Friday, June 13, 2014

Wednesday and Thursday in California

After a brief visit with Laura and Matt in American Canyon, Terry and I made our way down to the Oakland Bay Bridge, through the southern end of San Francisco and back on to CA-1 on the coast. We drove through Half Moon Bay (former home of Terry's sister and her family and home to The Mavericks, an annual surfing competition) and made our first stop at Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Brandt's Cormorant
(The water wasn't quite that color, but close.) 

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Pigeon Guillemont

Harbor Seal doing some body surfing

Harbor Seals on the rocks

Kelp on the rocks. Look like truffula trees from The Lorax

The wind was really howling out on the point and it was a very chill 55 degrees. I was glad I left my hat in the truck, however, or it would have been blown away.Sometimes, Mostly in the winter months, you can see gray whales out at sea. A few stay around during the summer, but the wind makes it difficult to see their spew when they breath.

We drove on. South along the coast to Santa Cruz, and past Monterey Bay. The scenery continued to be magnificent but the road required a lot of attention as the switchbacks and tight turns were matched by a steep drop on the ocean side. And yet there were houses down there!

When we got down to some flatter ground, just past Big Sur, we stopped at the second place (the first was crowded and touristy) for lunch.

The Roadhouse did look like much from the outside and it had a very small parking lot that was mostly empty but it held the promise of food in a quiet atmosphere. It more than delivered. There were just two couples there on the patio when we arrived at noon. No one was inside in a craftsman style dining room awash with 40s and 50s big band and crooner music. (Satchmo, Tommy James, Bing, Peggy Lee...what's not to like!) They had a limited menu which usually means the chef knows what he/she's best at and does it well. We both jumped at the chance of a bowl of gumbo and it was excellent. So were the coconut upside down cake and panna cotta. If you're ever driving along the coast I would highly recommend you stop at the Big Sur Roadhouse.

Refreshed and ready to continue, we drove on south. Realizing we were going to be getting into Anaheim very late, Terry tried to call ahead for reservations but the phone service was non-existant. As I drove, she kept an eye on the bars on her phone. We waved at the Hearst Castle as we went by and still had just one bar...sometimes.

She finally reported that she had a steady two and even three bars so I pulled into a huge parking lot labeled "Sea Elephant Vista" along with another hundred vehicles. While she made her phone calls, I went out to see what all the fuss was about.

The largest sea elephant rookery on the coast is what it was about. And the juvenile males were hauled out on the beach sunning themselves and molting. These were the youngsters weighing "only" 6-800 pounds or so. The big ones were--going up to a ton--were still out to sea gorging themselves. And the females were up near the Aleutian Islands doing the same. They would return in late summer and fall to reclaim the beach from the "teenagers." (Not much different than the human population when you think about it.)

Hundreds of elephant seals on the beach

A couple of males argue over a place on the beach

No one seems impressed with his sales pitch

This was our last stop of the day as we again headed inland to pick up US-101 and deadhead through Los Angeles (horrible traffic even at 7 PM) and on to Anaheim and our motel just two blocks from Disneyland and a block from Jess' apartment.

We delivered our "presents" to Jess on Thursday and it was like Christmas. She "oohed" and "aahed" over the stuff we had brought--as did her roommate, Shandi. After she had gone through all the yarn, knitting books, electronics (some collectors items there!), DVDs (movies and games) and miscellany, we went out to Bubba Gumps for lunch. And it was good.

Jess went off to work and Terry and I went back to the motel to veg in the hot tub spa for an hour or so.

1 comment:

Rev. Paul said...

Sounds like a great trip!