After taking in the delights of L.A. and following our evening with Liza Minnelli at The Hollywood Bowl, on Saturday we made an early start driving up the Californian coast retracing the journey we'd made almost six years ago.
This time everything wouldn't be so new for us after living in L.A. for the past year and a half and having traveled up scenic Highway 1 before, but we did have a friend with us who was experiencing it all for the first time.
Even though our short vacation would take us to some familiar places and meeting up with some friendly faces, there was one big difference, this time I could drive.
Our journey would take us to Hearst Castle, wine tasting in Carmel Valley and even a boat ride out to Alcatraz in San Francisco, but our first stop was in Santa Barbara to enjoy the ocean view from Stearns Wharf.
It felt weird to be in there without Cooper, who loves the fantastic dog beach at Arroyo Burro. But we knew he was far too busy getting up to lots of mischief with his new dog pals at his holiday home in Burbank.
After a stroll and a snack in Santa Barbara we drove up the coast to Cambria our first overnight stay. We dropped our bags at the Sea Otter Inn and headed for a walk along the ocean to take in the lovely coastal views.
When you live in a bustling city environment, even one as sprawling as L.A., it's always nice to get away from it all and find some much needed peace by the calming ocean.
Whilst we walked alongside Moonstone Beach we were entertained by the local wildlife scampering about the pathway, who popped up once in a while to say hello.
It was lovely to feel the cool coastal breeze after the heat of L.A., especially with all the wildfires raging back there, but even though it was sunny when we arrived in Cambria you could tell that they also get a lot of changeable weather as these windswept trees attest to and with motel names like Fogcatcher's Inn, you know it's not always so perfect.
We even had a taste of the fog the next morning which burned away fairly quickly, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Anyone traveling up the coast needs to realise that places close early in these coastal towns - restaurants, bars, shops, gas stations, you name it. By 10pm it's normally all shut up and like a ghost town.
Luckily we made a delightful discovery courtesy of a recommendation from an old-fashioned guide book (take that internet), a wonderful bistro called The Black Cat.
Not only was the decor and service to our liking (which was great as sometimes these coastal tourist spots can be a bit 'twee'), but the food was interesting too. I enjoyed some pheasant wrapped in pancetta in a parsnip sauce and we all shared a lovely bottle of Zinfandel, from nearby Paso Robles.
Tomorrow I'll share with you our visit to the eclectic Hearst Castle, before our jaunt up along the coast through Big Sur to picturesque seaside town Carmel.
For now I'll leave you with a beautiful Californian sunset in Cambria...