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Old 02-13-2011, 08:41 PM   #241
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(Continued from Previous Post)


Road to Piedras Blancas – “What are those rocks, mum?”


We were late leaving Pismo and tried to tear up towards the Cabrillo Highway to make up some time. But either I had forgotten or things had changed from the last time we traveled this road – there were a HEAP more traffic lights than I remember; and a ton more housing estates hugging the road all the way to San Luis Obispo.

We knew we couldn’t change our late leaving…so we decided to make the best of things and stick with our planned ‘must-do’ stops.

Sadly, this meant that I couldn’t stop at every turn on the Cabrillo, as I had originally hoped for a more leisurely drive up; and so I took a couple of shots from the car to give you an idea of the road.






As we headed towards San Simeon, I kept an anxious eye out for our next animal stop. I was on the look-out for Piedras Blancas. In my pre-trip research, I’d worked out that there would be some wildlife about in winter at this stop….but I’d failed to take notice of the details for where this specific location was. All I knew was that it around San Simeon. And the map that I was using wasn’t showing any Piedras Blancas on it!

So, when we breezed through San Simeon and could see Hearst Castle, I thought I had completely missed it!




And then….DS asked…..”what are those rocks on the beach, mum?”….and I saw a heap of cars on the road with people looking at the ‘rocks’.




It turns out that Piedras Blancas is located just north of San Simeon and there is a colony of Elephant Seals that come to this beach….a lot of them!




No one got too close, but you can practically walk right up and almost touch the seals.




The pleasing thing about this colony was the number of seal pups sunning themselves with their parents. Maybe it was the time of year, but I sure hope this means that this species is sticking around forever.




The seals knew how to enjoy themselves in the sand.




Whilst us humans just enjoyed being amidst the ‘rocks’.




DS knew better than to touch them…but he was curious as to why they were called Elephant Seals…so, he decided a little bit of up close and personal time was needed.






I think he figured it out!

And with a final look, and the sun as a reminder that time was moving on…




…we left this stop and pushed on up the coast.


I knew that we had very little daylight left and the fog was rolling in…




…but there were a number of spots that just screamed out “STOP”! on the way.




Particularly when there was a steep precipice on the other side; and a perfect turn-out for us to come to a screeching halt.




But time waits for no one…and we kept driving up…




…making the occasional stop when DH could finally take no more of my non-photo clicking activity and he needed to grab a sound fix.




I was reminded of how desolate and harsh this part of the world can be…




….no cell phone coverage! Enough to make you look twice at the steep rocks around!




Onward we pushed….




…along the Road to…

(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:46 PM   #242
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(Continued from Previous Post)


Road to McWay Falls – Impossible Natural Beauty


I wish I could claim that it was my impeccable precision planning that took us to Julia Pfeiffer State Park and McWay Falls near to sunset. Sadly, I suspect that we owe this happy circumstance more to my dawdling son and his nachos for lunch than any of my planning.

During my PTR research, I had come across a picture of McWay Falls and I just KNEW that I had to stop there for myself. No.Matter.What.

So, just for usnuzuloose – the No.Matter.What. came at the cost of 45 minutes for our DisMeet.

What an Impossibly stunning natural beauty this place is!

We found the turnoff to Julia Pfeiffer State Park and made the detour off the Cabrillo. We parked the car and walked down the ubiquitous ¼ mile walk to the overlook.




We walked through a tunnel…




…and I kept looking at the sunset as we walked down to the vista point. Sadly, it was not going to be one of those cloudless sunsets for me. Nor was I going to be taking pictures basking in the warm orange red tones of the sun.




And then suddenly…there it was.

McWay Falls is one of two falls in the Central California coast that fall straight on to a beach, otherwise known as a ‘tidefall’. It is located at Big Sur. The drop is about 80 feet. There is no access to the beach from the trail we walked on.

I took quite a few shots of the waterfall… yes, I’ve posted quite a few here… but you’ve come on my TR journey so far, so I don’t think the quantity is any surprise. I can only hope that my pictures do this impossibly natural beauty justice. I know I’ll always remember this stop.

















I kept an eye on the setting sun…




…because I needed a picture of sunset for the photography board. It will come down to one of these three:








(I’m leaning towards the 3rd shot, as it showcases the sunset more than the falls. What is your preference? Thoughts?)


