Tuesday, April 23, 2002

San Francisco to Sydney - Day 10

Day 10 : Monterey to San Simeon

We spent a relaxing day today wending our way down Highway 1 from Monterey to San Simeon. For this trip of around one hundred miles, Highway 1 mostly hugs the coast, and it features dramatic overlooks and vista points every ½ mile or so. (An 'overlook' or 'vista point' in the US is roughly the same as a 'lookout' in Australia).

Big Sur Coastline Spectacular views, similar to that depicted at left, were commonplace along the journey. The coastline was rugged, the water impossibly blue, and light mists fringed the tops of the hills and in places drifted for no apparent reason across the road. The colours, the rock formations and the atmosphere reminded me of Muir Beach Overlook - very Scottish as I think I commented then.

Alongside the road was a sign that read :

Hills
Curves
Next 63 miles
Though poor grammatically, the sign was unquestionably accurate as, indeed, much of the next sixty-three miles comprised geographical features indisputably hilly and curvy. Maybe on the way back to Monterey tomorrow we'll see a sign that reads :
White Paint
Yellow Paint
Asphalt
Next 200 Miles

McWay Cove One of our stops today was close to a cove known as McWay Cove, depicted in the photo at right. As you can see, it's a pretty spot. If you look closely at the photo, on the left you'll spot a flow of water - a waterfall with an unimpressive flow rate and an uninspiring height. What is unusual about the waterfall though, is the fact that it falls directly into the ocean.

Elephant Seals
Just outside San Simeon we came across another vista point, and decided to stop to get some fresh air. We had no clue that the vista was of hundreds of beached elephant seals, which lay dozing on the sands almost everywhere we could see.

I've commented before on the slothful character of elephant seals, and those we saw today offered nothing but confirmatory evidence. Almost all the elephant seals we saw were either slumbering or attempting to reach that state. I do envy the elephant seals, though, as they appear to sleep extremely peacefully. It's best not to get downwind of them though ...

We arrived, late afternoon, in San Simeon. There can't be many smaller places in the US that are still felt worthy of being noted on maps. A poorly timed sneeze could cause a speeding traveller to miss it entirely, and it seems to have been developed solely for the purpose of providing accommodation for tourists planning to visit Hearst Castle, located just a few miles down the road.

San Simeon Beach This is a photo of San Simeon Beach. It lies directly across the road from where we're staying. Indeed, part of the reason we choose the room that we did was that it was billed as having "ocean views". We're still looking. We didn't realise that we needed to climb onto the roof of our room to enjoy these views.

Originally posted by TC

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