Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
15Trip End Dec 11, 2009
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Where I stayed
But, the best part of the garden was the resident rabbit - a tame, former 4H rabbit, who roams free in the garden and is allowed to munch on all the plants. Moses and Dakota would have been in heaven. This garden rabbit even let me take his photo and pet him. It was a really delightful morning.
Next, I drove back to the beach in Arroyo Grande, to a special grove of trees that serve as the winter residence for thousands of monarch butterflies. For some reason, the butterflies picked these particular trees to come back to every year. At first, I thought I was in the wrong place. But, once the sun started to come out, the butterflies woke up and opened their wings. What I had thought were leaves in the trees were actually butterflies. It was magical.
From Arroyo Grande, I drove up the coast to San Simeon. This is where the drive really started to get beautiful, driving right along the coast. There were lots of places to stop and look at the ocean. At one turnoff, the California Gulls posed for me.
This gull was angry.
In San Simeon, I went on a tour of Hearst Castle, which was built by William Randolf Hearst, who made a lot of money in the newspaper business and spent a good chunk of it building this monstrosity of a house, which was both beautiful and hopelessly tacky.
Because he was crazy, Hearst even introduced exotic animals to roam the grounds. The zebras are still there, grazing alongside the cows. I spotted some from highway one.
I left Hearst Castle around 3:00, intending to drive to Pacific Grove, near Monterey, before night came. However, the road quickly got treacherous, with lots of twists and turns alongside cliffs. When I realized I wasn't going to make it to Pacific Grove before night (and that I would almost certainly die if I tried to drive on those curvy roads in the dark), I decided to try to find a place to stop. I came to the "town" of Gorda, which was the only civilization anywhere close. Gorda essentially consists of the Whale Watchers Inn and associated gas station and restaurant. I was extremely grateful that the Inn had a vacancy.
The Inn even had a sign proclaiming that there were llamas. I happen to really like llamas.
And, as promised, a llama!
I watched the sunset over the ocean from the garden at Whale Watchers Inn.
It was lovely, and, because of the fog, it felt like I was up very high.