Casa to Casa in California

Relocation Reality Show 7, 8, 9… So Tired (Over It!)

Andy, proud of his pumping prowess!

The day before was fabulous, the night before abysmal! Touring Sonoma took its toll, and both of us paid the piper (plumber?) in the wee hours.

Breakfast of Champions!
And us.

But now it’s Day 7, and the birds are singing. We slink out of the Hilton Sonoma, heading for a Denny’s Grand Slam Breakfast. That should clear our heads.

On today’s agenda, a tour of Andy’s childhood neighborhood in Richmond and visits with his family.

Oh, and for the first time in years, we get to pump our own gas! (I still haven’t filled the car up yet. I have Andy for that.)

Man, that breakfast was good! The sun is shining, and we are off and running.

Square One

What now is shabby once was chic! Andy’s boyhood casa has long since lost the pink paint and picket fence.

We visit Andy’s (formerly) little pink house with the white picket fence, now suffering 50 years of bad landscaping choices. His church and elementary school and his grandparents’ home just around the corner all have amazing views of SF, the Bay, and the Golden Gate connecting the city to Marin County.

This is the church and school Andy attended as a boy, just a block from his Grandparents’ house.
Sadly, on this day the view of San Francisco is fogged out!

The GP’s house was built in 1911, and is well-known as the first dwelling on the hillside clear down to San Pablo Avenue (now a wide swath of city). The son of the current owners stops to talk to us about their love for the place.

Then my phone rings. It’s the movers. It seems a big piece of art and a large mirror with custom frame was shipped to a family in Arizona, and we have their artwork. I’m too weak to deal. I tell them we’re still days away, and will call them back. What will become of my oil pastel painting? I put it out of my mind. Or try.

We spend the rest of the day meeting various members of Andy’s family he’s reconnecting with. That includes a much-needed home-cooked meal. Oh, so good!

Enjoying family hospitality into the evening, we wait until late to book tonight’s stay. Whoops! I send us back up north to Santa Rosa to a Quality Inn. But we are just there to sleep.

The Broken Road: Day 8

Our plan is to head to San Francisco for some sightseeing, then cruise the coastline down to SoCal… maybe chill a bit in Monterey. Not so fast! Protests are scheduled in downtown San Fran today. Won’t that be delightful?! Oh, and a huge landslide on Highway 1 has wiped out the coastal road.

Honestly, we have had it! New plan: a straight shot to Santa Barbara to share my favorite hotel, Casa Del Mar, with Andy. We’ll make one pit stop along the way to share another favorite of mine, Casa Vicky in San Jose!!! So today has a theme.

Casa Vicky was a favorite! Sadly, they’re closed now.

I am thrilled to stop at Casa Vicky! I used to live just down the street from this breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot. Every Monday night was Casa Vicky Night at my house. They have awesome chips and salsa! Roast chicken with rice and beans makes a great family meal. And they make my all-time favorite vegetarian burrito.

They make a couple for us on the spot while we wait. They have both takeout and a dining room. We order ours to go for our long drive to Santa Barbara. We find a park to attack our veggie burritos.

A bag of chips and cup of salsa are our travel snacks today.

Word to the wise, Casa Vicky burritos are huge! We should really eat half and save some for later. But Andy is new, and I am just thrilled to have my favorite burrito for the first time in years. And really, why start making good choices now?! So we snarf these bad boys down (more on that later), then hit the road with smoothies, chips and salsa for awesome (if messy) road snacks!

Sad coda: Researching this article, we discovered that Casa Vicky is permanently closed. A piece of my heart breaks, but that will save us time when we cruise through San Jose.

Casa To Casa

The fountain outside our room.

We arrive in Santa Barbara! Our car is piled high with clutter and food wrappers, and it stinks. We are thrashed! And it’s likely we stink too.

Santa Barbara is one of my favorite places to visit. We now feel we are officially in SoCal!

Casa Del Mar Inn is my favorite hotel. They have a room available for us in the courtyard with a fountain just outside our room. This lovely little boutique bed and breakfast is just steps from the waterfront, beach, and restaurants. It offers a complementary wine and cheese hour (which we’re just in time for!) and morning breakfast. It’s pet friendly too!

Once we get settled in, we make it to the lounge for wine and cheese, and chill in front of the fireplace. We are way too tired to truly enjoy this fine destination, so I cook up a plan in my head as I sip my wine.

Our First Anniversary is just five weeks away. While Andy checks his phone, I sneak to the front desk to see if I can plan a surprise. It worked; two nights on our anniversary in one of my favorite rooms on the property! (Stay tuned for our anniversary in Santa Barbara coming soon!)

Last Evening on the Road

But back to being thrashed. Andy really wants to take me to Brophy Brothers for dinner. I don’t feel so good, but I have to say yes. Maybe a bath to freshen up will help. Oh dear, remember that burrito? Oh please toilet flush!!! Nope. Andy goes to the front desk for a plunger. I guess you don’t really know a person until you have plunged their toilet. But at least now I feel like going out to dinner!

We are within short walking distance of the marina and several restaurants, including Brophy Brothers. It’s a very popular eating spot, so while we wait for our table, we take a walk around the harbor and enjoy our last evening on the road. Let’s shoot one last FB live!

Our observation is, as you head south, the oysters shooters get smaller. But scallops and swordfish become fresh and abundant! We enjoy a lovely feast at an outside table overlooking the harbor while the sun sets.

Andy’s note: What a view!

And that’s a Wrap: Day 9

Today is the day we reach our destination! We are energized!

Casa Del Mar has a nice breakfast bar with pastries, fruit, and thank goodness they are serving probiotic yogurt this morning! Our tummies are not feeling so good. They serve coffee and juice too.

Let’s take a walk on the beach and the Pier before we make the five-hour drive to Encinitas. It’s a lovely late-summer morning. People are fishing on the pier as we stroll along.

Scene of the Crime!

We stop at spot to read about the flags of California. That’s when something came over Andy, something wicked and cruel. What is that smell?! Ew, I can taste it! This will be forever known as the day Andy ripped The Pier Fart! I hope they’ll still allow us to come back for our anniversary.

Well, I guess it’s time to head south.

We Have Arrived

Finally, we roll into Encinitas in one piece, tired, but excited to finally arrive in our new home town!

The Killers “I’m The Man” is playing on the radio. Our stuff is crammed into my mom’s garage, some of it broken. Drama from Portland is ringing us on the phone.

But my mom (AKA LuLu) greets us with the best welcome gift: Homemade tacos!

And now The Adventure really begins!

Join us for posts on all of our favorite SoCal adventures and more.