And with a last look at the Falls, we headed on back towards the car.




We had stayed for as long as I dared. It was way late and time to head along the Road to….





[Up Next – Another DisMeet Night]
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:40 PM   #243
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I am loving all your pics they are so awesome. You have a wonderful family and you enjoy everything you do together. You are going to be so way done before someone else. I am looking forward to reading more. This TR rocks!
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:50 PM   #244
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Ok... you are updating at an incredible speed, where do you find the time? Of course I am happy you are updating at an incredible speed because your posts are always so interesting.

Solvang looks like the most beautiful and quaint little village, pity you couldn't find the Tiffany lamp though The inn you stayed in looks pretty as well.

Pismo beach looks great as well... BUTTERFLIES, look at all the butterflies. Incase my user name didn't clue anyone into the fact, I LOVE BUTTERFLIES. I can't believe how many of them there are. You are so lucky to have been there at the right time.

Your DS is certainly brave getting so close to the elephant seals, they do look like rocks a bit I am in agreement with you. It is wonderful seeing animals out in the wild.

And finally good job on the pictures of McWay falls, what a great photogenic spot.

I am now wondering why I didn't add more time into my holiday so I could explore more of California I guess that is the aim for next time.
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Old 02-14-2011, 03:14 AM   #245
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Ok, I need to learn from you. How do you post so many photos so quickly?!?!? I find the photo bit to be my rate limiting step. What great shots by the way. There's some pretty stunning scenery in there.

Love the banana, it fixes everything. My kind of parenting!

And those seals are HUGE!
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:44 PM   #246
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Your pics are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:33 PM   #247
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I love how you work so hard on these while I sleep and the next day wake up with somthing to look forward to. In this case sealife and grand oceanside vistas.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:25 AM   #248
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Beautiful pic's Princess. Enjoying your report on the coast; we are heading up to San Francisco via San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle and now you are giving me all sorts of idea's that I will have to incorporate into our itinerary! With your love of photography I'm sure you have visited The Great Ocean Road, your photo's remind me of it.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:55 AM   #249
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Lovely photos, I've taken that road, but never saw the views that you had!
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:16 AM   #250
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I forgot to ask earlier. Can I confirm that if you order the picnic, you don't have to get a fastpass for WOC?
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:20 AM   #251
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usnuzuloose View Post
I am loving all your pics they are so awesome. You have a wonderful family and you enjoy everything you do together. You are going to be so way done before someone else. I am looking forward to reading more. This TR rocks!
Thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying the TR. Yup! My family love doing things together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuirkyButterfly View Post
Ok... you are updating at an incredible speed, where do you find the time? Of course I am happy you are updating at an incredible speed because your posts are always so interesting.

Solvang looks like the most beautiful and quaint little village, pity you couldn't find the Tiffany lamp though The inn you stayed in looks pretty as well.

Pismo beach looks great as well... BUTTERFLIES, look at all the butterflies. Incase my user name didn't clue anyone into the fact, I LOVE BUTTERFLIES. I can't believe how many of them there are. You are so lucky to have been there at the right time.

Your DS is certainly brave getting so close to the elephant seals, they do look like rocks a bit I am in agreement with you. It is wonderful seeing animals out in the wild.

And finally good job on the pictures of McWay falls, what a great photogenic spot.

I am now wondering why I didn't add more time into my holiday so I could explore more of California I guess that is the aim for next time.
Yeah. Pity. We. Couldn't. Find. The. Tiffany. Lamp.

Still, it gave us an excuse to walk into every antique and home shop in Solvang.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shushh View Post
Ok, I need to learn from you. How do you post so many photos so quickly?!?!? I find the photo bit to be my rate limiting step. What great shots by the way. There's some pretty stunning scenery in there.

Love the banana, it fixes everything. My kind of parenting!

And those seals are HUGE!
It's called trashing DH's work bandwidth...

I'm in serious trouble and may be MIA for the next couple of days so that he can WORK!! Really? His work is getting in the way of my TR!

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Originally Posted by tiggrbaby View Post
Your pics are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingfast View Post
I love how you work so hard on these while I sleep and the next day wake up with somthing to look forward to. In this case sealife and grand oceanside vistas.
Sadly, WORK will be getting in the way of my hard work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieDisneyNut View Post
Beautiful pic's Princess. Enjoying your report on the coast; we are heading up to San Francisco via San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle and now you are giving me all sorts of idea's that I will have to incorporate into our itinerary! With your love of photography I'm sure you have visited The Great Ocean Road, your photo's remind me of it.

