Man... Ummm. Where do I begin on this one?

Again, we followed our theme of last minute trips. After Brett got back from his conference in Phoenix, he had a renewed desire/passion and knowledge about nutrition and supplementation. We have both been on this Ketogenic diet and he strongly suggested his business partner, Mark Jones, to do that same. Mark is a pretty busy guy, and as such, Brett volunteered to order and arrange all his new supplementation as well as provide a meal plan and show him a new workout schedule... the catch: we both got to come out and do it in person. He agreed.

Really, it was quite amazing. Our plane and hotel were paid for. He even allowed us to use his extra vehicles... which I'll get into later.

Brett had a full day of filming down at his studio. With very little time to spare, he made it home and we were off for the airport parking. After parking the car and shuttling over we reached the main MSP terminal. And... the thing I was looking forward to? FIRST CLASS! Yes, that is right. For the first time in my life I got to be in first class. This little perk also included having sky priority boarding and TSA checkpoint. I've never gotten through the airport so quickly in my life. Brett and my seats were not next to each other in first class. After a bit of finagling, we were both able to sit next to each other. 3A and 3B.

A drink before take off? Why, yes please! Oh I get a pillow and blanket. Okay. A hot towel followed by a full meal with real silverware and glass ( including mini salt and pepper shakers)... you betchya! More free awesome snacks and drinks... Yup and Yup. TV screen just for me... even better.

Overall, it was a great first-class experience. After supper, we experienced some turbulence and when I looked outside I saw an amazing show of lightening. I tried to take a picture/video but it just wouldn't capture it. We were not over the lightening but rather we were flying parallel. Really, nature is awesome. There is something so beautiful and so frightening about the force of nature. I could see the storm for miles and miles and it seemed relentless. Countless lightening bolts joined together and struck the same piece of ground numerous times. I think it is something I could never tire of watching.

12:45am. SOOOO tired.

We landed and were off to the baggage claim. Mark was flying in from Philadelphia and would land about 40 minutes after us. We collected our bags and waited down by the carousel. It was about 1am our time and we were completely exhausted. Mark finally joined us and we made our way to his car parked in the ramp. It was a short jaunt over to the hotel room that Mark had booked for us all. It was a late night before Brett and I finally fell asleep. Rising decently early, we showered and met Mark in the lobby at 8:30am to embark on the 3.5 hour drive north to San Luis Obispo.

The drive was not awful. The only part that was not ideal was the fact that it was Shabbat and so we couldn't stop and get food or coffee. We had packed pouches of protien and some walnuts to munch on but, to me at least, it is not the same as solid food. As we drove, Mark and Brett caught up on old times and I spent most my time starring out the window. The landscape was actually quite different than I had expected. I have been to California a number of times. Usually though, to the bigger cities. I am not a fan of Los Angelas and although San Fransisco has some unique and fun things, it is an expensive, crammed city. San Luis Obispo lies directly in the middle of both of these cities: four hours from each. I was surprised to see the rolling and rocky hills covered in lush green grass and bright yellow flowers. When the coast appeared, large waves crashed into the white sand beaches. It was very beautiful. I must say that California has very diverse landscapes. From the heavily wooded areas of the Red Woods (I have yet to explore these), to the coastal cliffs by San Fransisco, to the rolling hills of Ventera County...

We finally reached Marks residence around noon. Mark had some previous commitments and so Brett and I had started unloaded the boxes of supplements that Brett had pre-ordered.

the beginning...

I think it was around 4:30pm when we decided to wrap up the whole supplement gig. It was a slow process and we we maybe only half way done. Mark was back from his engagement and we had decided that we were going to check into our hotel. Mark allowed us to take his Cadillac SUV. We drove about 10 miles west until we hit the coastal town of Pismo. Out hotel, which Mark was also generous enough to book for us, was the Sandcastle hotel and it was located right on the beach!

We were blessed enough to get an ocean-side room on the third floor! That way we could enjoy the beauty of the ocean with out worrying about wanderers meandering past our window during the night/day. We decided to drop off our bags, change into some shorts, and explore the beach. Even though the sun was out and the temperature was in the high sixties, the wind blowing over the pacific ocean dropped the temperature at least 15 degrees. I was actually pretty cold and my choice to wear a tangtop and shorts was not the best idea... plus, once I tested out the water with my feet, I was not able to get warm for the remaining of the walk.

