Who knew the ocean breeze would be so cold?

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August 9th 2008
Published: August 10th 2008
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Zebras in California?Zebras in California?Zebras in California?

Sure enough, we found Zebras off the Pacific Coast Highway. I'm guessing they live at the Hearst Castle, but they were neat and unexpected!
Last night, Andrew and I huddled by the bonfire and watched the sun set over the Pacific. The beaches of San Simeon are stunning, and (as we learned this morning) a popular hangout for dolphins, seagulls and pelicans. I'll post the sunset photos in yesterday's post, since they were taken yesterday at San Simeon.

We hit the road early (8am) and drove the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) to Monterey. We stopped again to see the elephant seals. They were a bit more active this morning, hollaring and shuffling around. After a few minutes, we climbed back into the convertible to enjoy the scenery. We probably drove one more mile when I looked east into the valley and saw...

...zebras. Exactly. I turned to Andrew and told him there were zebras in the valley. Both of us perplexed but delighted, we pulled over and I snapped a few photos. There were dozens! It was the first time I'd seen zebras outside of the zoo, and they're beautiful creatures. As much as I could figure, they must have been put on the land of the Hearst Castle. Anyway, it was fun and hilarious to see them there,
Dolphins Swimming Near ShoreDolphins Swimming Near ShoreDolphins Swimming Near Shore

We woke up in the morning and found dolphins swimming in the ocean nearby.
and I'm grateful for the photo op.

We really enjoyed the rest of the drive on the PCH, although, let me tell you, it was bloody cold. Maybe it's from living inland my whole life, but I never knew how cold the coasts are. It's barely passed 70 degrees over the last couple of days, and most of the time, it's in the low 60s. I'm used to our 23 straight days of 90s and 100s, so feeling the 60 degree air in my tank tops and taking on the wind from the convertible was a little much. Sadly, I've only packed one long sleeved shirt (which I wore yesterday from the cold), and I had to put it on over my shirt again today. So let me state right now; yes, most of my pictures this week will show me wearing the exact same long-sleeved pink shirt. Oops. Maybe I'll by a touristy T-shirt from the whale watching tour place tomorrow.

The views from the PCH were absolutely incredible. Mountains seemingly rose directly out from the ocean. It was drastic and rocky, and the waves crashed on the land. We took the drive at about
The Elephant Seals AwakenThe Elephant Seals AwakenThe Elephant Seals Awaken

The elephant seals are more active in the morning!
30 MPH (both to see the sites and to keep the wind down) and pulled over frequently to enjoy the scenic views and for photos and to let other drivers pass. Close to Big Sur, we stopped at the Nepenthe restaurant. It was almost 11:30, which worked to our favor. As it turned out, Nepenthe opens at 11:30, and since we were early, we could pick our seats. We picked the bench that looked out at the coast. It was the most lovely place I've ever eaten. The water was blue, and our company was half a dozen blue jays and a handful of ravens. Loved it, loved it. Oh, and the food was good, too (though pricey). When I get home, I'll be sure to upload the pictures of the view from where we ate.

After our meal, we headed back onto the highway for Monterey. Let me say, I also love Monterey. Just as San Simeon was much smaller than I imagined, Monterey is much bigger. We got a flat tire after we checked into our fabulous Hyatt Regency, and we were grateful to learn there was a Big O Tire nearby. Andrew and I spent

Check out the little harbor seal snoozing with the enormous elephant seals!
the afternoon of our anniversary at the Big O Tire and shared a romantic cup of coffee and a piece of cake from the bakery next door to the mechanic. Actually, it was pretty cute.

After getting our tire fixed, we hit up the local Target to get swimsuits since we'd left ours in Denver so we could enjoy the pools at the Hyatt. They only had two piece suits. At first, I was disappointed, but then I decided to get in the vacation spirit. I bought the first suit I tried on, and we hit up the pool.

The pool was fun, and trees covered in ivy surrounded the Hyatt pool. It was a really fun anniversary afternoon. The Hyatt Regency is exceding our expectations in every way; definitely better than our experience at the Best Western in San Simeon! Hurray for free lemonade and bathrobes to use, as well as modern decor and a quiet place to stay.

Tonight, we're planning on ordering some room service, and if we're not too worn out from the swim, maybe we'll take an evening stroll on the beach. Tomorrow, we have a whale watching tour
Nearing Big SurNearing Big SurNearing Big Sur

As we drove along the Pacific Coast Highway, we captured some gorgeous photographs of the scenery. It's spectacular! Some parts are very rocky and coastal, and others are more green, like in this picture.
scheduled at 9am. It's a 4 hour tour, and I'm so excited and dying to see a whale. Apparently, it's humpback and blue whale season. I'm pretty sure I'll crap my pants if I see a blue whale!

I'll check in soon!

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


Us off the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)Us off the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)
Us off the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)

Highway 1 ran right along the coast. There are some drastic increases in elevation straight up from the water, which made for fantastic scenery. We pulled over every few miles for photos.
Andrew's Speechless at the California CoastAndrew's Speechless at the California Coast
Andrew's Speechless at the California Coast

Andrew enjoys watching the waves crash into the rocks.
Misty MountainsMisty Mountains
Misty Mountains

Fog poured over the mountains, giving the PCH a mystic effect.
Happy Anniversary!Happy Anniversary!
Happy Anniversary!

Here we are, on our first wedding anniversary. What an amazing place to celebrate! :)
Nepenthe RestaurantNepenthe Restaurant
Nepenthe Restaurant

We at at the Nepenthe Restaurant, just south of Big Sur. The fires came close to the restaurant, but--thankfully--it had no effect on its incredible views. We ate lunch right here looking out into the ocean. Perfect!
So Many Blue BirdsSo Many Blue Birds
So Many Blue Birds

As we ate at Nepenthe, we spotted about a dozen blue birds and nearly as many crows. The birds came quite close and even stole some other people's food.
Andrew Fixes Our FlatAndrew Fixes Our Flat
Andrew Fixes Our Flat

Hurray to Andrew and his tire changing skills!
My New Bikini!My New Bikini!
My New Bikini!

Andrew stole this photo of me in my new bikini. What's vacation without a little fun in the pool?

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