Four Foto Friday – Cali Capers Continue

It’s Friday again! We’ve just arrived at a KOA south of San Francisco and we’re still finding lots to enjoy about California. Here’s a little glimpse of the past week…

Auto Tour and Santa Monica Pier
As we left the San Diego area, we decided to do a bit of a driving tour of some well-known spots on our way back to pick up Harvey (the RV) near LA. We saw the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theater (which is now renamed TCL Theater and oddly enough, had a Jack Sparrow look-a-like and a Micky and Minnie walking around out front), got a glimpse of the iconic Hollywood sign, and drove down the palm tree-lined streets of Beverly Hills and Rodeo drive. Our driving tour ended at the Santa Monica Pier, which also happens to be the end of the old Route 66 and was crowded with people enjoying a warm evening at the beach.

This photo was taken at Pacific Park, a mini-amusement park that sits right on the pier. The boys used a bit of their “fun money” (saved last spring from selling some of their things at the ISB car boot sale as we were getting ready to pack out of Beijing) to enjoy the rides and games.

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Monterey Bay area
After a brief stop in Oceano (near Pismo Beach) that included time at a pool with water slides and a hot spring mineral bath, we got on the road to the Monterey area. A big highlight for us here was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Aquarium sits near the old Cannery Row (for you Steinbeck fans), which has now been converted into a touristy, but pleasant, walking area. The aquarium did a great job of combining the animal exhibits (puffins, tentacles, jellies, touch pools were some favorites) with raising awareness about conservation and research being done to support these aquatic animal populations. Of particular interest to me was the sea otter exhibit (I just love those little creatures!).

If you happen to like sea otters, too, you might be want to watch an older movie called Ring of Bright Water – it is a good film, but I’m giving you a warning now so that if you watch it, you aren’t taken by surprise like I was (yes, MKS, I’m lookin’ at you!)…the otter star of the movie meets his demise during the film.

In other sea otter news, there was a wild otter that visited the boat basin behind our RV park each day, and I enjoyed just watching him floating around, grooming himself, and just being otterish. Ahhh, the simple pleasures.

Sea otter cuteness at Monterey Aquarium

Sea otter cuteness at Monterey Aquarium

Big Sur
This week, we’ve frequently said that we understand why so many people love California. It has beautiful shoreline, green mountains, lots to do, nice weather, and friendly people. As we drove along Highway 1 through the Big Sur area, we were constantly oohing and ahhing. We stopped in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and had a picnic lunch in view of a waterfall that falls into the ocean and then made our way to Pfeiffer Beach where a gorgeous, beachy cove appears at the end of a long, bumpy road, and a short walk through a tree-lined path. While here, he boys enjoyed skim boarding in the freezing water. We ended the day in the quaint town of Carmel-by-the-Sea where we had dinner and were able to catch the sunset on a beach that is backed by some of the most unique beach homes we’ve seen. We even got a view of an interesting Frank Lloyd Wright house that is shaped like the prow of a boat and sits on an outcropping of rocks on the beach.

Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach

This week saw us in the car a lot but luckily, many of these drives were beautiful and so the miles seemed to pass by quickly. Take a look here at a gorgeous section of Highway 1.

Highway 1, California

Bixby Bridge, Highway 1, California

And from here, we continue North and look forward to some time in San Francisco!

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