Fifty-first Lighthouse Expedition

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[edit] April 8 - 17, 2010 -- Southern California with U.S. Lighthouse Society

[edit] April 8, 2010, Thursday

6:00 am (EDST)

Our son-in-law, Duffy, picked us up and drove us to Detroit Metro Airport. We’d had a mini crisis with a suitcase and all the contents had to be changed at the last minute, but we were ready to leave when he arrived.

6:45 am

Duffy dropped us off and by 7:15 we were through security. We were in plenty of time for our flight.

9:00 am

The plane left the gate and lifted off at 9:20. The skies were cloudy but then cleared once we were west of Chicago. Diana had managed to talk another passenger into letting her have the window seat, so she had good visibility of the ground all the way to San Diego. The plane had little video monitors for each seat and by checking the map on the screen, we knew exactly what area of the country we were flying over. We crossed MI, IL, IA, NB, KS, CO, NM, AZ and finally into California. It was easy to see the Mississippi River and the snow-covered Rocky Mountains. The view was beautiful.

10:30 am (PDST) / (1:30 pm EDST)

Touch down in San Diego. It was beautiful and sunny. Diana’s friend since girlhood, Marty (Blake) Jacobson, was waiting for us in baggage claim. We stayed with her and her husband, Gary, for two days before the lighthouse tour began. We were surprised when we saw Carol Nettleton from MN at the airport. She is on the USLHS tour with us and also decided to enjoy a couple of days in San Diego before the tour. From the airport we went directly to Point Loma Seafoods and enjoyed a wonderful lunch on the patio.

11:20 am

Since the skies were clear and there was a chance of rain in the next few days, we were eager to go to the Cabrillo National Monument to see the Old and New Point Loma Lighthouses. We passed through a Naval Station and the Rosecrans National Cemetery. There are over 90,000 veterans buried there starting with the Mexican American War. We arrived at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and spent time walking around and taking pictures. We also stopped by the visitor’s center. We drove down the hill to the tide pools and enjoyed some of the marine life while the tide was out. This area preserves one of the last rocky intertidal areas open to the public in southern California. We stopped along side the road to take pictures of the New Point Loma Lighthouse, but could not get a very clear view through the fence. We will be visiting these lights again with the tour on Sunday and hopefully we will be able to get on the property for better pictures. We left about 2:15 and headed to the Jacobson’s house. Marty and Gary live in La Jolla and Gary is a professor at UCSD. They have a lovely home and are a few blocks from the ocean.

5:00 pm

We left to go visit the Soledad Veterans War Memorial offering a 360-degree view of La Jolla, and the surrounding area of San Diego. We stayed a short time and then Marty drove us back to her home. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and lots of fun conversation about our growing up days in Detroit.

[edit] April 9, 2010, Friday

We were awake early as our inner clocks were trying to adjust to Pacific Time.

9:20 am

We left the Jacobson’s for a trip to the world famous San Diego Zoo. We had a wonderful day and saw most of the animals. We started with the skyfari ride to the back part of the zoo and then worked our way around making sure we saw the Pandas. We arrived at the tiger area at snack time! We saw all the usual animals - giraffes, elephants, hippos, monkeys and zebras and many birds in the aviaries; and some of the more unusual ones like takins, okapis, the southern gerenuk, the red river hog, golden-bellied mangabey, pronghorns, and yellow footed rock wallabies. The weather was a little cool but the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Albert’s restaurant in the zoo and left at 3:15. Marty drove us through the rest of Balboa Park where many of the museums along Balboa Park's Prado are housed in magnificent Spanish Colonial Revival buildings, originally constructed for the 1915–1916 Panama-California Exposition. Marty is a weekly volunteer at the Natural History Museum. We left the Balboa Park area and drove north again to La Jolla for another wonderful dinner and evening with Gary & Marty.

