While in California for other things, Mary Ann and I went to the Monterey Peninsula and Carmel River State Beach.
We drove from home to Salinas on Friday January 15. The drive took about 11 hours, including stops to eat. We stayed at the ‘Comfort Inn Monterey Peninsula Airport’ in Monterey, which we liked. We spent Saturday morning at Point Pinos on the Monterey Peninsula. It’s a really beautiful spot. There are a ton of birds there. Some familiar, and many shore and ocean birds that are new to me. I included a few pictures. I usually pick one shot of each bird type, but I broke that rule with the Brown Pelican. The pelican is very common and, I think, quite photogenic. They look to me like Pterodactyls from the Triassic period! They are pretty tame, and at the fisherman’s wharf you can walk right up to them. We see a lot of egrets here in the desert (where there is water) and I tried to get some shots in an ocean setting. There are also two shots of the kingfisher, who we watched dive from a rock into the ocean to catch a fish. I made a stab at identifying some of the gulls that we saw.
We were hiking on some rocks trying to get closer to the Peregrine Falcon when we came upon the Harbor Seals. They were very close up and not afraid of us at all. We also saw Sea Lions out in the surf. Monterey is home to 5 different kinds of seals and sea lions.
We walked around Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, which is a fun place. We ate lunch at one of the many seafood restaurants along the wharf (Crab Louie’s Bistro). Every restaurant has somebody out front giving out samples of their clam chowder.
After lunch we drove down to Carmel By the Sea and walked around town. It’s beautiful there, with a nice beach, and the town is quite scenic. It’s also geared for high-end tourists, I think. There’s an old church there called San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission. It was established in 1770, and Saint Junipero Serro died there in 1784. There is a gift shop and a museum. We went back to Monterey for Mass at 4:00 at the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo (aka Royal Presidio Cathedral). This is also a very old church originally built in 1774. Afterwards we watched the Cardinals beat the Packers in an exciting playoff football game with an unbelievable Hail Mary pass by Aaron Rodgers to send the game into overtime, and which the good guys (the Cardinals) won in overtime.
On Sunday morning we went to the Carmel River State Beach. This is an area where the Carmel River enters the ocean. There were a lot of birds there. We didn’t have a lot of time since we needed to head home. The trailhead that we went on was south of the river in a neighborhood with some super high-end homes. We just parked on the street, and the entrance is a path on private property that the home owners allow the public to use.
We left at about 10 am and got home at about 10 pm, losing an hour due to the time zone change. We drove a total of 1463 miles, and averaged 26 mpg.
Here are the pictures: