As beautiful as everything was on our trip, I think this part was my favorite. The beauty of the area, the memories of friends visited in the past, and probably the biggest reason–I FINALLY got a bed to sleep in =).
We left Kings Canyon, as usual, early in the morning, and we headed west. It was actually a neat drive. We went from the mountains, through vineyards and fruit orchards, through desert, and finished at the ocean! We drove to Morro Bay, which is at the southern end of what is said to be the most beautiful stretch of the highway. We had fully planned on getting a hotel there, but, it was really really expensive to stay there. Even on Priceline. As much as I did not want to, we ended up camping one more night at Morro Bay State Park, which saved us over $100. We used Trip Advisor and found an AWESOME hole in the wall Mexican restaurant and walked around the downtown area until the sun went down.
Random shot of the desert like areas we drove through-Matt said it reminded him of his mission trips to Mexico.
Morro Bay’s iconic landmark, Morro Rock, at sunset.
We got up the next morning and headed north on Highway 1. Our next stop was Cambria. Cambria is a super cute little town that has a wonderful downtown area, and it holds a special place in my heart. I had some very special friends (in their 90s!) that had first been patients of mine at Vandy and then fellow church members at our church. They lived half the year in Nashville and half the year in Cambria, and I visited them about 7 years ago. It was a blessing to see him so active and happy after his surgery and therapy, and I have never felt so welcome at someone’s home. We had the BEST time while there. Sadly, he died a year or two ago, and his wife has moved to be closer to her kids. I took Matt into town, showed him all the places we went to and ate at, and we went for a walk on the boardwalk near where my friends lived. It was a beautiful walk!
Just north of Cambria, there is an elephant seal sanctuary. These sea mammals are huge and can be seen sunning themselves on the beach. When we visited this time, it was resting/migration time, so it was pretty calm. When I visited my friends during the winter last time, it was mating season. During this time, the males fight for the females, and it is quite interesting to watch!
We spent the rest of the day driving north up the coast. It is truly beautiful. A must see is Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park; it looks more like Hawaii than California. We stopped at an awesome little restaurant/store called Nepenthe to drink hot tea with a view overlooking the ocean. Several bridges along the way are known for their age, craftsmanship, and beauty. We ended the day in Monterey at a hotel I got off Priceline there; I was SOOO excited for a nice shower and a bed! =) We ate at a great Hawaiian food place downtown that night and then walked around to look at some shops in Cannery Row. We got up the next day and finished our trip up the coast with a drive through the Pebble Beach Golf Course