[edit] April 10, 2010, Saturday

8:15 am

We took a 2.5-mile walk with Gary & Marty around the area in La Jolla called “bird rock.” The route took us through the beautiful neighborhoods, along the ocean and paths near the hills. After breakfast Marty took us to the Children’s Pool to view the seals, to the beautiful La Jolla Cove and Scripps Park. From there we went to Torrey Pines State Preserve. We hiked one of the paths to see the wild flowers and plants in bloom along with the birds and wildlife. This route, high on a bluff, also gave us wonderful ocean views. Torrey Pines are very rare pine trees and grow only in this area and on Santa Rosa Island. We saw a yucca plant, also known as “Our Lord’s Candle” which was in full bloom. One of the volunteers in the park said the flower was growing seven inches a day. It towered over the three of us.

2:15 pm

We took lunch back to Marty and Gary’s and did our final packing. Afterwards, Marty drove us to our hotel, The Bay Club Hotel and Marina on Shelter Island in San Diego. We arrived before our room was ready, so we enjoyed the sunshine near the pool for about half an hour. The hotel is beautiful and we had a room overlooking the marina.

7:00 pm

We met the rest of our Southern California tour group at dinner at the hotel: Pat & Don Bandock, Collingswood, NJ; Dona Basso, Mt. Iron, MN; Cyne & Norm Bosse, Windsor, CT; Betty Chenoweth, Nashville, TN; Darlene & Tom Chisholm, Albion, MI; Helen & Jim Dains, Amana, IA; Janice Dumonson, Woodruff, WI; Jean Friedman, Penn Valley, CA; Mary Ann Hengst, Pleasanton, CA; Dorothy Jarczynski, Clinton Twp., MI; Sandy & Stan Jennings, Kent, CT; Al King, Brandon, FL; Sharon & Ken Kohler, Elyria, OH; Pat Mitchell, El Cajon, CA; Ron Morris, Coos Bay, OR; Carol Nettleton, Maplewood, MN; Judy & Bill Newblom, Arvada, CO; Clarice Powers, Glendale, CA; Shirley Reeve, Rochester Hills, MI; Dot & John Scott, Jeffersonville, IN; our tour leaders Mary Lee & Skip Sherwood, Kingston, WA; Retta Thomas, Covington, OH; Patt & Shannon Thompson, Greenwood, IN; Diana & Harris Verner, Sequim, WA; Marie Vincent & Jerry Waters, Hansville, WA; Larry & Linda Welin, Dayton, OH. We each had a chance to introduce ourselves and tell about something we were looking forward to on the tour.

[edit] April 11, 2010, Sunday

8:25 am

After breakfast at the hotel, the bus left The Bay Club Hotel & Marina. We met our bus driver, John Alvarez. We came to really appreciate John during the tour and he even developed an interest in lighthouses!

8:35 am

Our first stop was the Tom Ham Lighthouse Restaurant located near the end of Harbor Island in San Diego Bay. It’s a registered aid to navigation but not an official lighthouse. Those who were interested took advantage of the five-minute photo stop.

9:05 am

We arrived at the Cabrillo National Monument. The Monument and the Point Loma Lighthouses are located at the end of Point Loma which stretches out into San Diego Bay. One of the park service workers, Kim Fahlen, met the bus and directed us to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. We were glad we had come here earlier, as the skies were gray and not sunny like they had been on Thursday. (However, we were told about an overlook, where you could get a good view of the New Point Loma Light Station. We had not seen this overlook on Thursday, and indeed it was an excellent view. Don wished he had been more observant on Thursday when the sun was out.) Old Point Loma Light was built in 1855 high on the bluff of Point Loma. This light has the highest focal plane of any lighthouse in the US at 462 feet. Due to fog, the mariners couldn’t see the light, so New Point Loma was built in 1891 closer to the water. On display in the museum is the 3rd order lens from the no-longer existing Ballast Point Lighthouse. There are many displays at the lighthouse and in the visitor’s center. The monument of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stands near the visitor’s center high above San Diego Bay. He was the first European to set foot on the west coast of what is now the United States.

10:30 am

We boarded the bus and went down the hill to the New Point Loma Light located at an active Coast Guard Station. We were met by several members of the Coast Guard and taken through the gate, something we had not been able to do on Thursday. While we were able to get close to the light tower, we were not able to climb it. This is the only skeletal tower in California. The buildings and grounds surrounding this light are beautifully maintained. We left New Point Loma at 11:30 and once again traveled through the beautiful Rosecrans National Cemetery on our way out of San Diego heading north.

