Ah, back to the coast! Jean had read that there were lots of sea lions to be seen in Moss Landing, so we went there. It is an interesting little fishing town, but, alas, no sea lions. Someone there suggested Monterey, so we were off again.
There is lots to see and do in Monterey, but Gene wanted to skip most of it and head for Pt Lobos. Still, we went in to town in search of sea mammals. We lucked out and found parking some distance from the madding crowd.
A stroll along the shore gave us a glimpse of some harbor seals.
Then a hawk (what kind is it?) flew in and perched on the fence right next to us. Pretty blase about humans.
It was cold by the water, but walking in to Cannery Row got us out of the wind and into the sun. Jean did a little shopping, and we stopped at the "oldest historical eating place in Cannery Row" for some lunch. It took a while to get service, and when we did we ordered sandwiches. They turned out to be very large and served on sourdough, along with fries and cole slaw. Neither of us could finish ours. Looks like a light supper tonight.
Outside the restaurant was a bay overlook, and there just offshore was a sea otter relaxing and grooming himself. Just what we wanted. What luck, parking and sea otters!
Pacific Grove, next to Monterey, is a wintering place for monarch
butterflies (we thought they only wintered in Mexico) but that doesn't happen until October. So we headed for the famous Seventeen Mile Drive. We found it and also found it is a private road and it cost us $9.75 to drive on it. The road is bordered by fancy houses, some absolutely palatial. But the real interest is the scenery. Much of it is along the coast, with the ocean on one side and golf courses on the other. So this is how the other 8% lives.
We drove right in to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a very artsy community. Gene knew one of the more famous local artists years ago, the late Geza St. Galy, who worked in tiles and mosaics. Originally from Hungary, he moved to California from New York, he claimed, to avoid having to buy winter clothes.
Outside Carmel is Pt. Lobos Nature Reserve. Years ago, Gene went there with Geza and took some pictures of a wind-twisted Monterey cypress there. We wanted to see if it was still there, and take some more pictures. But they don't allow dogs, not even in cars; and it would cost $20 even if they did. So we pressed on.
California 1 is a very scenic drive, with dramatic views of the coast. The passenger can enjoy them, the driver had better focus his attention on the road if he doesn't want to become part of the scenery. The road is very twisty and the drop to the ocean is frequently long.
We have enjoyed a leisurely drive down the coast, but in a couple of days we will have to plunge into the madness that is El Pueblo Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula (to give it its orginal name).