The decision was made: a stop at Post Ranch Inn was in order.
It's really not a resort that welcomes the road weary unless you're planning to check in. There's a guard station which monitors the road up the hill to the property, and the gentleman on duty was ready for my usual ploy "Can I just pop up, I'd like to pick up a brochure," I said, and when he smoothly handed over one, I was left flummoxed. He said something about calling ahead if we wanted to take a look around. "Is there a place we can get a drink," my travel companion wisely asked.
The truth. Why hadn't I considered that? The gates opened.
The view -- plunging cliffs, blue sky, turquoise sea -- is oft described as "drop dead", but I advise raising a toast to it instead. The view from the patio is what you see above. (Imagine it from the guest rooms on the cliff!) The cocktail menu is creative: I was tempted by the "Black Rose", which is Johnnie Walker Black, jasmine liqueur and vermouth; although I'm actually far more of a gin girl, and so the "Soul Flour", with DH Krahn gin, elderberry liqueur, grapefruit juice and absinthe was also tempting.
But there were more miles to cover before I rested, so I went with a glass of wine -- from California, of course. My pour was more generous than my friend's, since I was finishing the bottle. The bartender advised me to sip down the difference before my friend returned from the restroom, so that we might maintain cordial relations for the rest of our trip. That's the kind of barkeep I'll raise my glass to any day.