1:00 pm

We arrived in the town of San Juan Capistrano, well known for the return of the swallows every March 19th. We had lunch at the El Adobe De Capistrano Restaurant, which has been recognized as a California State Historical Landmark uniting the Miguel Yorba Adobe, built in 1797 with the Juzgado (court and jails), established in 1812. We had a lovely private dining room and were served a wonderful lunch.

2:30 pm

We left the restaurant and went the short distance to the Mission San Juan Capistrano for a self-guided audio tour. The grounds are beautiful and we learned some of the history of the Mission. In 1775, Father Junipero Serra convinced Spanish Captain Rivera that a new mission was needed to interrupt the long journey between San Diego and San Gabriel. On October 30, 1775, Father Fermin Lasuen founded San Juan Capistrano Mission, named for Saint John of Capistrano, Italy. Just eight days later, word came that San Diego de Alcala was under attack and Indians had killed one of the fathers. The fathers immediately returned to San Diego, but first Father Lasuen buried the San Juan Capistrano Mission bells to keep them safe. The following year, Father Junipero Serra returned to San Juan Capistrano Mission, dug up the bells, and re-founded it on November 1, 1776. The local Indians, the Juaneno, were friendly and helped build the buildings and church. In 1777, an adobe church was built. In 1791, a bell tower was completed and the bells were moved from the tree where they had been hanging for 15 years. We left San Juan Capistrano at 3:35 and drove to Long Beach.

4:25 pm

We arrived at our hotel for the night – The Queen Mary. We toured the ship while we waited for our luggage to be delivered to our stateroom. We arrived too late to take the self-guided audio tour, but we roamed around the ship and took pictures out on the promenade deck. The ships maiden voyage was in 1936 and was considered the grandest ocean liner ever built. During WWII she was transformed into a troopship. In 1967 she “retired” and was purchased by the city of Long Beach and is considered a luxury hotel. We were impressed with the size of our room and it was very comfortable. We had dinner and enjoyed a view of the city of Long Beach while we ate our dinner in the Promenade Café dining room.

[edit] April 12, 2010, Monday

8:30 am

After breakfast in the Promenade Café, we took pictures of the outside of the ship and boarded the bus.

9:05 am

We arrived at the dock in Long Beach and boarded the Caroline with Captain Tom Beardsley. As we left the dock, it started to rain lightly and this continued for a while. We could see the Rainbow Lighthouse on our way out of the harbor. This is not an official lighthouse but stands at the entrance to the marina in a park. On the opposite side is Parker’s Restaurant, which looks like a keepers dwelling with a lantern room on top. We also viewed these lights from The Queen Mary the night before. From the boat, we had a good view of The Queen Mary and lots of gantries and shipping containers, as Long Beach is a very busy seaport. We noticed islands in the river and were told these are disguised oilrigs. We went along the breakwater for 9 1/2 miles, which is the longest artificial breakwater in the country.

9:30 am

The Caroline slowed down as we reached the Long Beach Harbor Light also known as the Robot Light. This light is an ugly box type thing on the end of the breakwater and was built in 1949.

9:50 am

At the far end of the breakwater stands a more traditional light, the Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse, also known as Angels Gate Lighthouse. This light was built in 1913 and has withstood several severe earthquakes and a collision with a Navy battleship. This was the first lighthouse on the West Coast to be powered by the sun. The Fresnel lens was removed in 1983 and is on display in the Los Angeles Maritime Museum.

10:15 am

On our way back along the breakwater, the sun came out on Angels Gate and was in full view by the time we reached the Robot Light again.

10:45 am

We arrived back at the dock.

11:10 am

We were back on the bus and we left Long Beach.

11:30 am

Several volunteers in period costume met us at the Point Fermin Lighthouse. We were divided into two groups – one group ate a picnic lunch on the park grounds while the other group was given a tour of the lighthouse. Then we switched. The house has been renovated and beautifully furnished. They were also able to obtain the original lens after many years. The lighthouse, built high on a bluff in 1874 with redwood and fir, is now part of a Los Angeles City park. It was entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The dedicated group of volunteers opened the lighthouse for us as they are usually closed on Mondays. Tours are available to the public on Tuesdays through Sundays from 1 to 4 pm. Many of us took advantage of their gift shop! We left the lighthouse at 1:15 pm.

