Visit to the California Coast

March 1-4, 2009

On the day we planned to fly to San Francisco, we had a freak snowfall in Atlanta which covered the wings of the aircraft we were to fly on. This required them to de-ice the plane and we sat on it for five hours for that to be done. We then flew to San Francisco, arriving after 11PM local time, and requiring until 2am to get a rental car and get to our motel in San Jose. We had at that point been up 24 hours, so we were whipped.

We had made plans to visit Monterey and would then visit Pebble Beach. From there we drove north to San Francisco and then on to Wanda's at Dunnigan for the family gathering.

But we slept well and awoke refreshed and took off for the California coast on Monday, March 2. We drove across to Santa Cruz and then out on the coast to Davenport where we had a very nice late breakfast.

It was raining and windy. Brenda is standing beside our tiny rental Toyota which we immediately dubbed "the gnat".

We had a relaxing drive along the coast in sometimes pouring rain, enjoying the crashing surf on the left and the green hills on the right. We enjoyed the farming country and the herds of cattle. With that view, one of us will come up with "He owns the cattle on a thousand hills." from Psalm 50:10-11:

"For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine."

Brenda beat me to it this morning.

The fog and rain lent a feeling of mystery to the coast. We were intrigued with the plant cover - the individual plants looked like aloe, but they had flowers like cactus and the impression of the heavy ground cover was like giant sedom.

The road skirted close to the coast, giving us lots of views of the surf crashing against the rocks.

Brenda was glad she had taken her light raincoat. The surf and rain and the cool temperature reminded us of Wales, particularly the Holyhead area.

We started getting views of the distant Pigeon Point Lighthouse which changed dramatically in perspective as we drove along. Because of the remaining fog, the scenes looked like pastel paintings.

At one point on the beach in view of the lighthouse, we came across this large meeting of birds on the sand. It was by where a stream came into the surf, but we didn't see any evidence of a food supply. Who called that meeting?

It was windy all along the coast, and really blowing a gale on the head where the lighthouse stood.

But the pelicans were loving it! They were up soaring in the wind.

It is really hard to stop taking pictures of a lighthouse, but I decided on this photo as the representative one. I was just mesmerized by the rough sea crashing against the rocks.

Brenda with a view back down the coast road we had traveled. At right is a view of the waves crashing in on the rocks of the lighthouse point.

About 10 minutes further up the coast the rocky bluffs were lower and lighter in color. There were dramatic waves pounding the shoreline.

I was fascinated by the groups of pelicans that would cruise along inches above the violent surf. We saw many more on this day of storms than on the calmer days that followed. They seem to prefer the windy days and violent seas.

More pelicans
We drove on up the coast as far as Pescadero.We then returned to Santa Cruz and continued south to Monterey. We didn't spend much time in Monterey, but we stopped on the north end of town and watched some guys surfing with the aid of big kites. We then drove back to Watsonville for the evening.

Back to Monterey

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