Before my legs were weakened by MS, they carried me to many places. I’m recounting the travels of my earlier life through a series of posts.
After living in Germany, we moved back to America. We spent some months in Oklahoma, then we went to the central coast of California. On the way, the terrain changed dramatically as we followed the highways to the west. We watched the wind blow tumbleweeds before us on long, dry stretches of flat land. We stopped and marveled at the Painted Dessert
and the Grand Canyon.
Once settled on the central coast of California, we experienced what I’m certain is the closest thing to perfect weather that exists. Temperatures usually started around 50 degrees in the morning, rose to a comfortable 70ish level midday and then cooled back down a bit in the evening. The climate was almost always predictably comfortable in the Monterey Bay area. I wore a sweater in the morning, took it off for some hours in the middle of the day and put it back on later.
The weather was conducive to growing beautiful roses outside our front door.
Often, snails could be found wandering through the garden. In that area, a cactus-like flowering ground cover called ice plant grew and spread. It doesn’t have to be mowed and weeds do not grow through it. It isn’t a good carpet for children to play on and it can leave nasty stains on clothes, but its yellow and purple flowers are lovely.
This shows Monterey Bay’s Fisherman’s Wharf.
We took a whale watching boat trip from here. (In case you’re wondering, riding in a boat on the ocean is not the same as riding in a boat on one of the Great Lakes and is not a smart idea while in the first months of pregnancy. It does, however lend an opportunity to see whales closely from a kneeling position on the boat’s edge.)
Calamari was a popular menu item at the restaurants there, but we preferred the delicious red snapper that was also offered. The barking of sea lions filled the air there and they were entertaining to watch.
Living near the Pacific Ocean was wonderful. Ice plant grew by the ocean too. Calilillies and grass also popped up amidst the rock.
Pebble Beach and the quaint city of Carmel were nearby. There we enjoyed driving around and walking on beaches, watching surfers and eating at great restaurants.
The well-known 17-mile drive is there and we happily took many visitors on it, enjoying it every time. Big Sur was a popular area along the scenic drive. Sea lions there found rocks to lounge on.
Big Sur was a popular area along the scenic drive.
It was fun to stop along the way and explore the tide pools (can you see the starfish in this one?).
Here is what they call The Lone Cypress along the drive. The tree somehow grew out of the rock and courageously stands in spite of it’s rugged surroundings.
The city of Pacific Grove was also very close. I took lessons at a beautiful golf course there.
These are trees in Pacific Grove during monarch butterfly migration. The butterflies crowd together clustered on trees to stay warm and you can see them hanging in clumps.
A fun attraction down the highway in the south direction was The Hearst Castle, built by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. http://hearstcastle.org/
Los Angeles and San Diego were a day’s drive to the south, so we visited Disneyland, Sea World, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, the San Diego Zoo, and drove to Tijuana, Mexico.
San Jose, Sacramento, Santa Cruz and San Francisco were easy day trips to the north from where we lived. We had fun at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz and shopped in San Jose, enjoying the atmosphere there. In San Francisco we took in the sights of The Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Pier 39, and Chinatown. We rode a cable car, took a tour of Alcatraz and hiked in parks. We drove up the coast through Oregon where we saw redwood forests and into Seattle, Washington where we went to Pike Place Market and up the Space Needle.
To the east, we enjoyed Yosemite National Park more than once.
The waterfalls at Yosemite made us feel very small.
We kept busy during our time in California. After four years there, we moved on and the traveling continued. Find out in my following post where we went next.