1:40 pm

The Point Vicente Lighthouse was our next stop. The grounds are closed to the public so we were delighted that arrangements had been made for us to visit the light and climb the 74 steps in the tower. Eric Castrobran, of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, met us at the lighthouse and opened the gate. The buildings on the property are used as housing for Coast Guard personnel serving in the area. The light can be viewed from a near-by park and the Point Vicente Interpretive Center is operated by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. The light was first illuminated in 1926 with a 3rd order clamshell Fresnel lens from Sitka, AL. The tower is a 67 foot white cylindrical tower made of reinforced concrete. The grounds, lighthouse and buildings are very picturesque. We left at 2:35.

4:30 pm

We were met at the Point Hueneme Lighthouse (pronounced Why-nee-me) by Kim & Rose Castrobran, son and daughter-in-law of Eric Castrobran from the Point Vicente Lighthouse. This lighthouse is located on Coast Guard property and we were given a private tour. However, the Coast Guard hosts free open houses on the 3rd Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. from February through October. Visitors can walk to the lighthouse using the Lighthouse Promenade and gain access to the lighthouse. The original lighthouse, first lit in 1874, was replaced with the current modern cement structure in 1941. However, the 1899 lens is installed in the current building. We were also able to climb this tower.

5:35 pm

We boarded the bus and within 5 minutes we arrived at the Country Inn and Suites in the town of Port Hueneme. Mary Wheeler met the bus and she will be one of the 24 additional passengers joining us on the boat trip tomorrow. We have traveled with Mary on previous USLHS tours.

6:35 pm

After settling in our rooms, and a quick change of clothes, we boarded the bus again and arrived at BJ’s Brewery in Oxnard at 7:00. Skip and Mary Lee had been told we would have a semi-private room, and we did. It was an outside porch with plastic drop-down walls. It was a cool evening, but fortunately they had heaters and the "room" became comfortable. The ribs were delicious! We left at 8:55.

[edit] April 13, 2010, Tuesday

8:05 am

We left the Country Inn and Suites in Port Hueneme and drove to the beautiful seaside town of Santa Barbara.

9:35 am

We went to the dock and boarded our boat, the Condor with Captain Fred Benko and headed toward Point Conception. Twenty-four other lighthouse enthusiasts joined us for the all-day boat cruise. We were delighted to see Hal & Mary Ann Jenkins from previous tours.

9:50 am

We passed the Santa Barbara Lighthouse located high on a bluff just west of the harbor. An earthquake in 1925 destroyed the original lighthouse built in 1856. Where once stood a beautiful cape-cod style dwelling with light tower, now stands a steel automated tower with a minor optic, built in 1935. As we traveled further west along the shore, we saw dolphins, grey whales, humpback whales and seals. Also out in the water were several oilrigs. We also enjoyed the beautiful countryside on the shore with mountains and colorful wild flowers blooming. The Hollister Ranch, which once owned much of the west end of the point, was sold off in 100-acre parcels and many celebrates enjoy the solitude of this area. We could see many lovely, large homes or ranches from the water.

11:55 am

We reached the tip of the point and viewed the beautiful Point Conception Lighthouse with its first order Fresnel lens. It sits high on a bluff with an interesting rock formation at the water level. While the sea wasn’t rough, the rolling waters made some of the passenger a little queasy and some seasick. Point Conception is located where the California coastline takes a 90-degree turn at the north end of the Santa Barbara channel. This point is sometimes referred to as the "Cape Horn of the Pacific." Since this point was known by mariners to have heavy northwest gales, the need for a lighthouse was obvious. There were many difficulties in building this light and the site was not an ideal one because of the distance to Santa Barbara for supplies. Finally on February 1, 1856 the 1st order Fresnel lens, with its flashing white light, was shining out to sea. It was moved to a new tower lower on the bluff in 1882. This lighthouse is closed to the public.

12:10 pm

Captain Fred charted a new course toward the Channel Islands after everyone had a chance to photograph the lighthouse. Many people had their lunch after the boat left Point Conception and others waited for their stomachs to settle. Some people (like Don) never ate lunch!