Glad to help! I've visited the GOR but this was before I got into photography. A friend of mine has a brother that is a professional photographer and he runs overnight trips down the GOR for photography nuts and teaches them how to take shots. I was thinking of signing up for a trip this summer; but given how wet it's been, I'm kinda glad that I decided to put it off until next year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
Lovely photos, I've taken that road, but never saw the views that you had!
Thanks....sometimes I thought it was surprising what the camera saw as well. I've driven down that road several times now and in different seasons. It changes every time and I see things differently each time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by shushh View Post
I forgot to ask earlier. Can I confirm that if you order the picnic, you don't have to get a fastpass for WOC?
Yes, if you order the picnic, you don't have to get a fastpass for WOC. It was really, really, really hard for me to walk past the fastpass machines that morning and NOT stop to get some!

I ordered my picnic 1 month in advance, because that was as far in advance for what the system would let me do. I believe it used to be 2 months in advance and may be that way for September.
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:35 AM   #252
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Road to Monterey – Usnuzuloose Part 1

We were still in Big Sur and heading towards Monterey very late in the day. I was getting anxious as I had one more “Friends in a Box” meet to make.

I had promised to call usnuzuloose when we got into Monterey and – stupid me – I had mentioned a 4 pm’ish arrival time.
Hey – I had originally planned for an after 2 pm arrival!

Did you know that there is no cell phone coverage in Big Sur? For that matter – did you know that there is no cell phone coverage from about past Hearst Castle in San Simeon onwards?

With no cell service, it proved impossible to let usnuzuloose know what was happening!

Well – in case you drive this way – it isn’t until you get about 26 miles from Monterey that service is restored. And if anyone from a US cell phone service provider is out there and reading this, call me…should you want someone to drive around the PCH testing out coverage. I’m more than happy to go across the country for that project!

I sat in the car with cell phone in hand and the minute the 4 towers appeared, I called her. It was 5.30 pm by this time and she was heading towards the Wharf and Cannery Row, thinking that we had arrived. I broke the news to her as gently as I could….straight like a bull in a china shop….and when she heard where we were, she knew that she had at least another hour to kill before we even got to our hotel.

I KNOW I finished the conversation telling her No Canned Creamed Corn for our meet….which I *hoped* rather than thought, she would stick to.


(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:37 AM   #253
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Portola Inn and Spa


I have to digress here to talk about our hotel for the night – the Portola Inn and Spa. I had asked around on the boards and usnuzuloose had confirmed that this was a nice place to stay.

We arrived at the Portola after 6 pm and when we drove up to the property, I wondered if I had picked the right hotel for the night. I had thought that it was a convention hotel – complete with business peoples in suits, quietly sipping chardies, exchanging business cards on their smart phones. And we were checking in at the weekend; so I figured we would have the weekend tourists to deal with.

I was NOT expecting a convention to be on at the Portola…and it wasn’t any staid business convention….judging by the crowd outside, it was a rowdy, screeching laughs, beer cans everyone and a graveyard full of motorbikes being fired off at full pelt! N-O-I-S-Y was the only description for what was going on outside the Portola.

We pulled into the driveway the best we could, trying hard not to hit the people that kept insisting on leaping out in front of our car.

As I walked into reception, I could not believe it possible; but it was even MORE noisy than the outside. I seriously wondered if I should forego my money and seek a quieter hotel as I approached the front desk.

I had booked a standard room via the website so I was pleasantly surprised to find that we had been upgraded to a habour view room. The convention was a real noisy one and I guess management must have thought we were less likely to complain if we had a view to soothe us for the lack of sleep.

Despite being on a higher floor, we could still hear the street party outside with the doof-doof music and high-octane cycles. Oh Well!

The noise did die down at midnight and despite earlier concerns, we all got a decent night’s sleep….until the high octane cycles kick started at 7 am. But by that time, I was already awake.

I was to find out in the morning that the convention was one for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. I’m glad I found that out the morning after….and given the alcohol I had seen consumed, I wondered how many of them were still practicing recovering alcoholics?

