Monday, April 27, 2009

My Adventures in California: Part One of Three

Last week I hit up California with my good friend, Mike, and had a blast. We stayed with his parents in Merced and visited Monterrey, Big Sur, Yosemite, Carmel, Sol Vang, and other extremely beautiful locales. Simply driving through the vast groves, orchards, and vinyards of the golden state was enough for me to enjoy the vacation, but adding on that the majesty of Yosemite and the endless blue expanse of the ocean turned this road trip into one that I will never forget.

Join me now as I take you on a MAGICAL JOURNEY!


No, I'm not smoking medical marijuana, although it is legal in California.

I'll start with the beginning of the trip, which was Sunday - the drive in.

This is what Merced looks like. You've got your nice balance between dry, weedy ground, lush vinyards, and the occasional row of palms.

Many farmers grow invisible crops. It's a miracle of horticulture.

As we drove in, we saw skydivers landing in the field adjacent to the freeway! This guy was having a hard time keeping away from traffic, though. I was a little worried for him.

More skydivers. I'd like to think the guy in the upper left corner lost a bet and had to wear a rainbow parachute.

On Monday, we drove out to Monterrey on Highway 152 which passes through these beautiful rolling hills. Sadly, this picture doesn't do the scenery justice.

We stopped at the tidepools and were greeted by this animatronic seagull. All the real seagulls died years ago in the great "Gull flu" pandemic.

Animatronic dead sea urchin. Didn't do much.

Sea glass! Don't you love sea glass? Sadly, I lost this piece.

Here I stand on rocky shores, watching waves crash below.

I fell in love with the color of the water under this building.

View from the restaurant where we ate clam chowder.

After Monterrey, we drove south on the Big Sur coastline to where we'd camp for the night. The bridge you see in the distance was built in the 1930's.

More of the gorgeous Big Sur coastline.

This little campsite is about a mile from the beach and featured firepits, bathrooms, and a bed of thick, soft grass. It made for good sleep.

The next morning, as we were walking out to the beach, we saw a lynx! It just kept looking back at us, keeping about 40 feet ahead of us, but acting pretty chill. It was about as big as a grown dog!

So beautiful...

The water was freaking cold, but we managed to enjoy it for an hour or so.

We found more tidepools which were full of these cute little sea anemones.

Sea Urchins, too!

Tuesday ended with a trip to a place we'd seen on the Travel Channel called "Jade Cove." You can hunt around down there among the rocks and surf for pieces of jade! We had fun, but didn't find anything bigger than a nickel. I did talk to a diver though, who showed me a peice as big as my camera that he had found that day. I kick myself now for not taking a picture of it. :(

Anyway, part two (Yosemite) and part three (the car show) of this trip will be up soon!



  1. I must say I was looking forward to your post on your grand adventure to Cali :)

    You snagged some pretty sweet pics too (as usual)

    I love seeing pictures of the beach and tide pools - my fav

    I'll make sure to find you some sea glass when I venture out to your second home: California


  2. Beautiful pictures, Barry! You should go work for National Geographic or something! You're amazingly talented!

    Also, I think the surviving seagulls from the "Gull Flu" pandemic relocated to Utah trash dumps and parking lots where they know they are protected by state law and they can breed like rabbits...

  3. Solvang...many fun memories of pastries, bike rides, pea soup and gift shops with mom, dad, and sisters. It was there, my sister Cheryl coined the phrase whitewheatorye.
    Waitress @ Pea Soup Anderson's: would you like white, wheat or rye?
    Cheryl: ....yes.