1:45 pm

After crossing the Santa Barbara Channel, we reached one of the four Channel Islands, Santa Cruz. When we reached the tip, we saw more humpback whales. We traveled along the shoreline and viewed the caves, a few beaches, lots of birds and the famous Painted Cave. This is the largest of the Channel Islands and is part of the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy.

3:00 pm

We were at the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island.

3:35 pm

We reached the eastern tip of the Anacapa Islands (made up of 3 islets) located 14 miles from Ventura, CA. Just off the eastern end of East Anacapa is a forty-foot-high natural bridge, named Arch Rock, which is the trademark for Anacapa and Channel Islands National Park. Just above Arch Rock at the tip of the island is Anacapa Island Lighthouse. The construction of the station was carried out in two phases and was completed in the spring of 1932. A forty foot, cylindrical tower and a fog signal building were built near the highest point on the eastern end of the island. Four Spanish-style, white stucco houses with red tile roofs were provided for the keepers and their families. This was the last major light station to be built on the west coast. Trips to the island can be arranged through Channel Islands National Park Service in Ventura.

3:55 pm

We had another exciting boat ride back across the Santa Barbara Channel to the town of Santa Barbara and arrived at the dock at 5:00 pm after a 160-mile boat ride and 7 1/2 hours on the water! Some of the passengers were very happy to reach land!

5:20 pm

The bus left Santa Barbara and we arrived at Pacifica Suites, our accommodations for the night, at 5:40. After settling into our rooms and a change of clothes, we headed into Santa Barbara for dinner.

7:05 pm

We arrived at Aldos, an Italian restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara, and enjoyed a wonderful meal. We had a chance to visit with Mary Wheeler during dinner, as she will be leaving in the morning to return home.

9:00 pm

We left Aldos and returned to Pacifica Suites about 15 minutes later.

[edit] April 14, 2010, Wednesday

The Pacifica Suites offered made-to-order hot breakfasts with very quick service, not to mention delicious!

8:05 am

We left the Pacifica Suites in Santa Barbara.

9:30 am

Mary Lee convinced a California Welcome Center, located in a shopping mall, to open so we could use the facilities. We drove the bus around back and were delighted with the more than adequate accommodations. We left 20 minutes later and continued on our bus ride.

10:05 am

Since the bus was not able to navigate the road to the San Luis Obispo Light Station, arrangements had been made ahead of time and four vans were waiting for us in a parking lot at the base of the hill.

10:15 am

We made the steep winding climb up, with beautiful views of the harbor below, and then the winding descent on the other side of the hill, for a 2.54-mile ride. Arrangements also had to be made for us to get to the lighthouse through the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

10:30 am

We arrived at San Luis Obispo Lighthouse. This lighthouse was completed in 1890 and is of the same style as that of Point Fermin. This house has received a major renovation under the loving hands of the San Luis Lighthouse Keepers Association. They hand scraped layers and layers of paint off the walls and then repainted the rooms with original colors. They also refinished all the floors. Furnishings of the 1890 period have been purchased and donated and everything is done extremely well. Our guide, Dennis, also showed us a jib window that leads to the porch. This window goes all the way to the floor and when lifted becomes like a doorway. Outside, they have torn out all the ice plants, which at one time was considered a good ground cover, and replaced it with vinca which is native to this area of CA. Their next project is to paint the outside of the house. There is a nice gift shop and other buildings have also been renovated. We had a wonderful catered lunch that included a decorated chocolate-dipped strawberry! The volunteers were very gracious and following lunch took the group picture in front of the lighthouse and then returned us to our bus with the vans. This light has limited accessibility but special tours are offered through the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers. We left the lighthouse at 12:30 pm.

12:50 pm

We were back to the parking lot to our bus and we left five minutes later.

1:45 pm

We arrived in the town of Cambria. The 1st order Fresnel lens from the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse is located in a glass enclosure next to the highway on Main Street in Cambria. The lens is lit and actually rotates on Fridays between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday evenings from 7:37 p.m. to 8:37 p.m. There were ladders inside the enclosure and we assume they were in the process of cleaning it. This stop was a photo opportunity and we left shortly afterwards.

