Getting there: We picked up our rental car in San Francisco and had it until we got to LAX at the end of our trip.
Where we stayed: Monterey – Super 8 Hotel – yes, a super budget place, but we found that this was our best bet given that we weren’t planning to actually be at the hotel much. It was barebones but clean and had a breakfast (cold) every morning. The hosts were also nice and it was in a good location. Pismo Beach – Pismo Lighthouse Suites – there was barely anyone else at this hotel and we upgraded to an oceanview on arrival. Huge room for the 2 of us – a separate living area, bedroom, and 2 bathrooms, laundry facilities for guests, pool and hottub. Wonderful oceanview and friendly employees.
December 1, 2009: West coast diaries #5
Greetings from Pismo Beach – in a beautiful oceanfront room!
So we continue to make our way down the coast. Yesterday was a full day in Monterey – starting with a 3-hour whale watching tour. Yay – I didn’t get sea sick AND we saw some killer whales…which we then found out are actually dolphins, but we’re going to consider them whales for the sake of measuring the success of our whalewatching trip. We saw 3 of them swimming together – one actually came very close to our boat and then swam underneath it – too amazing to describe with words. We went for some fish and chips afterwards and then drove along the 17-Mile Drive, which snakes around the coast and through Pebble Beach. We timed it so that we drove just before, during, and after the sunset – so spectacular. We also stopped and walked the main strip in Carmel, which you may remember as the town for which Clint Eastwood was the mayor.
This morning we got up early and left Monterey – first we drove along Big Sur – this is what you think of when you imagine driving the California coast – a very windy, narrow, and switchback filled road, mostly high above the ocean. We made so many stops – all worth it. It was gloriously sunny, and the surf crashing against the rocks was so picturesque. I attached a few pictures here of some of our stops – a bridge, a tunnel from one of our walks here, and a McWay Falls picture – in the picture called waterfall, check out the tiny waterfall in the lefthand side. It seems like you suddenly come around a bend in the road you’re not on the same road any longer, it feels more like the foothills in southern Alberta, except with the ocean to the west instead of mountains! There is lots of pasture and cattle in these areas, too. We stopped at one beach where elephant seals are known to gather in winter months, and they were all beached sunning themselves – some of the males were huge – they can be up to 5,000 pounds. They also swim from southern California to Alaska, and this is one of their stops, so we’re actually very fortunate to have seen them. We made a stop at Hearst Castle, too, read all about it, but did not do the tour. We also stopped for some tasty sandwiches and strawberry shortcake at Bill and Carol’s Sea Shanty – what a place! The ceiling is decorated with collected and donated hats from all over the place – we happened to sit under the TO Bluejays hat! The shortcake was DIVINE. We rolled up to our hotel around 5 pm, after a long time on the road (since just after 8 am), and are pretty pooped out again.
Tomorrow we’re off to Santa Monica, and I think we’ll just take it easy and wander around for the day. Wednesday and Thursday we’ll probably explore LA. I’m sure I’ll have more pics for you by then.
take it easy! Miss you all!
dpr and d2