4/30 Thursday - Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Pigeon Point Lighthouse. The year on the building is 1871.

Stopping here was a nice break in the short drive from Monterey to Pacifica (south of San Francisco). Beautiful day, except for a chill wind off the water, though I was protected from its bite while sitting on the bench engulfed by geraniums. The water in the cove is as clear as tap water.


Wednesday, 4/29 Monterey Bay bike ride

We rode onto the Monterey fishing wharf, and spent time watching seals fling skates (fish, not roller/ice) breaking them apart to eat, with gulls and pelicans ever ready. Gad, what sport! One of the fishing boats had unloaded their catch moments before and we avowed we'd return to pick up our dinner. We had oceanfront bike riding to do first.

Two camouflaged gulls; black in background are mussels. Jimmy gazing out to sea....

On our honeymoon trip to the northeast in 2001, we lucked up on the Lynx, hours before she was launched on her maiden voyage from Rockport, Maine. We wondered if we'd ever run into her (figuratively speaking) on our travels. Well, this was the moment, thousands of miles from home! How about that!

Ice plant, bushels and acres. It may not be native to the area, but it's visually stunning. Heck, I'd plant it. Besides no mowing is required. Jimmy posed in front of the seahorse on the last leg of our 22-mile bike ride, which took over six hours, because we kept stopping! Even rode a while on the famous 17-mile drive, but elected to turn around when we faced a big, bad climb. Regardless, this one ranks high on the special-bike-rides list. Life is good! (And we enjoyed fish for dinner!)

Coastal plants, flowers, and et cetera

I wish I could show you ALL the wonderful wildflowers and native plants we've seen in the past couple of days, but that would fill a book. Besides, I don't know the names -- my brain is cluttered with info. What is the gorgeous flowering plant below? Sitting on a bench gazing at Monterey cypress was a nice break.

Lizards are always fun to watch. Jimmy loved seeing the ice plant draped all over the coast. We were both surprised by the native iris in bloom next to a trail on a headland overlooking the ocean. Only one there!

I do recognize vibrant California poppies and love to see a stand of them. The second pic was taken just south of Point Lobos, looking down from a high "vista point." The meadow jutting into the sea was far, far below, and it was a considerable distance from the water itself. Lastly, we found this tiny canyon filled with flowers, including beautiful lilies, fed by a small stream. Flowers are a feast for the eye.


Along Point Lobos State Reserve, Tues, 4/28/09

California sea otter on kelp, dining on abalone? Seals and birds! Waves on the rocky shelf.

Clear, aqua water, crashing on shore and rocks. Harbor seals and a nursing newborn pup.

All this, and so much more, is Point Lobos State Reserve, near Carmel, CA: A mosaic of bold headlands, irregular coves, and rolling meadows - outstanding landscape altogether.

1,225 acres of land and water along the rugged seacoast. We spent many hours exploring around some of the 10 miles of trails along the cliffs -- sometimes like mountain goats! -- and taking too many pictures, but which ones to include here? Tough decisions! What a fine way to "while away a day!"


Mon, 4/27/09 from Pismo to Monterey CA

Somewhere between Pismo and Monterey are the elephant seals of Piedras Blancas (white rocks - think guano). We stopped to see what was going on this month, and also to eat lunch. A chill wind was blowing (of course). There were upwards of 2,000 seals on the sands and in the water, most young females and juveniles returning to molt from feeding far out to sea. It's quite an unbelievable sight, all these large mammals lying like cord wood on the sand, in various stages of molting. Some looked like they were carrying a mouldy old blanket on their backs. Others were bright and shiny, having completed their molt. 2,000! Snorting, snoring, throwing sand on their backs (and each other), and scratching with their flippers. The young males were play-fighting in the water and testing their bellows. The smell was quite ripe, too.

As always, click on any picture to enlarge.

We shared the drive up beautiful, rugged Hwy 1, with its heart-stopping scenery and twisty-turns, often high atop cliffs with the breakers beating on rocks hundreds of feet below. And on the other side of the highway were gently rolling hills carpeted with flowers to take your breath away, or towering mountains with their peaks lost in the clouds. Took us the better part of a day to enjoy all this. Lucky us to have the time!

Disneyland - Friday, April 24th

We started out at the churros stand, and Jimmy shared his with me. None of us wanted to ride the teacups, but we were all in favor of posing in one!

We all rode the Matterhorn, but Matt and Jen got on ahead of us... timely photo-op.

Next we walked to California Adventure. Jimmy is standing in front of the construction wall for the new high-tech fountain (think Las Vegas!) opening in 2010. The last photo is an action shot of Jimmy and Matt taken while they're on the roller coaster - yeehaw!

Matt tried a new (straight up/down) ride - he's on the right. The rest of us were too chicken to go on it. Jen and I posed with the stuffed animals we won at the midway.

Returned to Disney to ride Thunder Mountain one more time, and here's Jen and Matt in front of the train station. We were pretty tuckered out when we left at 9 pm. Had a wonderful time.