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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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October 28, 2013

Sunday and the Pacific Coast Highway!

I took 80-some pictures today and am actually kind of surprised it wasn't more. I seemed to stop about every 3 miles for another spectacular view, although usually I was kind of past the perfect view by the time I came to a pull-off spot.  But I took pictures anyway.  And it was quite foggy and overcast a good portion of the day, but I took pictures anyway.  And I seemed to end up with a fair amount of blurry pictures, but that's okay, I'll post some of them anyway.

There's not a whole lot to report for the day except it was pretty spectacular.  Even with the fog and no sun, the views were just as glorious as I had hoped they would be.  And there are many spots to pull over, the road is in good shape and a lot of the time is four lanes but even when two lanes is not too heavily traveled.  I left the motel in Cambria right at 11:00 and got to the motel in Santa Cruz at about 6:30 I think so I drove a distance of 164 miles in 7-1/2 hours!  All I can say is if you ever vacation in California, do more than go to Disney Land - drive at least some distance on the coastal highway.  It's truly wonderful.  I picked up several little brochures and such as I rode along and the most informative one was like a small newspaper with all the articles being about Big Sur which is a large portion of what the highway traverses.  A closing quote to their article about article about Big Sur reads: "Highway 1 (the coastal highway) through Big Sur is a designated American Natiqonal Scenic Byway and a California Scenic Highway, an honor reserved for highways that are so distinctive they are destinations unto themselves."  I liked that cause it sure was a major destination for me and I'm really glad I made it. :) 

Incidentally, speaking of Big Sur, I always thought it was basically a town where all the beatniks once lived but found out that it is an area and a big one.  You travel through it for 90 miles on the coastal highway and it is gorgeous, gorgeous country.

And that's about it.  I'm going to post all the pictures I chose and if I see one that reminds me of something I wanted to say about it, I'll say it but mostly it will be pictures and mostly all looking pretty much the same - ocean or hills.

The first five I took at my first stop - the Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay.  Really pleasant stop and very informative.

A little blurry but one good looking bird, right?
I used a tripod on this but it was just too much zoom.  But this is as close as I got to the Hearst Castle that everyone asks am I going to visit.  I didn't...just really didn't have any desire to. This was a trip about good food, wine, ocean and redwoods.

The next three are from the elephant seal viewing area near Piedras Blancas Lighthouse and one of two major breeding, "pupping" and resting sites for the seals.  They're really not dead but it sure looks that way until you see some of them moving.  And the ones out in the water (the small black dots mostly) are busy playing.

 Shouldn't this maybe say "seals"???

 I'm wondering if all these big chunks (and there are a lot of them) are volcano plugs like the huge one at Morro Bay.  And I'm pretty sure most of them are almost completely white because of their avian visitors.
This is the SUV of a guy and his wife I talked to at a pull-off stop.  As they got ready to leave he said "see that dirt road going up there?", pointing across the street.  And I did see a somewhat defined path.  He said that they like to go up roads like that and explore places you can't easily get to in most vehicles.  The road looked to me like it would slide away under the weight of a vehicle but off they went and as you can see they made it pretty much to the top.  (2 more zoomed in and blurry pictures)

And finally - some blue sky, sunshine and WAVES...I was puzzled that for a lot of the trip, there were beautiful views, but there just weren't waves, the water was quite quiet.  I thought there were always waves with an ocean.

 This is the first of a bunch that will have you thinking that's the same picture and it pretty much will be but it was so beautiful and I'd move two steps from where I was and just have to take another one.  With this view, you might notice a couple of dark places on the face of the rock down by the water.  Those are little (or maybe big, who knows?) caves.

 And I was so busy pointing my camera toward the view in one direction, I almost missed this delightful underpass.
 There's a good one of the caves...
 This is the Bixby bridge, built in 1932 and I had just driven across it when I stopped at this pull-off.

 You can see a bit of a house in the trees...
And this is their backyard!  Can you imagine living there???

And I really felt like I took more pictures after this, but this is the last one in the camera so I guess not.  And actually, looking at my map of the highway, I see the Bixby Bridge was pretty much the last landmark type thing.  I took Rt. 1/the Coastal Highway all the way here to Santa Cruz, but it switched back and forth from seeing the ocean to being more inland.  I did get off to see if I wanted to explore Carmel-by-the-Sea cause I like the name, but it was getting darkish and I suddenly didn't feel like trying to find somewhere to maybe get a cup of tea so I got back on the road and headed toward "home".  Had a nice dinner at the Firefish Grill on the Santa Cruz wharf with a delicious pinot noir wine from Sonoma and the winery was one that Heather and I incredibly enough had not visited! :)

Came back and rearranged my packing for about the 87th time so am all set for tomorrow.  It was doing a light rain tonight when I came out of dinner so I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring.  Hopefully if it's raining there will be at least some kind of road I could drive on through Big Basin State Park and see some redwoods from the car. 

So, good night from a very contented ocean watcher.


Christopher said...

I like that beach view through the grassheads. And that Bixby Bridge is one I want to visit -- I think there are several impressive bridges on PCH. Hope you get to see redwoods -- looking forward to seeing you this week!

Mary Lynne said...

Yes, I went over two other very similar bridges and noticed on one of them there was a sign that it was also a "historic bridge" and was built in 1932 so I suppose that's the case with the third one too. I think the Bixby is more well known cause it's probably the best photo op of the three. There's a nice big pull off space and the view is just gorgeous either way you look.

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