The PCH to The Giant Forest's Doorsteps

Trip Start Jul 02, 2010
Trip End Jul 16, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, July 11, 2010

After a much needed oil change for the car we headed south on highway 1 or the Cabrillo Highway or The Pacific Coast Highway depending on the source. There may be no other road in this world that is so exhilarating to drive. Soon after the Monterrey Bay the highway hugged the Pacific with drops of hundreds of feet into the blue water with white waves churning on the rocks below. Every turn was a vista worth an artist's painting and the beauty of the Pacific Coastline could not have been celebrated more enjoyably than driving on this marvel of engineering and imagination. We headed past Big Sur and Hearst Castle in San Simeon before leveling out on the coastline shortly before the Moro Bay and the point where we would begin heading east.

It was here that another surprise entered into our trip – a large herd of Elephant Seals covering a quarter-mile stretch of beach. The creatures were both comical and graceful at the same time. They took their time doing everything and seemed to be content just shoveling large fin-full’s of dirt over their backs to keep cool. They were huge happy creatures and we spent a good while observing them from our perch above the beach.

When we headed east we crossed over the coastal mountains and entered into the hilly terrain of California’s Central Valley where we passed dozens of wineries and vineyards. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and we had arrived a little too late to participate in any of the tastings or tours, but the landscape was enjoyable enough. The vineyards gave way to barren golden hills as we approached the southern end of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and we spotted the tall peaks from far out in the valley.

We intended to spend the night in the Sequoia National Park but road construction closed the road just several minutes before we arrived after sunset. So we headed back down the mountain a small way and got a room for the night. The largest trees on earth would still be there in the morning when the sun rose as they had for two or three thousand years before. Tomorrow we would see the Giant Forests of the Sequoias.
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