We walked all the way to the end of the beach where we met up with 50ft white sandrock cliffs. We were about a mile from the hotel and we stayed and explored the area of the beach before making our way back. We both changed into some warmer clothes and walked down the pier where we were going to meet up with Mark for dinner. He had fallen asleep and ended up meeting us a half hour after our agreed upon time.

Toured the pier while we waited for Mark.

We could hear the roar of his car before we actually see it: silver exterior with a hot red interior Maserati Granturismo Sport. After he parked the car and we walked around the restaurants, we decided that it just didn't have what we were really craving: fish tacos. We all piled into his Mazerati and drove around Pismo Beach. We were there over Easter weekend and even though we do not celebrate this time, the town was filled with vacationers who did. Thus, every restaurant had a 1.5 hour wait. In the end, we both drove separately and met Mark at his golf course country club. We all enjoyed these amazing tuna fish taco appetizers. Both Brett and Mark had their prime rib and I had their grouper. We were the only ones left in the club and the employees were actually tearing down the tables and chairs around us for the next mornings holiday brunch. As a compensation for having the restaurant in shambles as we ate, they provided free dessert and coffee: which was delicious.

Artsy Elevator Shot

After supper, we rolled back to the hotel and fell asleep to the sound of the ocean through our open glass door. I woke early, around 5am and sat outside on the deck for a few hours. It was interesting being up before anyone else. Occasionally, you would see a dark figure stride across the beach, almost blending in with the black waves. Sometimes I would hear the scuffle of feet as they scrape across the sand on the boardwalk as people ran past on their early morning runs. I fought off sleep as I watched the sun rise. The sun was coming from behind me, so it wasn't an epic sunrise, but it was, however, peaceful. Couples started emerging with their coffees and bakery goods and plopped down along the boardwalk to watch the waves. Surfers braved the cold water and started paddling out to get past the last wave crests. Mothers and children started picking through the shells that washed up during night. Finally, unable to handle the cold morning air any longer, I returned inside and took a hot shower.

Our plan was to meet up with Mark at 10am at his gated community work-out facility. That morning, Brett and I had a small scuffle and as such, I wasn't really in the mood to go out to breakfast, as we had previously planned. We did however still go out to grab something to eat.. and it was awful. Brett got their tri-tip steak and eggs and I tried their salmon fish tacos (I know, a bit early for fish tacos but they served them all day so why not?!?). Brett's steak looked under-cooked and tasteless and my fish taco tasted like tofu soaked in fish juice. I ate one bite of it. The waitress gave me some scrambled eggs for free since I didn't like the tacos. Even those, I thought, were less than desirous.

After leaving the restaurant, we met up with Mark. As Brett and Mark spent the next two hours going over workouts and proper techniques, I spent the time sitting outside, above the tennis courts, reading my book. I was so exhausted from waking up so early, that I actually fell asleep on the lawn chair and ended up drooling on my shoulder... attractive I know.

Brett & Mark after their workout

It was noon when Mark and Brett had finished. We both wanted to take Mark out for lunch to thank him for his generous hospitality. Mark thought it best to redeem Brett's impression of Tri-Tip and suggested a local BBQ place.

The line was out the door by at least twenty people and in the door by another twenty. Thankfully, Mark knew that if we went all the way inside and bypassed the wait line, we could seat ourselves and get served right away. We all ordered their Tri-Tip BBQ sandwich with a basket of fries and onion rings to share. Our food arrived in about 5 minutes which was so incredible quick.

The sandwich was amazing. The beef was perfectly tender with the right amount of BBQ sauce. The bun was toasted in butter and garlic. Both the guys demolished their sandwiches. The only thing that prevented me from doing the same, was the fact that the meat, overall, was pretty fatty. Since I am pretty picky about my meats, it proved challenging to get past the fact that it did have so much fat. Regardless it was delicious. In fact, Brett said it was the best BBQ sandwich he has ever had!

