We left Thursday night after dinner and made it down to Fresno to visit with Chris' grandma by late evening. The following morning we hung out with Chris' grandma, Aunt and cousins - going on walks, having breakfast together, and playing with all of the family's animals (4 dogs, 2 cats - including a new kitten, and 3 birds).
By afternoon we left to go to Fresno's famous Forestiere Underground Gardens (no pictures because the Forestiere family - which still owns it, request that you not publish them on the internet)
(photo courtesty of the Forestiere Underground Gardens)
The Underground Gardens are AMAZING. In the early 1900s a man named Baldassare Forestiere began digging underground and created a HUGE underground "home" (he ultimately wanted it to be an underground resort) to escape the burning Fresno summer heat. We took the tour and were totally amazed by how resourceful and intelligent Forestiere was - digging this little village with no formal training in architecture or engineering. He also planted many different species of fruit and experimented in grafting, and at one point had a tree that grew either 7 or 9 (I can't quite remember) different kinds of fruit. It really was truly amazing.
Afterwards we headed down to the coast and spent the rest of the day driving to San Luis ObispoIn SLO we ate dinner at Woodstock's (there was one in Davis too that Chris frequented), and watched the basketball playoffs. Later we watched Sex and the City at the movie theater pictured above (it was a pretty cool vintage theater inside).
Saturday we headed up to San Simeon, but on the way we stopped in Morro Bay and wandered around on the beach
And Chris got soaked when we ventured over to some rocks to watch the ocean waves (I found it quite hilarious)
When we made it up to Hearst Castle we took the introductory tour we had booked and I was FLOORED at how amazing it was, it was AWESOME! I've never been there before and I was completely amazed. Hearst Castle was a vacation retreat of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in the early 1920s-40s or so. Julia Morgan was the architect, it was under construction for over 28 years, and it was the host of many movie stars, politicians, writers, inventors, etc. throughout Hearst's lifetime. It was SO SO SO SO cool, I'm already counting down till we can visit again and take another tour (I'll only bore you with a handful of pics, but we took A LOT)
Afterwards we drove up Higway 1 all the way to Monterey where we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (which I haven't been to since I was about 2). I gotta say, for the $30 per person price tag, I wasn't super impressed. Not that we didn't have a good time, but $60 to me means it should have been GREAT (Hearst Castle was less per person), but we did see Elijah Wood and Dana Stubblefield while we were there
After we headed to Pebble Beach and the famous 17-Mile drive. It was cool to drive by the Pebble Beach golf course where the Masters will be in about 2 weeks (we already saw them setting up cable, TV tents, etc), and we saw the famous Lone Cypress
After we headed up to Soquel to hang out at Webb Ranch with Chris' friends Luke and Johnny and their girlfriends/wives Claire and Leigh (we went to Johnny and Leigh's wedding here a number of months ago). We hung out late into the night and ate good food and told scary stories around the camp fire.
Sunday morning we drove to Johnny and Leigh's house so Chris could give them some advice on a series of projects going on around their house and to visit some more. After, we tried to visit the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot (a place I've never been), but were thwarted when we found out they were sold out.
Instead we headed up to San Jose to visit the Winchester Mystery house and spent a few hours touring the house and then we headed home.
We had a WONDERFUL couple of days together. As I've said many times, I always love going on roadtrips with Chris, just the two of us hanging out and talking and getting to explore new places. He really is a great buddy to have :)