Monday, July 30, 2012

California Coast

Sunday, July 22 - We did laundry in the morning, but after lunch we caught the ferry to San Francisco.  We got a good look at San Quentin and Alcatraz.  When we arrived, we started walking, but I just couldn't, so we sat and watched people before we returned on the ferry.

Monday, July 23 - We got a call from a fellow LDer, Kate.  She said since we were going through Santa Cruz and that we had to stop for  a visit with her and her husband, Terry.  We first met them at Oliver Lee SP in NM after we ordered KoKo.  We have seen them on previous trips.  They are a very gracious couple.  We stopped for the evening at Henry Cowell Redwood SP.  Kate and Terry came over and we went out to dinner and then they showed us around Santa Cruz.  It is so nice to catch up with friends that you haven't seen in a while.

Tuesday, July 24 - We were going to stop at Elkhorn Slough.  Kate told us about it and the pictures on the internet looked just like a place where we would like to paddle.  After driving several miles to the entrance, we found the gate closed. It’s operated by NOAA and California and they must have important things to do on Monday’s. We continued to Monterey to the Laguna Seca Recreation Area.  This is a lovely place to stay and we have a great view out of our back window.  The only problem is they are holding races this weekend. So we will have to move along.

Sunday my finger on my right hand started hurting.  By Monday, it was painful, swollen and hot.  So I thought I probably had an infection.  My doctor had really scared me about getting an infection on the side where I had lymph nodes removed.  We headed to a "Doc in the Box".  The doctor wasn't sure if it was infected or arthritis.   He gave me pills for both.  Then we went on a search for a grocery store - no luck.  Maybe people in Monterey don't cook.

Wednesday, July 25 - We were up early and continued our grocery store search.  Finally found a Safeway eight miles out of our way.  Now we could have lunch.  We then went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  This is a very interesting place.  I enjoyed the seahorses and the jelly fish.  We also saw two sea otters, so cute.  Also saw  penguins, puffins and several other birds that swim.  It was a very good day and my feet did not hurt after standing for three hours and my finger is getting better!

I took the new camera to the aquarium. It mostly refused to focus through glass. I steamed as every kid took perfect pictures with their iSomething. I tried our phone, but I never got the hang of using it. The Jellies were my fav, Several varieties. This is the only one that came out and it’s not in focus.

If you want to see what we saw go here.

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Unfocused Jellies

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Pretty Fish

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One of the really strange seahorses

Great exhibits, but they let too many people in.  By noon, we could not get close to anything.

Thursday, July 26 – By 7am the race fans were coming in. A triple axle tried to back in a space that had room for a popup. He tried for quite awhile before giving up. The spaces were $350 each for the weekend, but that included admission to the motorcycle races.

We were up and away early to try to snare a place to park tonight. It only took us three hours to drive 45 miles. There are lots of turnouts and pictures to be taken. Besides, I thought the road was good for 45, even tho it’s posted for 55. Why people drive a scenic road at high-speed is beyond me. Hwy 1 is certainly not a short cut to anywhere.

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We got to Kirk Creek at 11 and the full sign was out. I was going to ask the camp host about other places when a Cruise America exited. I said “Did you just have an opening?” He said the woman had reservations but left early, so we could have the place. It’s one of the best sites. Right on the cliff. It reminds us of Tillicum Beach in Oregon.

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In the afternoon, we drove the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road which starts near the CG. It goes over the coast range to US101. It’s one-and-half lanes wide and is a typical California mountain road. It climbs steeply from sea level to 2,800 feet at  the saddle. The taller peaks are at 3,600. You have a great view all the way to Hawaii. Regrettably this afternoon, it was overcast and not photogenic.

We saw several dispersed sites on the road. The one at 1,475 feet suited us just fine and we might just park up there.

Friday, July 27 – The sun was out and the marine layer was lifting by 9am. It was a glorious day on the Pacific coast.

After all the activity of the last week, we needed to veg and this seemed like the place. We lazed around until after our nap. Then we drove south to the San Louis Obispo county line, about 20 miles south of Kirk Creek. We stopped at most of the turnouts and took pictures. The last stop was the best.

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Saturday, July 28 – I was reading our friends Blog, Life’s Little Adventures, and realized they have all the signs of obsessive behavior. They live to hike. Now they are hiking jeep trails in the San Juan mountains. Insane! We know others just like them. Two/three hikes a week, fine, but everyday - that is over the line. I wonder if there is a help group for such?

At 7 this morning, the marine layer was all around us. Gray in every direction. By 9, it was lifting and sun beams came through. By 11, it was a fine day. After nap, we drove north and made several stops. At the last one we got this shot. Waterfall, secluded beach – it has it all.

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Staying here for a few days accomplished our goal of getting familiar with the area.

The family in the C-Class across from us has provided lots of entertainment. Perhaps it’s their first trip in it. He can not drive. Their site is not level. The jacks do not provide much lift. He woke us from our nap shoveling. Considering that the entire coast is metamorphic rock (granite) his digging efforts were not all that successful. He did get down about 2 inches and that provided a hole for the left rear wheels. The rock excavated was for the right front wheel, but he never was able to get the front tire on the mound. It took 40 minutes of backing before he called it a day. PS, He did this at 6PM and they moved to another site the next morning.

Sunday, July 29 – We made the long long drive to Morro Bay on the narrow windy Cabrillo Highway in about 90 minutes counting a stop to watch the Sea Lions.

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We have really enjoyed the weather the last few weeks on the coast. Pleasant during the day and cool enough for great sleeping in the evening. We will miss it when we head east.

We are at Morro Bay SP. As state parks go this one will not get any stars from us. Not scenic, the ground would be bare but for the leaves from the trees. And crowded. No privacy. A short tour of Morro Bay reveals a tourist town in rapid decline. Or maybe it never was much to start with.

We will paddle the bay, but I think we will move to another place. $35 for no-hookups is steep. Yes, we know the state is broke.

At 6PM the site next to us, 10 feet away, started a paper fire. Wonderful smoke and smell. We will be moving.

California is a beautiful state, but there's just too many people and it's too expensive.  I don't see how they afford it.  Our time at Kirk Creek CG was just great!  It reminded us of Tillicum Beach CG in Oregon, which is one of our favorites.  But the State Parks are extremely expensive and the sites are extremely close together.  Even a normal conversation can be heard by campers on either side.  Our LD is very well insulated, so we can usually close the windows to block out the noise.  But with people being so close to you, it's impossible to block out all the noise. 

Monday, July 30 – We drove out to Montana de Oro SP, nice, but it was full. So we moved to Morro Strand SP. It’s the same price, $32, but it’s on the beach and not as crowded. Just a parking lot with faint lines marking off spaces.

The fog did not burn off, so we essentially paid $32 to stay wash our clothes. East bound in the morning. 

1 comment:

  1. Too bad the CA coast is so expensive and crowded. It looks beautiful from your pictures.
    We would much rather hike up a jeep road than ride up in a vehicle. Just crazy, I guess!