Our room was nice…










…and the view? Well, you’ll have to wait until I post about tomorrow morning to find out; because, when I walked out on the balcony, I couldn’t see much either!


(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:42 AM   #254
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Usnuzuloose Part 2, Corn and all the fixin’s


Usnuzuloose and I met on the Old Fogies thread on the Community Board. Anyone over the age of 30 can just mosey on down and forget to check in every now and again.

Franandaj also hangs out there with us. (NOTE: Franandaj, DisneyFirefly and I also hang out on the Last To Post thread in the games section of the Community Board. We definitely need new members on that thread!)


Needless to say, we old fogies need to take our dose of Gingko Biloba and eat Canned Creamed Corn on a daily basis to aid our non-existent memories. We mostly forget to do so. And because I pull in night shift duties, I seem to end up having to clean up the rec room on a fairly regular basis. Assuming that there hasn’t been a food fight, the level of mess just depends on whether DEPENDS has been used by the day shift members or not!

And if you should wander in the rec room and find some teeth, please let us know…one of the members is missing a set.


Usnuzuloose must have had one of those Old Fogies moments on the thread one day…because she expressed the wish to meet some of the members on the thread. Well….if you are going to publicly make an announcement like that…I’m going to pounce! So, before she knew what happened, I’d pretty much cornered her and we had a meet arranged for Monterey.

After settling into our room and dropping the bags, I called usnuzuloose and arranged to meet her at Fisherman’s Wharf; or somewhere in between.


She said she was wearing pink and would be easy to spot…..probably true during the daytime! But with my old fogies eyes and the rose coloured glasses I wear, every pale colour seemed white or pink in the night.

Yet spot her I did. I just figured we were walking in opposite directions and when I gauged roughly where halfway was; I just called out her name. She was 10 paces away.

As always, it is such a pleasure to meet someone face-to-face and to put a voice and facial expressions to the typing fingers. Usnuzuloose was as delightful in person as she was on the Boards.

We walked down towards the Wharf, chatting away and picking up from where we left off on the various threads. She had picked out Gilbert’s as our dining restaurant for the night and we headed in to settle down for the night.

DH took these pictures of us; and I really wished I had taken some more later that night.




But we were sitting side-by-side, which made photo taking an awkward business for me. So I had to rely on DH.




Still….

We got on with the business of ordering and checked out the menu…




…and after placing our orders, we got on with the business of catching up.


We exchanged our gifts…and I just *knew* that my request of “No Corn” was going to get ignored!




She had brought Canned Corn – whole kernels; not creamed – and all the fixin’s to go with it. Not just the fresh artichoke; but the whole barrel of laughs for the night!


We then got on with the business of eating…

I ordered the seafood paella…which was very tasty…




….and because it was considered an entrée, I got a free appetizer thrown in. Fried zucchini flowers.




Unfortunately, way too much flour and not enough flower, plus it was a little bit on the greasy side for my tastes.


All the food was catching up with DH and he settled for the clam chowder in the bread bowl.




By all accounts, delicious.


Usnuzuloose picked the scallops. She can post what she thought of her meal.




The pick of the night, at least for the 3 dishes that my family had, was undoubtedly the Fish and Chips that DS ordered.




I thought the fish tasted very fresh and the chips were nicely cooked.


DH and DS beat a hasty retreat after dinner. It had been a long day and drive for us and I think they were anxious to just have a lazy night resting in the room. I suspect they were not in the mood to be ignoramied...


I was keen to maximize face time with usnuzuloose and we stayed behind. We had a great time catching up and must have laughed the night away. I know we spent a bit of time talking about my Hunchback pictures. I lost track of how much corn was on offer that night and if usnuzuloose had brought the corn, she also brought the main course plus all the fixin’s.

It was far too soon time to head back to the raucous party happening at the Portola and we said our goodbyes.

Usnuzuloose – I sure enjoyed meeting you! And I hope to be able to see you again in the future.






[Up Next – Day 5]
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:17 PM   #255
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I am sorry about the hotel. Who would have thought it was noisy. Very nice room though. My dinner was tasty. I had scallops. I so enjoyed my time with you. I hope in the future we can meet again hopefully on your turf so I may visit where you live. I hope you got to look around the next day before you moved on. It was a beautiful day when you were to arrive. Nice pics. Looking forward to hearing some more.
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