After visiting Yosemite we headed back to San Francisco in order to drive down the scenic Highway 1. Once again the weather was on our side and we had glorious sunshine for the duration of the trip.
First stop was a small town.
We drove past a very typical shaped barn somewhere in the Californian countryside and stopped purely to photograph it.
We drove through an area of wind farms and I snapped this on my phone through the car windscreen. Afterwards I played around with the editing to turn it into something more interesting.
Finally we reached the Pacific and I had a flashback to my school days when I was doing my English ‘O’ level. We had to study poetry and my favourite poem of all time is called ‘The Discovery of the Pacific’ by Thom Gunn. This scene was exactly how I’d imagined it to be all these years and it was quite a moment for me. I even had a tear in my eye.
They lean against the cooling car, backs pressed Upon the dusts of a brown continent, And watch the sun, now Westward of their West, Fall to the ocean. Where it led they went. Kansas to California. Day by day They travelled emptier of the things they knew. They improvised new habits on the way, But lost the occasions, and then lost them too. One night, no-one and nowhere, she had woken To resin-smell and to the firs' slight sound, And through their sleeping-bag had felt the broken Tight-knotted surfaces of the naked ground. Only his lean quiet body cupping hers Kept her from it, the extreme chill. By degrees She fell asleep. Around them in the firs The wind probed, tiding through forked estuaries. And now their skin is caked with road, the grime Merely reflecting sunlight as it fails. They leave their clothes among the rocks they climb, Blunt leaves of iceplant nuzzle at their soles. Now they stand chin-deep in the sway of ocean, Firm West, two stringy bodies face to face, And come, together, in the water's motion, The full caught pause of their embrace.
A couple of times we tried to find sea otters as I had visions of being able to photograph these gorgeous creatures floating on their backs with a baby on their tummies. We did see some, but from a long way away and as my long lens had been stolen there was frustratingly absolutely no chance of photographing them.
Monterey is quite a tourist trap, but I’d had a tip to go to the working area. It was much more interesting with no other tourists there. (Thanks Angela Eglen! )
I like the prolific aeonium succulents that can be seen all over California.
We made many stops as we were driving down the highway.
Iceplant succulents give some colour to the ground.
There’s quite a haze from sea spray in the image below and I think it adds atmosphere.
‘The Lone Cypress’ is a Monterey cypress tree located in Pebble Beach. Standing on a granite headland overlooking Carmel Bay, the tree has become an icon and is apparently one of the most photographed trees in North America. I have to admit that I looked at it and thought ‘Really?’
We had an overnight in Big Sur and went for a walk in the forest. I liked this group of Redwoods.
In San Simeon, south of Big Sur I noticed a few elephant seals on the beach, so we pulled into a very full car park. There were a lot more than ‘a few’ and they were all lined up along the shoreline. It’s not surprising that they are called ‘elephant’ seals as they are enormous.
On our last day we wandered around Santa Barbara in the morning after another recommendation (Thanks Jo Parsons)
In the afternoon we went up to Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles as I’d seen it in a couple of films and wanted to see it in real life. Sadly it was shut so we just wandered around the grounds.
Typical Los Angeles palm trees.
Flying back from Los Angeles was the end of that road trip and we headed back to Florida.