Baby Elephant Seals Ahead!
Woke up to still more downpours, but as we ate breakfast at the hotel (and why does Quaker insist on putting so much sugar into their instant oatmeal? Yuk) we could see breaks in the clouds. Yay!
Dragged the boys up and into the car. Have I mentioned the car? The boys were thrilled beyond reason yesterday when we saw Dollar had given us a convertable. I was less thrilled, given how tiny the thing was. I've been less thrilled each time I haul myself out of it and bang my knee on the door. They're really looking forward to driving with the top down. If it ever stops raining.
Drove around Carmel a bit. Charming little town, with hundreds of shops selling bad to middling artwork and things that might appeal to well-heeled tourists. The houses are beautiful, although there seems to be some sort of competition for most precious curb appeal. Amazing shoreline, though.
I had wanted to go to Pacific Grove to see if the monarch butterflies were still overwintering at the Reserve. Lots of trees, not a single monarch. Sadness. Stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up snacks for the road.
Headed south on route one, and as the rain stopped, we turned into Point Lobos State park. Headed out for some hiking. What a glorious place, full of pine, cypress and eucaliptis; rocky shoreline, huge rocks catching spray. We saw pelicans and deer, the boys almost gave me a heart attack leaping over rocks close to the edge, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
The rain started again before Big Sur, and we chased rainstorms and breaks of sun all the way down to San Simeon. Stopped for lunch for hilariously overpriced burgers.
As we reached the valley, I saw a large parking lot with groups of people clustered at the water's edge. We'd found the Elephant Seals nesting grounds at Piedras Blancas. Wow. Imagine hundreds of these guys, ranging from the month-old pups up to the 5000 pound daddies lounging on the sand, squealing and shouting as they defend their inches of beach.
Finally reached the Hearst Castle at 4, and got into the last tour of the day. What a ludicrous place, proving that yes, it is possible to have too much money. We had a great guide, who really helped put Hearst and his guests into a historical perspective. I loved the indoor pool, with the glittery pavillions of Murano glass tiles.
Checked into our hotel in Cambria, the very nice Fogcather Inn on the beach. Ate dinner at Linn's. collapsed by 9:30.