The wanderer returns

Hey there, I’m back. (Wait – you did notice that I was missing, didn’t you?) Yes, PG and I have returned from our road trip down the coast to Northern California, and we actually still enjoy each other’s company. Laundry is done, groceries are in, presents have been distributed, so now I can sit down and tell you a bit about the trip.

It had been so long since either of us had done that trip – at least twenty years! – so it was great fun to revisit it all and to refresh our memories. And especially to experience the weather down the coast. The windy, cold-than-it-looks weather down the coast.

Even in the sun it was chilly. Even when the wind wasn’t blowing it was windy. I mean, intellectually I knew this, and had clothes for this, but it’s still a bit of a surprise. PG was completely underdressed for the coast, and frequently lamented that he hadn’t brought his warm fleece hoodie.

Still, there were many walks on the beach – even barefoot ones –

and lots of spectacular scenery like this:

and this:

and this:

and this too:

Although we didn’t go to the sea lion caves near Florence OR (been there, done that twenty years ago with young DD), we did see a number of the critters lounging about here and there:

And some hung out with their friends, the birds (I have no idea what kind of birds these are – can anybody enlighten me?). While I was taking this photo, a flock of pelicans was flying above me and PG was shouting to me to take a photo of them too. Which I did not. They fly fast, those pelicans!

For some reason, these seagulls lining up for takeoff into the wind at Lincoln City OR, tickled my fancy. DD couldn’t believe that I took this photo. “Really, Mom? You took a picture of shithawks?!”

But the best wildlife sighting had to be in Carmel CA, which is one of the most adorable (albeit touristy) towns I’ve ever visited. We’d gone down to the beach and done the obligatory bundled-up barefoot walk and photo op, when PG looked out at the ocean and said sharply, “What’s that?”

His distance vision is much better than mine, so to me, it looked like a piece of driftwood. He disagreed with that and claimed that it was an otter, floating on its back. It was! We and about five other people watched it float and dive and play for about ten minutes. I took a bunch of photos, most of which showed absolutely nothing identifiable as an otter. This one is the best of the bunch, and even then it’s not great. But trust me, it’s an otter floating on its back!

I had never really registered it before, but the Oregon coast is very different from the Northern Caifornia coast. Obviously there is a big difference between Northern and Southern California beaches, but I was quite struck by how much more wild and rocky the Oregon coastline is as compared to what you see just a bit further south. I think I prefer the Oregon version – but then, we didn’t go all the way down to Big Sur, and I seem to recall that the scenery is rather spectacular around that area. Oh well – gotta save something for the next trip!

And I will also save something for my next post – San Francisco, wine country, shopping, general silliness …

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12 responses to “The wanderer returns

  1. but, what happened with the birdies you abandoned when you blithely took off for wine and cheese?

    • VioletSky – I do plan to post about that, but briefly, they’ve grown and flown. DD emailed me to tell me that she hadn’t seen any action at the hanging basket for a couple of days, and when she took a closer look, all that remained of their residency was their wee nest hidden in the foliage. So fortunately, I didn’t kill them. Whew!

  2. Welcome home! What gorgeous scenes!! Even the shithawk 🙂 I was really hoping to visit Northern California (and the blogger friends I’ve made who live there) in September. Seeing as I just got laid off, I’m not sure I’ll still be able to do it.

    • Nicky – Yeah, that needing-to-work-for-money-to-live thing is always a problem, isn’t it. I’m sure you’ll find something else soon, though. Oh – and I was thinking of you when I visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Oregon – especially when we got the free samples – mmmmm!

  3. Looks lovely. I want a vacation… I almost can’t wait for october, but then it’ll mean winter is upon us.

    Damn, It’s too lovely and hot to think about winter.

    • Jazz – I wish we had some of your hot out here. Actually, no – I wish I was back in Wine Country. It was hot there, plus there were lots of good wines to try.

  4. You just made my favorite trip and I know how cold it can get along the way. But it is beautiful, isn’t it? I love the scenery and the coastline is out of this world. Carmel is a fantastic little town. I hope you went to Sonoma where I used to live.

    • Nora – I knew that and I was SO thinking of you as we made our way around that area! But no, although we were close by Sonoma, we spent our time in the Russian River Valley (we based ourselves in Healdsburg) and did a quick loop through the Napa Valley as well. We just ran out of time – but that just means that we have to take another trip there!

  5. Glad you are home safe-and-sound and your climate considerations sound precisely the same as ours in early June (sigh). But, I absolutely love the Oregon coast (and N. California version, and S. California version and why don’t we have a coast like that other than at Long Beach?). Great photos, m’dear, and you saw pelicans, too. They cheer me greatly and I got some fabulous pictures of them in San Diego a couple of years ago. But, your shithawk is more in keeping with the general ambience of the coast.

    • mrwriteon – Someday (when I’m retired from teaching) I’d like to do that trip in September or early October, which is when all the locals tell you the weather is the best. Of course, “best” is always open to personal interpretation, isn’t it?

  6. Welcome home.
    It is almost 40C here. No need for fleece or woolies.
    That water looks so cool (in both senses of the word!)

    • VioletSky – Thanks! As much as I do love me some travelin’, it’s always good to get back to my own bed and bathroom. And yeah, I’ve just been reading about the temperatures and humidity back East and it sounds awful. Keep cool!