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  • Writer's pictureMarilyn Gardner Woods

Random reflection on a recent very cool road trip!

After multiple crunch time plane excursions, the idea of getting in an automobile and traveling north from San Diego had great appeal.

The 900+ mile odyssey did not disappoint.




Pull off the road at a scenic viewpoint.

Drive some more.

Stop for the night.


Five days in a row.


Highlights, mostly in order:

  • Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena where the featured exhibition was Picasso Ingress: Face to Face providing a spectacular opportunity exploring Picasso’s long-standing fascination with Ingres and the generative process that resulted from his confrontation with a celebrated work of art.

Oh yeah – you need to see it in person, but go before it closes Jan. 30!

  • And if that wasn’t a grand enough pairing, at the next stop, two more giants! American artist Kehinde Wiley, A Portrait of a Young Gentleman, lives at the Huntington Library across from Thomas Gainsborough’s iconic painting The Blue Boy (ca. 1770). An unbelievable chance to view these two masterpieces! You know Wiley best for Obama’s portrait.

Road trip wasn’t all about art…

Great food:

  • bourbon and brussel sprouts in Burbank,

  • oysters in Ojai,

  • chili at the Cowgirl Café in Paso Robles (loved the barbwire fence painted all over the walls!),

  • pastries with almond, apricot, raspberry and custard fillings in Solvang,

  • and my first ever In and Out Cheeseburger – at 11am, no less!

A smattering of television:

  • couldn’t miss the Kansas City game. What a stud is Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech alum!) to finish and win the game after an excruciating ankle injury!

  • and a movie with room service - Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Favorite winery without a doubtBooker Vineyards in Paso Robles. If you’re ever in the neighborhood…extraordinary vineyard, tasting room, staff, and scenery. Plus, great wines!

Endless hikes and walks in nature – unbelievable expanses of the greenest from the recent rains, Ventura boardwalk,Ventura botanical gardens, (Red Tail Hawk over head!) Los Padres National Forest, Channel Islands, Pacific Ocean to the west, snow-capped mountains to the east.

California is an amazing state!

Y'all come!

Five days. Nine hundred miles of exhilarating experiences. And friends.

And yet, how nice it is to come home.

I crawled in bed and watched an astonishing performance by Andrea Riseborough, an amazing actress nominated for an Oscar this year. I cannot recommend this movie – To Leslie - strongly enough!

That it’s set in West Texas is added bonus!

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