Cali coastal tour...Day #1

Trip Start Nov 21, 2010
Trip End Nov 01, 2014

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Monterey Bay Aquarium

Flag of United States  , California
Monday, December 13, 2010

After reluctantly leaving Gavin and Vicki (and the cats) in LA, we headed up the coast to drive a good portion of Route 1. We wanted to get a nice view of the coast...and we did, well, kind of.

Our first stop along the way was the famous Andersen's Pea Soup. Amazing pea soup (vegetarian) in a bread bowl. Too amazing (and filling) for words, along with the strawberry milk shakes we also got. On the way out the door we even picked up a Danish waffle (light crispy pastry sandwiches filled with butter cream and raspberry filling) and a cheese danish. We didn't need any of this food except to try the pea soup, but it was hard to resist, especially after trying to quit the eating binge that was Los Angeles. So, we finish our lunch and head off down the road with a couple pastries to go. Ate the first one right away and decided we needed a break from eating before attempting the cheese danish, Doug's favorite and go-to pastry. Needed to stop for a coffee and gas about an hour further down the road, so we ran into a cute little coffee shop. Got back to the truck to find that Toby had enjoyed himself a delicious cheese danish. Keep in mind that this thing was about the size of an entire meal for him. He's such a cute pooch that we laughed and laughed. :) Anyway, he loved it...and we're still craving cheese danish.

We kept driving up the coast, long winding roads with a cliff falling into the ocean. Would have been beautiful if it weren't for the mass amounts of fog. We were lucky enough for some patches of sunlight, and you'll see some photos below (both fog and sun). We were very happy to enjoy seeing wild elephant seals along the coast. Saw a sign that read 'elephant seal viewing area', realized there was no fog, and pulled over. There were quite a few people and it was quite the experience. November begins the mating season, where normally solitary animals (male and female) return to their mating grounds on the California coast so that the males can battle for dominance and win a female. The females can be up to 1,200 pounds, and a large male can be up to 5,000 pounds. They are huge blubberous creatures, and totally unfitting on land. They look like they can swim like a dream, and we read that they can. But on land, they blubber around (for those who have seen whale demolition on the Oregon coast, they were not 'flubbering and blubbering' around, ie: not falling from the sky) clumsily. One of the signs told us that they are, however, wild animals who are 'faster than you think'. Figures, animals like this usually are. Anyway, the males make these ridiculous snoring, kind of. Hopefully one of the videos caught the sound a little bit.

We kept driving up the coast, through lots of fog. Found another clearing as the sun set. What timing. Pictures below.

A little bit further up the coast we arrived in Monterey, CA. It was pretty late and it had been dark for a while, but what we saw of the town was pretty interesting. We arrived at the hotel and realized it had a fire place. Never thought I'd be in a hotel room with a fire place, but the price was good and it was close to everything in Cannery Row. Ironically, before we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium today, we ate tuna salad out of a bag. I guess we've come a long way since the original canning days.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is amazing. Awesome otter exhibit. They've got traveling special exhibits right now, which include pink flamingos, sea horses, and jellies. All incredible.

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