Carmel & San Simeon

Trip Start May 03, 2013
Trip End May 25, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, May 13, 2013

Just as we were packing up to leave Monterey I got Skyped by Yvonne, my best buddy who is living at my house at the moment and looking after the cats.  That was a nice surprise as we haven't been able to do this due to the time difference.

As we headed out of the town we took the coast road and saw some beautiful beach front houses.  All the houses here seem to be different and have character, with a lot of them made from wood.  We drove to 17 Mile Drive.  It's a scenic drive through Pebble Beach, around the famous golf course and past some amazingly expensive and very beautiful houses; we're talking millions of dollars worth of houses.  We stopped for the obligatory photo spot at the Lone Cypress, the symbol of the local community.

As we were running later than I would have liked we only did half of the 17 Mile Drive and exited into the town of Carmel, famous for once having Clint Eastwood as its mayor.  If I ever win the lottery I want to move to Carmel.  It is gorgeous!  If a town can be described as quaint and cute this is it.  It's a very affluent town but it's beautiful.  There's one Main Street which runs down the middle with cute little shops, art galleries and a few realtors and if you walk down you get to the beach.  A vast curve of clean, golden sand.  Very close to shore we saw three dolphins lazily swimming down the coast.  Brilliant!

One thing we've seen in a few places are ground squirrels; they're like normal squirrels but have less bushy tales.  The ones at Carmel beach were extremely friendly.  We'd just picked up a pastry for lunch and I tore a bit off and the squirrel loved it.  I ended up with a crowd of people around me watching as the squirrel quite happily stood up on its back legs on my hand eating whilst I stroked its back.  So cute.

Now we were running late as we had to be at Hearst Castle at 3.20pm in San Simeon for a tour I'd booked.  We set off down Highway 1 stopping for quick photos along the Big Sur, the part of California's coast where all the iconic photos are taken.  

I have to say the coastline is probably spectacular in real life than on any photo.  The coastline is rugged with waves crashing against ragged rocks causing white sea foam to spray up into the air.  It seems the further south you go the higher the road rises, it looked like at least a thousand feet down to the sea and the roads or full of twists and turns, not many straight bits.  We saw a road sign that showed the bendy road sign and said for the next 63 miles!  We crossed the famous Bixby Creek Bridge and but we didn't see the sign until we were almost on it so I made Keith turn around and go back so I could get a photo of it.

One place I had wanted to see was Pfeiffer Beach, a quiet hidden beach down an unmarked road.  With the help of the guy in the General Store we found it.  It was beautiful, very picturesque, but there was a bit of a wind going on and my legs did get a bit sandblasted. This is another place I'd be happy to live.

As we seemed to hit the highest points the mist was rolling across the roads and as you looked out to sea it looked like we were above the cloud level and it appeared as if you could walk out onto a cotton wool carpet.

Keith put some of his EFAD training into practise and opened up the Subaru, when he could, as we were going to be late.  I was a little nervous, thinking we might have been driving on the cotton wool carpet.  Some sections of the road are so curvy it's impossible to drive at more than 10 miles an hour. 

We eventually made it 45 minutes late and rushed into the information desk thinking up all sorts of excuses.  They were absolutely fine and said it happened all the time.  The ticket desk was open for just another 8 minutes and I was able to change the trip to tomorrow morning at no extra cost.  Sign of relief breathed.

We'd passed some elephants seals on a beach a couple of miles down the road so we decided to go back and have a look.  There were hundreds of them, all different sizes and most of them just sleeping.  There were a few squaring up to each other and there were others shuffling away from any form of confrontation, just wanting to sleep and cover themselves with the odd flipper full of sand.

The hotel was really a motel.  Nice, but just like you see in the movies.  It had a heated pool and at sunset they lit 3 bonfires in front of the sea where you could go and huddle around.
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Yvonne on

Hi You two .... at last I can leave a message...... Errrm don't know what to say.
So bye xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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