Monday, May 26, 2008

Driving Up California's Central Coast

Yesterday I drove back from Pasadena to Monterey, an all-day drive that had all kinds of treasures along the way. I love the landscape along Hwy 101 past San Luis Obispo and through the Salinas Valley… it’s easy to understand John Steinbeck’s inspiration for his writings. The weather was complex and gorgeous all day – sun interspersed with clouds and rain, creating a beautiful play of light on the hillsides. In a daring act (probably not a wise one), I held my camera up to the windshield as I was driving to catch a few shots… one of the better ones is posted above. I don’t advise trying this… truckdrivers will give you dirty looks!

I also saw some wildlife... on a stop at Morro Bay I found a sanctuary for nesting birds, and watched as majestic white herons and cormorants flew over me towards their babies. The sound was amazing—all kinds of peeps and cries and other bird sounds. They are protected on this spit of land, and there were hundreds of birds nesting and flying towards their nests. Got some photos of that too -- including the heron landing in her nest, above.

And finally, at a rest stop along 101, I was just hanging out by a fence that protected land that sloped down toward a creek. I heard a rustling sound and stayed very quiet as a bobcat made its way out from under some brush and walked along the fence no more than 6 feet from me. I was going to take a photo, but the movement to get the camera out of my pocket caught his (her?) attention and he gave me a growl that convinced me to just stay still… even with a fence between us, he looked pretty fierce. So – no photo of mr. bobcat, you’ll just have to imagine that one!

What a day!

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