Archive for December, 2007

More of the Garden

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

In morning light the plants were just as bizarre! Many were in bloom, especially those from the southern hemisphere, perhaps because in their native land this time of year is the beginning of summer.

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An Australian tree was in bloom with what looked like little fireworks explosions of red and yellow. A hummingbird was busy harvesting the nectar in the tiny yellow flower tubes. He stopped for a second, but the iridescence of his feathers couldn’t be captured.

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El Chorro

Friday, December 28th, 2007

We left the wide spot on the road in a light mist under cloudy skies and drove the curves of Highway 1 to San Simeon. We decided not to visit the Hearst Castle again, we’ve been there many times, but we did stop at the beach that has become a new colony for breeding elephant seals. We saw many more than had been there in past visits, so they may be thriving. Our stop for two nights was El Chorro Regional Park and was a surprising gem. Early in the morning we hiked up the Eagle Rock trail to get a view of the small valley all the way to the ocean and returned through an oak woodland. We also discovered the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden in a corner of the park. We returned to the garden at dusk and took some pictures.

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The new visitor center (not completed yet) is a straw bale structure and quite impressive.

The emphasis in the garden is the plants of the Mediterranean climate zones of the world, including this area of the California coast, the central Chile coast, the western cape province of South Africa, and parts of western and south Australia as well as the Mediterranean basin itself. Some of the plants were very exotic to us and in the evening sun were even bizarre!

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Riding & Hiking

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Our last day at the wide spot on the road. We motorcycled up to the Cone Peak road and stopped at the Vicente Flat trailhead to do a little hiking. Our ride gave us fantastic views of the coast and the hike gave us lots of exercise.

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Windy Day

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

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The day after Christmas brought some wind. We walked down to the ocean shore and watched the waves come in. It was low tide so we were able to walk onto the tiny secluded beach where we saw a lone elephant seal. We thought it was a carcass until a few flicks of its whiskers and a twitch of its skin, in either case we weren’t going to approach it!

Looking down out of the camper window I saw a Peregrine falcon perched on the dead pine along the highway below us. Later it was riding the wind and cruised past our window, spying the hillside for any unwary birds. We couldn’t get the camera out in time, but here’s a picture of the view it may have had of us!

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Christmas Day

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

We took a Christmas day motorcycle ride up Nacimiento Road seven miles to the top, turned onto Cone Peak Trail forest service road for 6 miles to the end where we had a view of the Santa Lucia range foothills receding to the east.

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At the end of a wonderful day we grilled a salmon fillet and toasted the beautiful sunset.

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Christmas Eve

Monday, December 24th, 2007

“…Dreams of sugar plums dancing in their heads…” We had a few ornaments in the camper to celebrate the holiday. We don’t need a tree, because we’re usually surrounded by them!

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Hiking Mill Creek

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Half a mile up the road is the trailhead to Mill Creek. We hiked from the full sun of the coastal hillside into the dark, damp fairytale world of the redwood forested canyon.

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The Wide Spot on the Road

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

We finally returned to our favorite wide spot on Nacimiento Road, 1/4 mile uphill from Highway 1 and set up camp. Last time we were here, Dec. of 2004, there was a tremendous storm that drove us away. This time the weather forecast is much better and our first day bore that out. This is our view south down Highway 1.

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Our view of the sunset;

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Winter Solstice

Friday, December 21st, 2007

We made it to our favorite spot on the coast as the sun set on the shortest day of the year. As the golden sun approached the horizon on the wide Pacific ocean it cast our shadow on the hill across the pavement of Highway 1.

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Stuck Twice

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

We continued down the I-5 corridor, visiting friends, and made it over the Siskiyou mountains between storms. While visiting friends near Sacramento the next rain storm came through and bogged us down in their driveway, not once but twice! Thanks to Tim and his 4 wheel drive Ford Ranger, he pulled us out once, only to have us stuck again, but at least in a more level spot where we stayed for the duration. Tim pulled us out again when the skies cleared and we headed further south for more visiting.

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