Napa marked the end of the westward road for me. Although I wanted to go to San Francisco and have always wanted to go up the
Salinas was the first stop out of the rainy Napa environment. I chose it due to the song Me and Bobby McGhee, the Janis Joplin version, nod to Kris Kristofferson. Turns out that Salinas is also the home of John Steinbeck- prodigal son of Travels with Charley, Grapes of Wrath, Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, and so many other memorable stories. It thus seemed doubly fitting that I stayed there although the haven for the evening turned out to be a Motel 6. Many of the other hotels would not accept dogs. The ground is too sodden for camping and some parks are closed due to mudslides and such. This trip has been shaped repeatedly by Gina and the weather. I wouldn't trade my traveling companion but sheesh! Salinas boasts a pleasant Main Street and many Steinbeck attractions and I am glad I went but will cross it off the bucket list.
We discovered a dog beach in an adjacent town, got some work done in the van including propane refill at the UHaul (a good place to remember if you need propane). Evenings were breezy and rainy, some branches came down but we were none the worse for wear. I would say revitalized. I had downloaded some movies on my iPad so was cozy within Emma.
Continuing down the road I stopped at Pismo Beach. A wide, wild stretch of ocean beach that was chilly but not extraordinary in the winter. My destination for the evening was Ojai, which had been recommended to me. It is a welcoming little town, full of cute houses, retired hippies and lots of trees and gardens. I stayed at the Hummingbird Inn, which did take dogs and provided many walkable areas and trails. The following day dawned sunny and crisp, great weather for walking and seeing the town up close and personal. A terrific outdoor bookstore was recommended to me- Bart's Books- which could have consumed hours. I also had one of the best lattes I have ever drank/drunk from Beacon Coffee. A pleasant stay all around. And a lovely drive over the mountain via Santa Paula to my sister's ranch in Somis.