Weekend in Laguna


To the beach!

On Friday, Bret and I pointed the Prius to the coast for an overnight trip to Laguna Beach, where I would meet Cecilia Garcia Amaro.

It was a beautiful day in Laguna: the skies were perfectly clear, the Pacific was pacific, and the temperature was quite balmy. Some people — hardier than I — were even walking around with bare feet! Catalina Island and even San Clemente Island were clearly visible across the bay.

We dilly-dallied at the beach for a while, then went back to Eiler's Inn for the wine and cheese hour. We pretty much had the place to ourselves; only two other rooms were occupied on Friday night, although Chaz and Linda said they would be full on Saturday.

After the reception at the gallery, we stopped in at the Greek restaurant for dinner, but the place was jam-packed with people well into the retsina and ouzo. The only seating available was at the bar. It was just too frenetic, so we went off to the Beach House for seafood instead.

Bret is always one for an adventure, and he decided it would be interesting to take highway 74 back instead of the freeways. On the map in the brochure, it seemed that if we just followed the Pacific Coast Highway south we should see a sign pointing us to highway 74. That didn't happen. It's possible we did pass the sign without recognizing it, for we found out after we got on the highway that all the signs called it Ortega Highway rather than by its number. This was all very frustrating for Bret, because he loves maps and has a near-photographic memory for them. The navigation system in the Prius was of no help, because it didn't use the number either. Eventually I picked a road that appeared to go in the right direction on the map and told Penelope (my name for the navigation voice) to "use this road." Having made that decision, Penelope did a fine job of getting us from where we were onto the highway and back home.

Along the way we came across some fascinating sights. There was a gathering of several hundred motorcycles at a tiny little town (one store and a park). A bit later we came upon the Lookout Road House perched high above Lake Elsinore. And for no apparent reason, there was a carved buffalo on the hill alongside the road as well.

Bret at the beach
Bret at the beach
Laguna Beach
Looking north along Laguna Beach
Laguna sunset
Lookout Road House
Now that's a real roadhouse
roadside buffalo
Who knew the buffalo roam the Cleveland National Forest?
Lake Elsinore
City of Lake Elsinore, seen from the Lookout Road House

For more pictures, see the slideshow (sidebar).