Rushed Road Trip, Part II

Continuation of Rushed Road Trip,  about a quick trip from Arizona to California. Good friend Susan Lanier Graham writes about WOW moments at Wander with Wonder. Here’s what made us go WOW! on this short road trip. Just keep your eyes open, and you will find it too. (A puzzle, a view, a movie star, food, and a prize for one of my readers.)

Famous Roads. From Palmdale our route ducked around Santa Clarita, then headed to the coast on California 128. We drove up the coast a bit on the 101/1 and when the two roads split, we stayed on 101.While we had followed old Route 66 on part of our way over here, we were now following the route of Spanish/Basque explorer Juan Batista de Anza. He led a band of soldiers and families from the Presidio in Tubac south of Tucson to the coast and north to San Francisco bay, and here we were taking some of the same route.

Juan Batista DeAnza did not have such a nice rest area when he camped near here.



Solvang, where we stopped for lunch. I had always wanted to take a look at this lovely Danish village. I was glad we got to make a brief stop, and hope that some day we can stay a day or two and follow the scents of Danish baked goods into the half-timbered buildings that also house craft shops and hotels.

Art in the Fields As we zipped north on 101 (after a short stretch on U.S. 5) we passed miles and miles of vineyards, fields of leafy vegetables and trucks loaded with garlic.  Approaching Salinas, we saw farm workers gathering around their dented red pick-up truck–but wait–those people are too big to be real.  And sure enough, they were lifelike, but two-dimensional.  As we drove north we saw at least ten more of these depictions of farmers doing various chores. Never found out from whence came this delightful art project.


Carmel Besides the wind-sculpted cypress trees, the cool morning mist,dramatic cliffs above a sandy beach, we found many reasons to love Carmel. We saw the house that poet Robinson Jeffers built and Ken looked forward to “meeting” Doris Day. Although she still lives there, the closest he got was a movie poster in the lounge of the Cypress Inn, a dog-friendly hotel that Ms. Day owns.

View from Tickled Pink room

We also visited the Tickle Pink Inn, named for a Senator Tickle. Of the many luxurious digs in Carmel, this must have the most amazing views–from every room’s balcony.

After trying Katy’s Place where the tough choices include 16 kinds of Eggs Benedict, we went the next day to The Little Swiss Cafe, with simpler food, but amazing art by André Balyon. André paints gorgeous sky-filled landscapes and realist art, but here he lets his sense of humor out to play.

Spring, by Andre Balyon
Detail of “Spring”

Now, at first glance that is a pretty picture, but play “what is wrong with this picture?” Isn’t that the couple from American Gothic? And its small in this image, but that’s Puss in Boots fishing in the canal. Here’s a closeup to show the grandest joke.

Our Carmel stay was over, but we had one more stop–The Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California.

John Steinbeck and Charlie
Carmel Beach Sunset

Photos of Balyon paintings by Andre Balyon. Please go to his gallery to see his “serious” works, although the humorous ones at Little Swiss Cafe are seriously good. Vera Marie Badertscher took all other photos and I reserve all rights. Ask before you use.

Now, you know how the kids always want to know what you brought them when you come home from a trip? Well we brought you something. Persuade me that you should have a t-shirt from the John Steinbeck Center that says, “There are never enough books.” Runner up gets a bookmark listing all Steinbeck’s books. Hurry! You have only until this coming Friday midnight. Good luck. (Check general contest rules here.)

About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

4 thoughts on “Rushed Road Trip, Part II

  1. My Dad loves Carmel, and visits family there often! Thanks for sharing. -r

  2. What size is that T-shirt cause I think Richard Mussler-Wright fits the saying pretty well. That guy is always telling people to go read a book. 😉 Ha.. and once again, I read Carmel and immediately think Indiana. What is it with me and Indiana lately? Are you secretly reading a book about it?

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