2:05 pm

We arrived at the Fog Catcher Inn in Cambria. The Inn is located across the street from the ocean. There is a nice boardwalk along the shore of Moonstone Beach. The rooms here are very nice and it was great to be close to the water and take advantage of the beautiful boardwalk.

2:30 pm

Some of the group chose to stay at the Inn and others of us rode the bus into the West Village for shopping. There are many interesting shops, however, several of them are closed on Wednesdays at this time of year.

4:30 pm

The bus picked us up and drove us back to the Fog Catcher Inn.

6:15 pm

We had dinner at the Cambria Pines Lodge. We had wonderful dinners and quick service in the very nice dining room.

8:00 pm

We were back to the Inn.

[edit] April 15, 2010, Thursday

8:00 am

The bus left after breakfast at the Fog Catcher Inn in their breakfast room. Since we were ahead of schedule, we decided to change the itinerary and go to the Piedras Blancas Seal Rookery just beyond the town of San Simeon this morning instead of this afternoon.

8:15 am

We arrived at the Rookery with the beach filled with elephant seals. What a sight. There were hundreds of them. Most of the seals were stretched out on the sand. Some were sleeping, some were slowly moving and a few others lumbered along making their unusual sounds. (We also were aware of their foul smell!) We left after about 30 minutes.

8:45 am

We arrived at the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. Once a beautiful 115-foot tower, built in 1875, it is now a little sad looking without a lantern room or lens. They were removed because of storm damage, leaving the tower 74 feet tall. The lens was restored by the Lion’s Club and placed on Main Street in Cambria. The volunteers hope that someday the lens will be placed back on the tower. We were divided into groups and taken on tours of the lighthouse grounds. Our guide was Abel Martinez and his wife, Tina. This area abounds in plant and marine life and the dwellings adjacent to the tower are used as a duty station for the Western Ecological Research Center. Volunteers were on hand counting whales that were migrating north. Many seals could be seen on the rocks offshore. The volunteers at this lighthouse have also removed all the ice plant and have replaced it with native vegetation. The grounds have been beautifully restored and the pathways around the base of the lighthouse include signs with information about plant and marine life in the area. Eventually we were able to get into the base of the tower, but the steps to the top were inaccessible. The room at the base is quite large and is filled with pictures and displays of the lighthouse in its glory days. The keepers dwelling was razed in 1960 and the Coast Guard built four homes for the keepers and families. Some of the volunteers were in costume and there is a nice gift shop. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offers tours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, excluding federal holidays, at 10 am. We left the lighthouse at 10:55 and drove to San Simeon.

11:15 am

We arrived at the Hearst Castle. In 1957, the Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California. Since that time it has been maintained as a state historic park where the estate and its considerable collection of art and antiques are open for public tours. Despite its location far from any urban center, the site attracts roughly one million visitors per year. Shortly after we arrived, we enjoyed our lunch on the sunny patio. We viewed the IMAX film about the boyhood life of William Randolph Hearst and the building of the castle in the theater next to the patio. For our tour, we were taken by bus up the mountain, to the place Mr. Hearst, as a boy, referred to as "The Enchanted Hill." He inherited the property where he later built the Castle (starting in 1919 and continuing until 1947) which features 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a movie theater, tennis courts, an airfield, and the world's largest private zoo. There are five tours available and we took The Experience Tour that is recommended for first time visitors. It included the Esplanade and Garden, the outdoor Greco-Roman Style Neptune Pool, the indoor Roman Pool, the Casa del Sol (an 18-room guesthouse), the Casa Grande (main house), which included the Assembly Room, the Refectory (dining room), Morning Room, Billiard Room and Theater including a six-minute film of Mr. Hearst’s home movies. The Hearst Castle and grounds are really beyond description! The view of the Pacific and surrounding hills was so beautiful! We left the Castle at 3:25 pm and arrived back at the Fog Cutter Inn in Cambria about 20 minutes later.

4:00 pm

We walked along the boardwalk, across the highway, then to 270 Chatham St. to the former Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Keepers dwelling that has been moved to Cambria and is now a guesthouse. After our walk, we returned to our room to change for dinner.

