Thursday, July 08, 2010

Poor Tom. I make us a cup of tea most mornings. Most mornings, I make them for both of us at once, but sometimes Tom sleeps later than I do. Today, I boiled the water and poured it over his teabag-- I had had my tea hours earlier-- set the timer and forgot about it. Tom found it some 40 minutes later. He said it was a mite stronger than he likes.

I finished the second sock (huzzah!) before breakfast, and cast on for another top (one can't have too many tank tops in a hot climate like this) in a sport-weight rayon in a fiery mix of red, orange, and purple. The skein I have probably isn't enough to make the top, so I'll have to cannabalize the long scarf I made out of the same fiber. I don't wear that scarf; it came out too long. Even double-wrapped, it drags on the ground. I took that yarn on vacation with me a few years ago, and knit and frogged that one skein of yarn over and over, so it lasted the whole vacation.

I don't know Highway 1 as well north of San Simeon as I do south of there; from LA to San Simeon is my regular commute. From San Simeon to Monterey is a vacation I take at least once a year, but not every month or more, as the more southern sections.

In Big Sur, I used to hike down to Jade Cove, but the trail I used to take eroded away years ago. I think most visitors to Jade Cove get there by boat, nowadays, from Sand Dollar Beach. There really is jade there; as with Moonstone Beach, California beaches are named honestly. Don't look for agates and pearls at Agate Pearl Beach in Laguna, though; it is named for the cross streets it is nestled between. Nice beach, though.

But I digress. Laguna is way south of Big Sur, south even of LA. In Big Sur, one must stop at the art gallery shaped like a water tower. It's expensive, but top drawer. The second turnout north of it has sometimes hosted a pod of Steller's sea lions, the golden ones that are much bigger than California sea lions. I think this is as far south as you'll find Steller'ses on the mainland. They're more common from Oregon north. Keep glancing upward the whole time you're in Big Sur, as there are something in the neighborhood of 30 California condors in the surrounding wilderness. If they're in the open sky, so you can't distinguish them from turkey vultures by size (condors are much bigger), you can tell which are condors by the white on the leading edges of their wings. If you have binoculars, or good eyes, you'll also see the radio transmitters on the condors. The authorities keep a very close eye on the condors.

If you pass Deetjen's Big Sur Inn before noon, that's the place to stop for breakfast. The food and the ambience are both wonderful. It closes at noon, so you'll be out of luck, if it's a late lunch you want.

At Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, take the trail marked McWay Cove Overlook. It's a level trail, only 1/4 mile long, but yields one of the best views on earth: a waterfall plunging freely to a sandy, untouched beach, with a natural sea arch in the background.

In between Carmel Highlands and Carmel itself, is the Serengeti of marine mammals: Point Lobos State Park. I have seen there, in the same visit, dozens of harbor seals and sea otters, hundreds of California sea lions, an orca chasing aforementioned sea lions, and a great disturbance in the deep, sign of a great whale (unidentified by species).

Carmel itself is a lovely sight. Monterey is the location of one of the best aquariums in the world. Just past the aquarium, at Lovers' Point, the views are enhanced by the most reliable sea otter sightings I've seen yet. If you decide to dine on Fisherman's Wharf, order the Early Bird Special; everything else is overpriced.

Thus concludes the tour.


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