Homer's Travels: Route 66 & California - Cambria

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Route 66 & California - Cambria

We left the Oxnard - Ventura area and drove north.  Our goal for the day is one of our favorite towns, Cambria, CA.  We discovered this place way back in 1998 and we fell in love immediately.  Despite having loved Cambria, we'd never actually spent the night there.  Usually our visits were day trips.  The only overnight trip to the area was when we went to Hearst Castle but we ended up staying just north of Cambria in San Simeon.  This trip we would correct that oversight.

A couple hours north of Ventura, just south of Cambria, is the tiny town of Harmony, CA.  Every time we went to Cambria we would always take the time to stop here.  This little town, population 18, had lost its post office a while back, and for a while I thought the town was going to die, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the place was coming back.  Besides the pottery place that stubbornly refused to die, a glass place (artisanal glass, blown glass, that kind of stuff) had opened up.  The tiny wedding chapel was also open and available for weddings.  Other renovations were evident hinting at more galleries/stores being opened in the future.  The number of people we saw in Harmony was many times the usual number we see there.  I'm happy for the place.  It always had character.  It has character still.  A few pictures I've taken in Harmony this trip and on other trips can be found in my 2006-2011 Harmony, CA Google Photos album.

Candles hanging in a store, Harmony, California.
We pulled into town and had lunch at our favorite place, The Main Street Grill.  They have some of the best BBQ Tri-Tip sandwiches I've ever had.  We browsed the eclectic stores and enjoyed the warm summer day.

Every time we've visited Cambria we spent all our time in the main street area.  I've known there was a boardwalk running along the beach for a while, I learned about it while investigating Geocaches in the area, but we'd never actually seen it.  On this trip I'd made a reservation in a hotel along Moonstone Beach across the street from the boardwalk.

Moonstone Beach boardwalk.
After checking in and moving into our nice room, we crossed the street and walked along the boardwalk.  While it had been pleasant on main street, along the ocean it was a little windy so the walk along the ocean was a little chilly.  Despite this, I enjoyed the ocean views.  We took stairs down from the boardwalk to the beach and walked on the sand.  It was really beautiful and I took pictures of the surf, rocks, and fat squirrels.

I lived near the ocean for almost twenty-one years.  In those twenty-one years, you could count the times I actually entered the water on one hand.  I lived there for eight or nine years before I swam in the ocean.  You would think I don't like the ocean.  You would be wrong.  I like the ocean.  I miss the ocean.  This may sound odd.  It sounds odd to me as well.  To me it's less about swimming and more about the whole sensory experience.  The motion, the spray, the roar, the smell of the ocean.  Every time I see the ocean after a long time apart, I feel in awe.

We probably would have walked the beach longer but my knee was screaming, so we returned to the hotel and took a soak in the hot tub (which made my leg and knee feel great) before falling asleep in the sun.

Rocks and surf along Moonstone Beach, Cambria, CA.
That night we ate at the The Sow's Ear.  I sort of felt out of place.  Even Cambria casual is a little dressier than I like but the food was good and I enjoyed the meal.

We enjoyed our return to Cambria.  We managed to do things we should have done years before.  The day was relaxing and set the right vacation tone.  Next stop, San Francisco and Alcatraz.

Pictures of Moonstone Beach have been added to my 2008-2011 Cambria, CA Google Photos album.


  1. I love the ocean too, for all the reasons you listed. I don't like swimming in it though. Freaks me out. this sounds like a lovely part of the trip, and those candles are cool!! Never seen anything like them

    1. The ocean is always a little awe inspiring and a little frightening as well.

      This was a lovly part of our vacation. Thanks, I like the candles too!