6:30 pm

We left for Morrow Bay, about 30 minutes away, to have dinner at the Window on the Water Restaurant. Our group had a private dining room where we could watch the sunset over Morrow Rock. We had an excellent dinner.

9:30 pm

Back to the Fog Catcher Inn.

[edit] April 16, 2010, Friday

8:30 am

After breakfast at the Fog Catcher Inn, we left Cambria to head back south. This is a travel day to return everyone to Santa Barbara, where they will return home or continue on with further travel.

9:15 am

We bid farewell to Stan & Sandy Jennings as we dropped them off at the San Luis Obispo airport to rent a car.

10:15 am

Since we had plenty of time today before our lunch in Santa Barbara, we stopped in the Danish Village of Solvang. This town is known as California’s "Little Denmark" which was established by Danish immigrants in 1911. We enjoyed the architecture of the buildings and windmills as we strolled the flower-lined streets. We enjoyed the unique shops and some delightful pastries. There are a variety of shops for everyone’s enjoyment. We left Solvang at noon.

12:45 pm

Our lunch was waiting for us when we arrived back at the Pacifica Suites Hotel in Santa Barbara.

2:20 pm

Those who wanted a couple of hours in Santa Barbara were dropped off at either Sterns Wharf or at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. We chose the wharf and then walked to the courthouse – about 10 blocks away. Along the way, we found a Coldstone Creamery ice cream shop and indulged! We took the elevator to the top of the courthouse and enjoyed a 360-degree view of the city – the ocean, the mountains and the red rooftops of the city. The courthouse is considered one of the most beautiful in the country. The tile and artwork of this Mediterranean style building are simply beautiful and the courtyard with its plantings is outstanding. We were so glad we’d decided to make the long walk. Afterwards, we met Dorothy & Carol and joined them at the end of their walking tour of the historic area before the bus picked us up for the return trip to the hotel.

5:00 pm

We returned to the hotel. The temperature reached 72 degrees today, the warmest of the entire week!

7:00 pm

We had dinner with the group at the hotel. There were drawings for USLHS souvenirs and other lighthouse goodies. We said our goodbyes as everyone had different travel arrangements the next day.

[edit] April 17, 2010, Saturday

8:20 am

We had breakfast at the Pacifica Inn and Suites and left for the airport.

8:30 am

We arrived at the Santa Barbara airport.

9:40 am

We boarded the plane and it left the gate at 10:00.

10:10 am

The plane lifted off. We could see the Channel Islands from the air. It was hard to imagine we had been there by boat just four days before.

10:35 am

Touch down in Los Angeles at LAX.

10:50 am

We took a shuttle bus to terminal five. We arrived 5 minutes later, played cards and had lunch.

11:55 am

Boarded plane.

12:25 pm

Plane left the gate and lifted off at 12:40.

7:30 pm (EDST) / (4:30 pm PDST)

Touch down at Detroit Metro airport.

7:35 pm

The plane reached the gate. We were in the back of the plane, so it took awhile to get off. We were also at the furthest gate, so we had a long walk thru the terminal to the baggage claim. Our luggage was on the carrousel when we got there. We called Andrea, Duffy & Hayden, who were waiting in the cell phone parking lot near the airport, and they were there shortly to pick us up. We had dinner at McDonalds in Union Lake. It was fun to see them and tell them about our trip.

9:00 pm

Arrived Home!

Our special thanks to the USLHS, and especially to Skip & Mary Lee Sherwood, for a well-planned and delightful tour of Southern California. We look forward to future tours! Our sincere thanks also to Marty & Gary Jacobson for being our hosts in San Diego at the beginning of our trip.

Trip Totals: 12 Lighthouses, appx. 3850 miles on planes, 730 miles on the bus, 183 miles on boats, 220 steps in towers, 10 days.

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Conceived and Developed by David S. Carter
Photographs by Donald W. Carter
Text by Diana K. Carter, Donald W. Carter & David S. Carter

Copyright © 1995-2011 David S. Carter, Donald W. Carter, & Diana K. Carter. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means, physical or electronic, in part or in full, without the express permission of the authors, is strictly prohibited.

This article was last modified on 5/24/2010.

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