Sur on the Monterey peninsula, Carmel-by-the-Sea considers itself as a humble seaside village with a few small shops and cafes, at least that's its cover story! Carmel-by-the-Sea's rugged coastline, featuring both sandy beaches and rocky, cypress-covered outcroppings, has provided inspiration for artists which are reflected in the many, many paintings in the art shops in town. Carmel is nothing if not incredibly Instagrammable, like a storybook come to life, but not the Hobbit! Mike and Bone had been there many, many times and still love visiting the very coolness that is Carmel!  Getting a Room for the night, Mike and Bone jumped at the chance to get out and walk around town. The thing about Carmel is that it always has the smell of pine and fireplaces everywhere, and it is politely quiet! Mike and Bone checked out Ocean Avenue, Carmel's main street, walking by Toney shops, restaurants and art galleries! A high class Key West!  Wanting some fresh air, the Boys went down to the Carmel Beach to check out sunset.


Carmel, ,,, By the Sea !!

At the foot of Ocean Avenue, Carmel Beach is one of the most iconic spots on California's Central Coast and is rated "One of America's Top Beach Towns." Mike and Bone wandered down to see the fog roll in from the Pacific at sunset.


Mike on the Beach "Not much of a Sunset!"

The Carmel City Beach, especially in the Summer is often crowded with tourist and locals. Being a week day in the Fall during Covid it was eerily quiet. After enjoying the sounds of the ocean rushing the shore for a few minutes, the Boys walked back up the sugar white beach to the steep hill into town.


Isn't the Hogs Breath in Key West!?!

One of Mike and Bone's favorite place in Key West is the Hog's Breathe Tavern. What's it doing in Carmel? Actually its Clint's Place!


Clint has a cool place!

Well, sorta! Carmel's Hogs Breathe Inn (not Tavern!) Known as “Clint’s Place,” Clint Eastwood opened this Hog’s Breath Inn with business partner Walter Becker in 1972. The Inn's mascot was carved by local artist Earl Bozlee. While Clint sold his portion of the business in 1999 to a friend Kaiser Morcus, the charming outdoor restaurant, patio and bar are still filled with Eastwood posters and photographs when Mike and Bone sat down, they had a TV playing the original “Dirty Harry” movie!

Known for having really good food, Mike and Bone ordered a great dinner and cocktails to enjoy an amazing outside dining experience.


Well fed and with a few cocktails, the Boys called it a night when leaving the Hogs Breath around 10:30, after a great drive through central Cali!