Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pacific Coast Highway and Elephant Seals, Saturday, April 13, 2013

Oh my, what a day.  We left the motorhome around 10am to drive the Pacific Coast Highway (Ca-1).  As the name implies we were driving right along the coastline much of the way.  This highway is not recommended for tractor-trailers or RV's from San Simeon to Big Sur, about 88 miles.

A little more than 4 miles north of the Hearst Castle was the Elephant Seal vista point.  What an amazing sight- female elephant seals were laying all over this beach area.  This is their molting season and they will lay on the beach for about a month until their top skin peels off.  During this time they do not eat or go in the water.  Juveniles which are seals that were born in December 2011 and have survived their first year (about 50% do not survive) also return to molt.  We watched several of these juveniles swim in and then slowly work their bodies up on the beach.  They move a couple of feet then stop and move and stop- this is done so that their lungs can expand to adapt to the gaseous air as oppose to being under water.  A lady associated with the "Friends of the Elephant Seals" was in the viewing area distributing information about the seals and talking with observers.

Tearing ourselves away from the seals we continued on up the road.  Not long after passing through San Simeon the road started going up and down hills with sharp turns.  No this road was not for motorhomes or semi's but we did see a few daring RVers anyway. There were many vista  points to stop and take pictures of this rugged but beautiful coastline.  In the Big Sur area the highway goes through a forested region away from views of the ocean but then it returns to the coast before getting to Carmel-By-The-Sea.  We did stop for lunch at Ventana Restaurant near Big Sur which was up a mountainous road to an overlook of the Ocean.  Even though it was a little cool we did dine outside as most everyone else was doing.  We drove a scenic route through Carmel that had the Ocean on one side and exquisite homes on the other.  And believe it or not there was another Mission, this one in Carmel.  We took a few pictures of the gardens and outside but services were going on so we didn't go into the church.

We returned to Moro Bay on the same route (we could have gone on Freeway 101).   There are some homes built on the tops of the mountains overlooking the Ocean and homes built on cliffs right by the Ocean.  And like all roads today there were construction being done.   We had to stop to see the seals again and then we stopped at a state fishing pier which we walked out on.  Finally, about 7:30pm we got back to the motorhome after first stopping at an Albertson's for a few groceries.  A full day!