From there, we walked the streets of San Luis Obispo. It is the perfect mix of old and new. The city was so quaint with its brick-laid streets and old architecture store-fronts mixed with modern interiors. On our way back to the car, we stopped at this hole-in-the-wall cookie shop where we all got ice cream cookie sandwiches... YUM! We were not doing so well on our keto diet (oh well).

We all drove back to Marks place where I sat outside and continued to read my book. The guys were going over Marks nutrition plan for the next couple months. When they were finished, Mark had to attend a holiday dinner at his daughters house and so Brett and I returned to our hotel where we packaged up the rest of Marks vitamins and supplements. Mark was going to stop by our hotel to pick up the packets but we were not sure when that would be.

After a couple hour dispute, we ended up waiting till around 8pm for him and then decided to go out and grab some dinner. As usual, we find ourselves in a poor-dining situation... it's Sunday night at 8:30. 95% of all restaurants are closed or are closing. We ended up grabbing some fish tacos to-go along with an order of Wisconsin cheese curds and chicken strips/fries. Our eyes were much bigger then our appetites and we barely ate half of what we ordered. Thankfully, we had a mini fridge in our hotel room where we could stow the leftovers. Mark ended up coming around 9:30p.m. I finished up packing up the packets as Brett explained the regiment and when to take what packet on what day. We all said goodbye to him, as this was the last time we would see him before he had to unexpectedly fly to Vegas... and when I mean fly, I mean fly the private airplane himself. After we had booked our trip out the California, Marks kids decided they were going to go on a family vacation and the only way for Mark to join was to leave on Monday... a full day before we were intending to leave. Brett walked Mark down to the parking lot where they exchanged cars... that's right. They exchanged cars. We exchanged the 2016 Cadillac Escalade with... his Maserati Convertible Granturismo Sport.

We called it an early night. We were both exhausted.

A rainy Monday morning.

We awoke around 7am. It was rainy and cold. Brett had a meeting with Mark's personal trainer to help loop her into some of the new implementations that Mark should be doing. We darted to the Maserati, fired her up and started off towards San Luis Obispo. We met at this coffee shop called the Black Horse. I ordered a latte and Brett got an iced Americano with a shot of espresso and filled to the brim with half & half. I know that whole milk still has a butt load of carbs (naughty) but it tasted sooo good. In fact, I don't know if I was just coffee deprived or if it really tasted that good, but it was delectable. We both were in love with our drinks. I read for the next 1.5 hours next to this cozy fireplace as Brett and Marks over-enthusiastic trainer chatted.

After we finished up at the coffee shop we decided to drive up HWY 1 to the Hearst castle. It was something that I had researched before leaving on the trip. I knew the tickets would be a bit spendy, but I thought it would be a fun thing to do on a rainy day... As we were driving we ended up coming to a small beach town called Morrow Bay. By this time the beautiful hazzy fog had settled over the coast and the city. We rolled up to a state park beach access and parked the car. The sand was dampand the air was heavy with thick condensation.

It was starting to sprinkle now. The beach was almost deserted except for a lone family whose children were prancing along the shore. While we were there, I looked down and saw beautiful, round sand-dollars just screaming to be picked up! I selected a few, as these were the only things that were really souvenirs from the trip, and they would fit nicely with the ones I had chosen from Sanibel a year earlier. After about 15 minutes of taking photos and videos, we returned to the car. This is where Brett saw a snail in the grass. I don't know why, but I find snails soooo cute. I just had to pick it up.... mmmm. After a little photo op with the snail, I put him back, we cleaned off our feet and took off down HWY 1.

Right after Morrow Bay, there is a small town called Cayucos. When we were eating at Marks country club, the manager was talking about some awesome smoked fish tacos that he had in a small town up HWY 1. I had a hard time remembering then name of the town, but I thought it had to Cayucos. By this time, Brett was very hangry and we had to stop otherwise something bad was going to happen... After some negotiation, we passed the first little restaurant we spotted and continued on towards the center of town (which so happen to be along the coast). It was here that we saw a sign for 'Smoked Fish'. It was a small, run-down, hole-in-the-wall place right off the deserted pier called the Smoke House. They opened at 11am (it was 10:50am) and so we walked down the road to a local gas station to buy some water. By the time we got back (about 10 minutes later) there was a line of about 8 people lined out the door. We waited patiently. when it was our turn, we ordered two smoked ahi tuna tacos and two smoked salmon tacos. The clerk, while he was ringing up our order, suggested that we also visit the famous cookie shop across the street to get some dessert. While our order was being prepared, we took his advice and walked over to Brown Butter Cookie Company.

