I mentioned in a post the morning we left on our drive down to Orange County, California, from our home in Northern California, that our route south on Hwy. 5 would be wide open empty fields. I snapped the photo above to have proof positive that this is how much of the drive looks.
We timed our departure coincidentally to arrive at Harris Ranch just in time for lunch; an oasis on Hwy. 5 in a sea of fields, orchards, and crops, but mostly dry fields. There seems to be ongoing debate about water from the north being pumped to the south, but that’s another story.
One smells Harris Ranch before seeing it. It is partly what the name says it is, a ranch. There are at least a couple of miles of cows in pastures before you get to the huge restaurant, gift shop, and hotel. Beautiful place done in a Spanish colonial style. The gift shop has a wonderful bakery and meat market. Cows straight from next door to the meat counter to be shrink wrapped and nicely packaged in dry ice for the trip home to your table. I really thought it poor form to have a BBQ pit in front of the restaurant with a slab of
cow meat roasting. I’m sure the cousins over in the pastures could smell it. Bossy: “what do you think happened to her?”. Bossy’s friend: “I don’t know, but something sure smells good”. Moo! Oh well, my husband had vegetable soup, and I had a chicken salad for lunch.
Fortified, we hit the trail again and got to the Grapevine to begin our ascent over the Tehachapi Mountains along with the water pumped from NorCal to SoCal (see my previous post on water). One of the prettier views is Pyramid Lake before getting to the fringes of L.A.
And then, Hwy. 5 turns in to The 5. All highways in SoCal have the word “The” in front of the number. And this is what The 5 looks like at commute time
I know, you’re thinking look at the open road in the direction you are going in….don’t worry, it soon looked just like the other side, only worse, especially because given the choice between The 5 or The 405, we took The 5 and were doomed to a crawl.
After a rogue move to The 710 we skirted around The 5 mess and headed through Long Beach back to The 405 to Costa Mesa and we were free at last; we had made it to the hotel. A hotel room never looked so good, as did a few blocks walk to South Coast Plaza and dinner at Charlie Palmer.
We were officially in vacation mode.
The Marriott Costa Mesa pool, view from our room.