Monterey CA, CA
December 20, 2009
Driving out of the campground in the morning we stopped and talked with the ranger for a few minutes inquiring about all of the damage we had seen. She told us that there had been an enormous landslide in the spring caused by torrential rains pounding the hills that had been stripped of vegetation as a result of forest fires the previous year. She also told us that a lot of the damage along Highway 1 was caused by the same sequence of events in years past and that keeping the coast highway open has become a full time job.
We planned to drive into Monterey today for a visit to the famed Monterey Aquarium but first a short, or so we thought, diversion, turning into the Point Lobos State Reserve for perhaps a short walk. The ranger at the entrance let us pass using the camping receipt from last night and we asked him what the reserve held in store. He proclaimed it the “most beautiful state park in California” but we still were not prepared for the sights to behold. A network of trails took us along the coastline, through the woods and along the bluffs to the beach where the otters play and seals bask on the rocks. It is a beautiful park and on this Sunday it was filled with people out enjoying the sunshine.
December 21, 2009
After breakfast we walked along the waterfront path to the aquarium where we spent a delightful morning in Monterey’s fantastic aquarium with huge tanks and crystal clear displays of not only local undersea life but special exhibits explaining the life cycle of seahorse and dramatic displays of jellyfish, hands down our favorite. There are decks on the bayside and an outdoor amphitheater for programs probably during the summer months. This day it was crowded with families; we guessed the local schools have already begun their Christmas vacations although walking back to the hotel in the warm sun it was hard to imagine that this is late December.
Having decided to forego visits to Michael and Naoko and a stop in the Napa Valley in favor of trying to make it home by Christmas we left Monterey and headed toward I-5 making it as far as Vacaville CA.