nom nom nom

We returned to the SmokeHouse and waited a few minutes to get our order. We parked the car by the pier and ate our food inside, as it was still cold and misty out. The tacos were delicious. It was layered with smoked fish, lettuce, apples, carrots, celery, tomatoes and a special sauce. It was fresh, light and oddly tasty. Again, Brett said they were the best fish tacos he has eaten. I guess there was two successful meals on this trip so far.

We continued on down HWY 1.

When we got to the visitor lodge, at the bottom of the castle hill, we unfortunately had a 2.5 hour delay. Once the delay had ended, we purchased our tickets. There was four tours to choose from and we choose the library and bedroom tour. We waited outside on stone benches as our tour bus pulled up to our location. We boarded and then began the audio-guided tour up the hill. Even though the fog was dense and we could barely see past a couple hundred feet, the landscape was still breathtaking. I have never been to Ireland, but I imagine it would be no more beautiful than this. The grass was almost a deep neon green, the mist hugged the beautiful, lush trees. The winding and steep road wrapped around the massive, tall hill. As we approached the castle, a mile long pergola started spanning the hillside by the road. Orange trees and apple trees were planted next to the pergola and the audio tour once said that lush grape vines use to stretch along the wooden beams. As we continued to drive, the tour stated that visitors, back in Hearst's time, would see zebras, giraffes and other animals roaming freely on the hills. We finally reached the castle. At first, I couldn't see it. The mist shrouded it from my view. But as we stepped off the bus, I could see the massive foundation of the stone castle and the marvelous stairs that led up to the multiple entrances.

Really, words cannot describe the grandeur of the place. We toured the bedrooms of the main house as well as the extensive libraries. The collection of million dollar vases, jewels, gems, priceless books, ancient paintings and sculptures, imported hand carved/painted ceilings and floors... the list goes on and is around 5.5 billion dollars of overall collective worth. After touring just a fraction of the castle (hence the four tours... this way they can get more money out of you), we were allowed to tour the beautiful, and seemingly endless, grounds. This was probably the most magical place for me. Endless, elaborate staircases that led to guest homes, gardens, fountains, massive pools, tennis courts... the list goes on and on. The layout and care of the outside was just as meticulous and crafted as the interior. We were not able to see the coast or the surrounding hills, but the tour guides assured us that the views were breathtaking no mater which way you looked. The air was crisp and fresh. Everything about the gardens was peaceful and sad. To think that some man was so desperate to impress that he had to create this to feel fulfilled. What an empty man he must have been. I barely took pictures, however i did try and capture as much as I could in video.

After a couple hours there, we took the tour bus down the winding hill and landed back at visitor center. We were told that there was a winery at the bottom of the hill with wine created from local grapes from the estate. However, when we got to the bottom, everything appeared to be closed. We jumped in the car and drove back towards HWY 1. We spotted the stretch of beach/land that the Hearst himself had donated to be a protected state park. There was a massive white pier that stretched out into the water and appeared to get lost in the mist. We pulled over and walked the pier, listening as the massive waves crashed into shore. After a long while, I was able to take a spin in the Maserati. It took me a bit to feel comfortable and confident to push the pedal down and let the car do what it was intended to do: conquer.

We passed a taco place near Morrow Bay. It was fast approaching sunset, another High Sahhabt, and we needed to find food quickly. We turned the car around and ate at a placed called Taco Temple. It was an impulse stop and it payed off well! The offering were delicious and utterly massive! Seriously. And the food was good.

After we ate, and took the other half in a to-go box, we stopped at the grocery store next door to get some snacks for the plane ride the next day. We also loaded up on some vitamin-C packets as we were both worn down, had low-energy and were exposed to the cold damp elements all day.

The drive home was uneventful. So was that night and the next morning. We dropped the car off at Mark's place, Ubered to the airport a few miles away and then spend the rest of the day traveling home. We were both exhausted.

Another trip in the books! Check out the awesome video! :)

Created By
Laura Johnston

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