A Brief All Star Break Interlude and the Bay Area Baseball Extravaganza Trip Begins

What’s that you say? No baseball this week. Well, fine then. We’ll go on vacation and make our own fun:

Okay, so some of you live for the All-Star game. Me, I appreciate the concept and love to see the interviews and interactions surrounding it, but just can never get into the game itself, except as background noise. Honestly I think it’s because the players switch in and out with such frequency that it seems like a completely different game every other inning or so – patchwork baseball rather than a continuous game. Maybe with less players, such that everyone remained in the game longer, I’d like it more.

With this attitude of mine, and the fact that Thursday was a travel day for the haloed ones, it was fortuitous that the beginning of Seth’s and my vacation fell within this dead period. Yes, I am posting this from the road on our Bay Area Baseball Extravaganza trip! It’s a long drive from Los Angeles to Oakland though, and realizing that the friends we are staying with are not on vacation, we decided to stop over at my inlaws’ beach house in Cambria for a few days first and then complete the drive on Friday.

Cambria is a small town just north of San Luis Obispo and just south of San Simeon of Hearst’s Castle fame. It’s our usual base of operations for our regular excursions into Paso Robles wine country, just not this trip. If you’ve ever read any of the smart, delightful lunacy that is Christopher Moore – and if you haven’t you should 😉 – Cambria is Pine Cove. Literally. The author used to live here. Okay, so there are no lust lizards or zombie Santa Clauses but the shops and many of the locals do fit the descriptions. Behold, the local gas station and car wash with a better wine selection than many wine shops in Los Angeles:

Fresh from a Christopher Moore novel it's the car wash/gas station/fish and bait shop/purveyor of fine wines in Pine Cover...er...Cambria. Photo by This is a very simple game...

…But I digress. We left Los Angeles late after work on Wednesday, arrived in Cambria around 3 a.m. Thursday – seriously Caltrans, just because it’s “Car-mageddon” this week doesn’t mean you also need to start work on every single construction project on the docket, okay – and were on the water in San Simeon Bay by 11 a.m. This is a great way to start a vacation. I love ocean kayaking, especially surrounded by all of this loveliness:

Pier view of San Simeon Bay. Photo by This is a very simple game...


San Simeon Bay, a view form the beach. You can't see the mile maker buoy from this photo, it's further out, well past the point on the right. Photo by This is a very simple game...

 Unfortunately, we left the water proof camera at home, so these photos were taken from land after our excursion using my camera with the crazy zoom. We paddled a total of about four miles yesterday, including out to the buoy one mile offshore to enjoy riding the big swells and say hello to the sea lions that sun themselves there. The tide was too high to actually tour the sea caves along the cliffs that line the north side of the bay:

A view of the sea caves in San Simeon Bay at high tide. Photo by This is a very simple game...

 However, higher tides seemed to bring more wildlife out, so it was fair trade. We saw sea lions, a harbor seal that really wanted to check us out up close, cormorants, brown pelicans, various and sundry other sea birds, and we were lucky enough to pass within 10 feet of one of the bay’s adorable, but notoriously shy sea otters. San Simeon bay is just down the hill from Hearst’s Castle:

Hearst's Castle, seen from San Simeon Bay. Photo by This is a very simple game...

William Randolph Hearst had the original pier built to bring supplies to his “humble abode” which he just referred to as “the Ranch.” Some ranch! I highly recommend a tour if you are ever in this part of the world. Interesting side note about Hearst. Did you know that he played baseball as a young man? A Hearst’s Castle tour guide once told me that when Hearst went away to boarding school back east, he and a few other boys in his class weren’t interested in the sports the school offered, so they introduced their peers to baseball. Hearst was also the newspaper editor who first published Ernest Thayer’s famous Casey at  the Bat when he wasn’t off furnishing wars and the like, of course. Pretty cool stuff.

This morning, to cap off our brief Cambria stay, we rode our bikes up California’s famous Highway One from Cambria to San Simeon Bay and back again. Sixteen miles of rolling hills, clear blue sky and gorgeous ocean views, not to mention taking in the clean, briny smell of the ocean with each breath. It was the perfect way to pass the time until our games start up again this evening.

A rare glimpse of a pair of brown footed loons on their summer migratory joruney up the California coast. Photo by This is a very simple game...(Seth)

California's Highway 1, seen from a rest stop 2.5 miles south of San Simeon Bay. Photo by This is a very simple game...

And now, I return you to your regularly scheduled baseball programming. The All Star Break is over, even for the Angels, today and we are packing up the car for the next leg of our trip to Oakland, to visit good friends and enjoy great baseball. Next post: the A’s vs. Angels double header on Saturday. I can’t wait!


  1. Emma

    Double header!!! that is a douple treat! I have not made a trip to Oakland. I have only seen the stadium from the train or just passing by on the car. One of these days…

    I’ve been to that Wine and Gift place. You are making miss the old days when we used to go Cambria and go wine tasting around there and eating and dancing up there at some lodge. There was also a local bar that used to have music. good times.

  2. Red State Blue State

    The Brown Footed Loon is one of the most elusive creatures I’ve ever tried to track on the game trails. Not only are they sleek, but they are also exceedingly clever! (except for the Tea Party ones)

    • This is a very simple game...

      Jeff – Tea Party brown footed loons? Oh, you mean the beige footed boobie! It’s a common misidentification, owing to the similar colored feet and all, but once they begin vocalizing, you will find they are easy to differentiate by their calls. The boobie’s calls are much louder and lacking in factual content. 😉

      — Kristen

  3. Michael David

    That is some breath-taking scenery. I definatetley need to take the kids out west so they can experience that part of the country. I’m looking forward to the game pics, too. Stay safe in Oakland.
    ‘Minoring In Baseball’

    • This is a very simple game...

      Mike – It is really pretty on the central coast and not what most people think of when they think California at all. Thanks. Oakland is actually pretty nice in parts though and my friends do not live in the parts that Green Day sings about. 🙂

      — Kristen

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