California Coast

With the Sierra Nevadas and the Golden hills of California in my rear view mirror I started the breath-taking drive through the windy (both WINE-DEE and WIN-DEE) coastal area of California via hwy 1 starting at San Simon where the William Hearst Castle is located.

golden hills of california

Beautiful central valley of California covered with golden hills…now I can see why they are called the “Golden State!” This is near Paso Robles

There is much reason this road is famous…cause everything that is said about it is true…it is stunning to see the sun glisten off the Pacific ocean, to watch seals sleep, play and swim together in community, to listen to the crashing waves against the high rocky bluffs, to wind one’s way through the thick and luscious tall trees of the road, and have stellar jays, chipmunks and mule deer make an appearance periodically seemingly just to bless me with their presence!

seals-communal-sleeping

I was hard pressed to find a seal that was by itself…every one of them was touching at least another one while sleeping! They were a delight to watch, even when they went to sleep!

seagull-post-ocean

I know, I know! Seagulls are a dime a dozen and can be rather annoying…but they do have some fascinating features! Like this great black-backed gull’s little red dot near the tip of their beak at the bottom (presuming its not lipstick), their beautiful eyes, and that slit at the side of their beak (as it turns out, seagulls can drink both fresh and salt water. Most animals are unable to do this, but seagulls have a special pair of glands right above their eyes which is specifically designed to flush the salt from their systems through that opening in their bill!). Amazing!

2-squirrelsa

Two well-fed squirrels romping around the California coast together through the feet of those eating lunch! These little fellows, and chipmunks, should be the mascot for all the parks…for they seem to be in every single one of them!

The 93 miles between San Simon and Monterrey through Big Sur is breathtaking. Thankfully there is plenty of free dispersed camping in the Los Padres National Forest (well, all national forests really, but that is the forest along the scenic route!)

deb-at-big-sur-ocean

I implored a German couple to snap a photo of me here overlooking the Pacific Coast. It was difficult to do, since the only thing I know in German (besides Gesundheit!) is “It’s my birthday!” But pantomiming did just fine!

bigblue-ocean

BigBlue certainly has made the rounds, having started at the Atlantic Ocean in October and having made her way to the Pacific by May! Los Padres Forest has GREAT dispersed camping with incredible views…tempted to live there…but can only stay 14 days at each spot!

I try not to drive at night so while the sun was heading into the ocean, I turned into the forest to find a spot for the night. There was a fantastic overview but  there was already an rv parked there. Usually if a spot is occupied, I go on to another, but this time I felt compelled to stop…and I’m so glad I did! There was Chip Cunningham from the Washington area sitting in his lawn chair reading 2 Samuel! He has felt called to minister along this 93 mile stretch and start a FourSquare church in the area.

chip-guitar-ocean

I met a blessed Christian musician and pastor while in Los Padres–Chip Cunningham from the FourSquare Church in Washington state. It was a lovely time to hear of his journeys and encounters along highway 1 and in Los Angeles.

bigblue-sunset-ocean

BigBlue and I watching the Pacific Ocean swallow the sun…leaving incredible colors behind. Twas a marvelous way to end each day!

It was a blessed evening of communion and fellowship. He sang some worship songs he had written. He made dinner! And he shared with me his testimony from the past and his dreams and hopes for the future. Then we concluded the evening with prayer. An other-worldly blessed-time!

california coast

The Pacific Ocean joining the California coast along highway 1 near Big Sur and Los Padres National Forest. Glorious scenery to go to sleep to and to wake up with!

bee-yellow-flowers-ocean

A little “Deborah” (bee) collecting pollen from the bright yellow flowers (and there were some orange ones as well) along the ocean’s edge. Not a bad work environment!

Next on tap was one of the newest National Parks, Pinnacles found in the Salinas Valley in Central California. It used to be a National Monument but has been “upgraded” recently by the President. It too, like Joshua tree, has spectacular rock formations/pinnacles that makes a great place for rock climbing. I must confess, in all of my adventuresome spirit, there is nothing in me that wants to rock climb!
bigblue-at-pinnacles-sign

But it also contains about 30 miles of good hiking trails and a few caves. Thankfully I was able to hike into Bear Gulch caves (they are closed presently now though due to Townsend big-eared bat roosting). And then meander up to Bear Gulch Reservoir and hike a bit along the High Peaks Trail. Though the park is known for having California Condors, they apparently had other things to do than to make a special appearance for me! But some red-headed woodpeckers and blue birds kept me good company instead!

deb-at-pinnacles2 bluebird woodpeckers

I then camped one night at the Casa de Fruta (with many other casas to boot) in Santa Clara County California just south of San Fran where I splurged with a pot roast dinner!

purple-flowers-casadefruta

Next blog entry will cover my time in San Fran and Sacramento area getting reacquainted with family and friends, DV!

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