Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

7/16/2014

Visiting Monterey

Filed under: — stan @ 11:44 pm

After traveling through Big Sur, we arrived in Monterey. We headed to Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We were hoping to see some sea otters there, among other things. As it turned out, we got there just in time to see the sea otters get fed, which drew a big crowd. And after that, we went outside, and we saw a couple of wild otters floating in the kelp just offshore.

Next, we went to see the “Tentacles” exhibit. Check out the colors on this cuttlefish:

There was also a big exhibit of jellyfish, and a lot of history of the sardine canneries that used to be there.

When we went to check in to our hotel, we stopped for a photo-op with the bell across the street. We’ve been seeing these bells all the way up the 101 since before we left L.A. And when we got in our room, we had a laugh about the evacuation map and instructions. Then we headed out for yet another fancy dinner, and later on, we settled in by the fire pit back at the hotel. All told, it was a fun day.

Traveling up the coast

Filed under: — stan @ 2:08 pm

On Wednesday morning, we headed back up the coast. The plan was to stop and see the elephant seal colony at Piedras Blancas, and then continue on up to Monterey. We left Moonstone Beach and headed north. When we were close to the visitor center at Hearst Castle, we saw some zebras running on the hills next to the road. The tour guides at the castle had said that there were still some feral zebras on the ranch there, descended from the ones that were in the Hearst private zoo. Then, a few miles north of the castle, we saw the sign for the elephant seals. There were quite a few of them lounging on the beach. The volunteer from Friends of the Elephant Seal told us that most of the seals there were males, and that the females were out at sea feeding at the time. There were several pairs of males out in the waves, jousting with each other. She said they do that when they’re young as practice for later on, when it becomes a serious business for mating.

Here’s a short video clip of a pair of seals jousting:

After the seals, we continued north, through Big Sur, where we saw a new type of animal crossing sign that I can add to my collection.

Hearst Castle and Moonstone Beach

Filed under: — stan @ 10:39 am

Our second day plan was to travel from Santa Barbara to San Simeon. We’d signed up for two tours of Hearst Castle for the afternoon, and then we were spending the night in Cambria.

The castle was impressive in an absurd way. Completely over-the-top excess. The tours we took were the “Upstairs Suites Tour” and the “Designing the Dream”. I was pretty much dumbfounded and left speechless by this.

After the castle, we headed down to Cambria and Moonstone Beach. When we checked in, they told us they were going to move us to one of the ocean-view rooms. We didn’t complain about that. The view from the front porch was nice. We walked down the street and had dinner at the only restaurant right on the beach. Then we went back to our room and opened the windows. We listened to the waves all night. In the morning, I took a walk down the beach, hoping to see an otter or two. I didn’t see any, but I did see seals and some dolphins.

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