Friday, July 17, 2009

Drivin' The One

Day 17: July 13, 2009 – Side of the road, CA to Side of the Road, CA
Ocean to the left, Mountains to the right

Camping and CouchSurfing along the coast are next to impossible. So today we wake up in the car, ready to see what beauty the coast can offer us after a less than restful nights sleep. Since Mike had been driving the night before (and most every other night and day before) he had noticed a sign south of where we were claiming to be a sight where one could view Elephant Seals. We took a chance and made our way south, opposite of our travelling direction, and hoped to see these giant seals. We were not disappointed.

If ever you have the chance to view elephant seals, you must. They are top-notch entertainment. In the early morning, they are still resting which means they are all snuggling up together in one large pile of gray-brown mass. While resting, they throw sand on themselves, grunt at each other and snore. While snoring they have a tendency to blow little fountains of sand up into the air – eliciting laughs from the easily entertained, every time. We were also able to watch a few of the males out in the water. Sometimes they would just be out looking for breakfast, but at other times it was obvious that that was not their main objective. The objective during those times was to stake their claim on territory and they would soon be butting heads, literally, with another male while making many grunting noises which sounded strangely familiar…familiar like flatulent.

Having enjoyed seal watching for “breakfast”, we made our way north admiring the coast as we went along. The landscape of the coast is, in a word, dramatic. Tall cliffs provide the platform for the highway and rocks jut out of the ocean below providing walls to the waves leaving the viewer sprays of white water powerfully making their way around the rocks. As the road makes it down from cliffs we are faced with the vast beauty of something that goes on forever, as far as the eye can see. Trying to comprehend the grandness of the great blue ocean is near impossible, much like our ability to comprehend the grandness of our God.

Within the Big Sur Valley we made our way off the highway and onto the Pfeiffer Beach. We meandered around on the sandy beach and the large rocks. Mike enjoyed photographing the waters as they rushed into the caverns and the large boulders. Melissa enjoyed spotting crabs, scaring them occasionally and being scared on another. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed finding starfish and snapping their photos as well. We spent about an hour wandering through the rocks and sand, snapping photos and being amazed by the sea creatures we spotted here. Having enjoyed some time out of the car it was back on the road where another ‘first’ awaited us and Nav-E.

One rule of the road is, pick up hitch-hikers. We purchased a roof-top carrier for many reasons, one of which was so that we could more easily make room for a hitch-hiker. Finally, this rule and our roof-top carrier came to full fruition. We easily made room for Josh and his bag into the back seat of Nav-E. We then enjoyed the hour and a half or so of travel time we had with Josh who was conveniently making a stop in San Francisco, as were we. Josh told us about a few of his travels, his love for writing, that we were currently driving through the artichoke capital of the world, and gave us some great tips for our short time in San Francisco. As luck would have it, another ‘first’ presented itself to us as we made our journey, hitch-hiker in tow, Free Jam Tasting. Without hesitation, we turned off the road and made our way into the Jam Tasting room where we enjoyed a small assortment of jams made with Strawberries, Tayberries, and Oallieberries. Josh purchased a small basket of strawberries, Mike chose strawberry shortcake and Melissa filled her thermos with apple-strawberry cider – all was absolutely divine.

Around 4:00 in the afternoon we pulled into San Francisco making our way to Fisherman’s Wharf. We said good-bye to our new friend Josh and began an almost unsuccessful hunt for internet. Finally, we took some internet time from the Marriot just to discover that, as was expected, we did not have a couch for that night and were therefore left to our own schedule and devises. With extra time on our hands we made the only logical choice one can make while at the Fisherman’s Wharf, we ate. Mike had fried clam-strips and chips while Melissa enjoyed and shared clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, yum.

Now, for the Grand Finale of the day! (Well, not quite, but almost). Before getting back to our car to continue on our way we stopped at a the easel of a sidewalk artist who claimed that he could make us into a Cartoon! So with an abracadabra and some chit chat about Brokeback Mountain and Tyra Banks, Mike and Melissa became the cutest cartoon couple to ever visit the great city of San Francisco.

Caricature in hand, we returned the car and made our way toward and over the infamous Golden Gate Bridge. As everyone should do when experiencing something for the first time or as a tourist, we stopped to take pictures and marvel at the works of man.
Having done all that one can successfully do in a day we made our way out of the outskirts of San Francisco, parked our car and enjoyed another night of rest on the side of a road in California.

Who knew the coast was so long?


Anonymous said...

You should have looked up Julianna...she lives in San Fran and probably would've loved to have you!

Anonymous said...

That starfish photo is awesome!

I was a bit confused by the prairie dog. Or is that just a tiny baby seal?


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