As some of you know, I recently had a nasty little surprise when I decided to be a responsible homeowner and have our septic tank proactively pumped. The crew discovered the 45-year-old concrete tank was cracked and full of tree roots and had to be replaced. A few-hundred-dollar job instantly morphed into many, many thousands. I cried a little, sighed a little, forked over my deposit, and waited.
After four months, I started pestering the company and was told they were out of tanks but expected a shipment the following week. They would call to make an appointment. When the phone rang at 7:55 AM five days later, I thought they were ready to schedule. Oh, no. They would be there in an hour. Yikes! OG and I took very speedy showers and stuffed down our breakfast. Once they started digging, all the plumbing would be off-limits for the duration of the day until the new tank was installed, so we decided to take a road trip.
After a brief debate re: north vs. south, we hopped into the car and headed south down scenic Highway 1 toward Big Sur. Our plan was to have lunch at the iconic Nepenthe Restaurant. We'd driven by, but never stopped there, and it's been on my bucket list for years.
A plus to this plan was that I'm setting my next series, tentatively subtitled Cypress Coast Mysteries, in and around coastal Monterey County. Setting is very important to me, so I grabbed my camera to take a few location shots to remind me of the details. The drive took us across grassy meadows that sloped into the sea and through towering redwood forests. This photo marks the entrance to Los Padres National Forest.
In the first book, Second Wind, the heroine is a kinetic sculptor who lives next to the family's vegetarian restaurant in Big Sur. I had long thought Nepenthe would make the perfect prototype, and was I ever right! It's a glass and redwood structure situated on an oak-studded cliff with stunning views down the coast. Here's the view from our table.
On the way back, I managed to get a great shot of the iconic Bixby Bridge. Amazingly, it's almost the exact view I've been planning to use for the cover. Here's my photo:
And here's the stock photo for the cover:
Any way you look at it, it was a great way to spend what would otherwise have been a very stressful day.