Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
We spent most of a day along Cannery Row, searching for remnants of the place John Steinbeck wrote about in his novel.
Precious little of it remains. The canneries closed down when the sardines disappeared, and now the row is filled with souvenir shops and restaurants, which would be appalling to Steinbeck. No more stink or grating noise, but the nostalgia and the dream still linger on.
I think John Steinbeck would find this photo op to be a particularly inappropriate way to capture the spirit of the canneries, though we find it to be irresistable in its irreverance.
Watching jellies and sea nettles pulsate to slowly to move through the water is hypnotic--and the best way to watch them is through glass, since close encounters are painful.
On the way back to Seven Gables we climbed down the rocks along the waterside path and searched the tide pools to find a few of the creatures we saw in the artificial tide pools at the aquarium.
|Our favorite tide pool treasure|
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The map has about 20 marked sights of interest along the route, and we stop for them all. Here are our favorites.
Continuing our theme for the day, we are treating ourselves to luxury living—our waterfront room has a wall of windows looking out over Monterey Bay.
Monday, January 9, 2012
We start the day with the Creekside Inn’s complimentary continental breakfast--tasty Italian pastries fresh from the bakery down the street, served with a smile and some great travel tips by the owner who checked us in last night. This is why we love old style family owned motor court motels—timeless treasures of personal care and service.
We take Highway 1 up the coast to Carmel, squiggling up and down the sides of Santa Lucia mountains that crowd the coast most of the way. It takes us eight hours to travel seventy miles, because we can’t resist a scenic view turn-out, and there are many along this stretch of Highway 1, popularly acclaimed as one of the ten most scenic drives in America.
(That's the famous Bixby Bridge in the background. One of the most photographed bridges in America, it was built in 1932, and has appeared in many movies and car commercials since then.)
First we revisit our elephant seals, but you already saw them, so no more pictures. I was worried about the pup that couldn’t figure out how to nurse yesterday, but when I tried to find him today, I realized that the elephant seal females and pups look so similar that I couldn’t identify the pup and his mom in the crowd.
|Ragged Point view|
(The rangers assured us that the rusty red growths on the oceanside trees are a form of algae that does not harm the tree--they have a symbiotic relationship.)
Sunday, January 8, 2012
We begin the day with a visit to Morro Rock, the volcanic peak focal point of Morro Bay. I watch birds, Dick watches waves pounding and frothing on the rocky shore, and we both agree we could stay here for hours more, but we have to get breakfast and drive on to the Hearst Castle, today’s main event.
After our tour of Hearst Castle, we stop just a few miles up the road at a state beach covered with over a thousand grunting, bellowing, squealing elephant seals. These huge creatures—males weigh up to 5,000 pounds and females up to 1,500—return to this beach every year, just as the delicate butterflies we saw yesterday return to their eucalyptus grove. And, just like the butterflies, their life story is an amazing one.
We leave, but we don’t go far--we find a great little family run hotel nearby, and we will go back to visit the seals again tomorrow.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
|Quicksilver Ranch Miniature Horses|
|Rose Parade Miniature Horses|
Friday, January 6, 2012
Houses are perched precariously cliffside in the narrow strip between Route 1 and the ocean, and movie star mansions are perched on the hillsides above.