Down to Monterey Bay
Today's travels took us down to Monterey Bay with several stops on the way there and back. A quick breakfast at the hotel, camera charged, and backpack packed, we were ready for more California scenery.
Our first stop off of CA1 was a visit to Seacliff State Park. The park has an old boat at the end of the pier that you could once walk on, but has now been closed. There were birds everywhere, making the old boat their sanctuary and pier & surrounding areas very dirty. I had expected more scenic beaches with a name of Seacliff, so I was disappointed when we found no actual cliffs. In fact it was not a pretty beach or park at all. I was even more disappointed in the fact that I had to pay $10 to enter the park and only stayed 10 minutes. Live and learn.
We moved further down the road and stopped at Zmudowski State Beach. This beach was not the easiest to find and in a very remote area. The road to the beach travels between miles and miles of strawberry fields . The fields are slowly taking over the
road, so it is not in the best condition. We reached the end of the road and had to climb up a massive dune of sinking sand but was rewarded with a nice beach and some sea animals ( seals or dolphins) playing in the surf. There was evidence of horse riders on the beach, but we did not see any. We were the only ones at the beach, which was nice but also a bit eerie given the remoteness of it.
Our next stop was a few miles further south at Marina State Beach. This beach was much easier to locate and more crowded, but still nice. We watched some paddle surfers for a while and what we think were seals out in the ocean with them. The weather was cold and windy, so we did not stay long. This beach is popular for hang gliders, but we did not see any - although we did see someone flying through the air on our way back through at the end of the day.
We then went in to Monterey Bay to visit the aquarium and once again encountered more school field trips. The aquarium was very crowded
but loved the location. It is right on the beach of the bay and focuses more on the animals found in that area which was interesting to learn about. We even saw seals sunning on rocks outside the aquarium. Shelby was disappointed that they did not have dolphins, whales or beluga whales. I guess since the Atlanta aquarium has them, she expects an aquarium next to the ocean to have them too. I gave Shelby my camera to take photos in the aquarium and she took close to 200! The aquarium is located on Cannery Row so the buildings in the area have an appeal all on their own. Most of the buildings have been turned into shops and restaurants, so Shelby was able to do a little shopping - which she has been wanting to do the entire trip. Stephen could not have cared less about shopping, but was a good sport.
We stopped for lunch at Bubba Gumps in the bay area. We had our Forest Gump trivia knowledge tested by our waitress and we were successful in answering all the questions, but didn't win a prize. After lunch we browsed a few more stores before heading
We decided to take a scenic route around the Bay Area since we were already there. Ocean View Blvd and Sunset Dr hug the coastline right past the aquarium. This route offered fantastic rugged cliff and rock views of the coastline. We stopped several times to take photos, rock climb, and look for sea creatures. And on our last stop we were rewarded with a group of seals resting on the rocks very close by. We watched them for a while and then moved on. We considered the drive around Pebble Beach, known as 17 mile drive, but from what I read the views we had already seen were just as good and the 17 mile road required an entrance fee. So we decided to skip the world renown golf course and head back to San Jose. I did not go to CA to see a golf course, so I do not feel like missed anything. Others may disagree, but they were not in the car with us.
It had been a full day of sights, so we headed back to the hotel and was reminded of a news story we had heard last night -
that the President was going to visit the San Jose area today. That set in a bit of worry about how that would affect the traffic flow for us. Lucky for me, the GPS must have known even though the road info has not been updated in 3 years, for she took me a back-way directly to the hotel. Many of the roads, including the one right beside our hotel has been blocked. Apparently he is speaking at an event somewhere nearby tonight and at the hotel right across from us in the morning. I hope he does not cause us to miss our flight due to traffic constraints. Roads will be blocked and police guarding the area all night and part of the day tomorrow.
Donald's conference ended about the same time we reached the hotel. We once again walked about 5 blocks to dinner and I feel no guilt about the huge chocolate chip cookie I had for dessert! I have walked/climbed a lot today. The whole family is in the lobby utilizing the wifi. We now have to get everything packed up for we head home tomorrow.
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