Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Elephant Seals! and silent monks

WOW! Surprise of the day - elephant seals - immense and amazing. Just north of Cambria and San Simeon thousands of them come to mate, fight, give birth, grow blubber, learn how to swim, molt and take off to swim to Alaska and do it all over again. A full grown male elephant seal weighs 5,000 lbs and has a long proboscis  (why they are called elephant seals). These guys are not to be believed. Amazing sights gallumping along the beach headed for the water, 4 flops at a time. They flip sand over themselves to keep cool and protect their skin from the sun. And they nap - a lot - looking like rocks or logs lying on the beach.

Next surprise was the Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, a tip from a lady weeding her field of poppies along the highway. The monks are silent, the road long and winding, and oh so beautiful. Very very high up. Very very gorgeous.

California poppies are reason enough to live in California - all by themselves.

Miles today: 70

Monday, March 30, 2009

Frolic and Detour

What a hoot! Drove today on the very most beautiful road ever on the most beautiful day ever from Paso Robles to Cambria. We took the road less travelled to two wineries and found ourselves in such bucolic bliss. The first winery, Tablas Creek, is a sister to Chateau Beaucastel in Provence where we once visited. It was pure heaven. Next came Justin Vineyards, not quite the same, but worth the ride.  We tried a very rural road on to the coast but were met by an impassable section so we spent a little extra time enjoying the verdant scenery.

A trip to Cambria is not complete without a stop in Harmony, which gets funkier and funnier each time we go there. Population 18. For sale for $1 million a few years back. Nothing there but a pottery shack, glassblower, wedding chapel, and porta-potty (important).

Surprised today by walnut trees not yet in bud on the spring green hills. Depending on the light, they are black or grey or almost lavendar. Wildflowers - our first California poppies of the trip and wild mustard, which surprisingly smelled a bit like curry. Do you know that seagulls land into the wind? Is this true of all birds?

Miles today: 65

Sunday, March 29, 2009

First day on the road . . .

Well, as expected, we got off to a grand start today. Left Long Beach at 3:15 pm after lunch at Aroma di Roma (see photo when we figure out how to download). Our destination for the day was Paso Robles and here we are at the lovely Hotel Cheval, having just left the bar at Villa Creek where we ate and shared winery stories with the Mormon bartender!

Surprised today by: road signs warning us of BEAR crossings! in addition to deer crossings. A Mormon (Jack, as in ex-) bartender in Paso Robles who is extremely knowledgeable about local wineries. Paso Robles is dang cute and Shell Beach is gorgeous (the Best Western looked like a find). 

Life on the road is good!

Miles today: 250

Saturday, March 28, 2009

We begin tomorrow . . .

Patrick and I are embarking tomorrow on a road trip up the coast of California. Surprisingly enough, this is something we have not done together in our 25 years of marriage. Along with new things, we have never had a blog before either. So this is an adventure in both nature and technology.

We have a Flip which allows short videos and if we find our camera before we leave, we may also have photos and film clips of the trip. Already on the blog I have an "error" message and a warning that "Autosave failed." Let's hope my skills improve rapidly.