Salinas the Unexpected Jewel

Trip Start Jun 01, 2013
Trip End Jun 23, 2013

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Where I stayed
BEST WESTERN Salinas Monterey Hotel
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Mystery Spot Santa Cruz
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, June 11, 2013

 Our first stop after a few hours at the outlet stores is Salinas, a great base to explore the Bay of Monterey.

Day two is going to be a big one as we drive the Big Sur. We started with a drive in to Monterey, through Carmel and on to the Big Sur. The pictures do not do justice to the most beautiful coastline, with mountains to the left and cliff down to the ocean on the right it made for a scary & exciting drive. At times I was sure we were going to drop off an edge, I was hanging on to the door handle and the cup holder in the centre console and at times yelling (you're only supposed to be doing 25) at Martin for going too fast, it felt like a roller coaster.

Stopped for lunch at Nepenthe great food, great views and don't forget the gift shop.  We saw a couple of woodpeckers while we were having lunch, even saw them pecking away.

Just after Nepenthe we pulled into one of the little parking areas as we had seen a large bird. It was a pair of Condors just playing with the updrafts in the air. They were just magnificent to watch and such a privilege. At one time there were only 22 birds left the Americans have done a great conservation rescue with these fine creatures.

Our next unusual find was a Zebra in with a field of cows. Apparently the late media Magnate William Randolph Hearst released many exotic animals into the grounds of Hearst Castle which is now run & maintained by the state.

At the south end of the Big Sur we came across a beach filled with Elephant Seals, never seen anything like it before. There was a wildlife officer there explaining all about them it was fascinating. The Rook which covered about 6miles, was all adolescent males, who had swam from the Artic to molt (shed their skin), all Elephant seals do this twice a year.

The next day was spent discovering more of the Bay with a visit to Santa Cruz. Had a very pleasant couple of hours at the boardwalk fair where we played a game of crazy golf
We left Santa Cruz which in itself was not easy as we did circles on the roads for a bit. Once safely on our way we headed for the Mystery Spot. The Mystery Spot is a gravitational anomaly located in the redwood forests just outside of Santa Cruz. It was discovered in 1939 and opened in 1940.The operators of the small site (which is about 150 feet in diameter) claim that it is a place where the laws of physics and gravity do not apply and provide a number of demonstrations in support of these claims, where water seems to flow upwards, people seem to be standing in slanted positions etc. It was something different and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. 

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