Elephants, Lions and Flowers

North to Oregon

On our way from the LA area up to the Oregon border, we traveled most of the way on the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1). When the coastal fog lifted, we had some beautiful ocean views. We also took a side trip or two, visited an ailing friend in Palo Alto and dropped in on the Apple Headquarters (we were only allowed in the store). We also visited Fortuna, a quaint ‘Victorian’ town South of Eureka. At San Simeon and Crescent City, we encountered some sea mammals (see below).

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Elephant Seals near San Simeon

Elephant Seals are amazing creatures. We happened on Piedras Blancas beach, 4 miles North of Hearst Castle, where a colony of 23,000 elephant seals is based. They started coming to this area only in 1990. The males develop bulbous noses (hence the name) and grow to as much as 5,000 pounds, 16 feet long. Mature males spend 8-9 months a year at sea alone and 3-4 months on land in a close knit colony. On land, the seals eat and drink nothing. Much ‘jousting’ occurs as the growing males seek to dominate their male companions. At sea they feed continuously and dive up to 3,000 feet for periods of 30 minutes. One in three elephant seals is eaten by Orcas. There was a lot of jousting going on when we arrived, mostly in the water.

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Sea Lions at Crescent City

We arrived at Crescent City and found an RV park overlooking the beach where we spent a few days catching up with some work commitments and so that Cheryl could publish our monthly community magazine. As we were falling asleep I heard what I thought was a seal bark. Cheryl convinced me that it was a dog but the next day we found a colony of Sea Lions in the Harbor. I was reminded of the famous James Thurber Cartoon (link). It turns out that Seals are fairly quiet creatures as compared with Sea Lions that bark a lot. They were definitely Sea Lions (see movie below) also identifiable by their mini ears. There must have been fish around as there were several Pelicans cruising the same area.

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Sea Lion Movie


Coastal Flowers

One of the truly beautiful things about cruising the coast of California is the quantity and quality of the perennial flowers and succulents. We particularly enjoyed the display outside the Succulent Cafe in Solvang.
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  • California Coast

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    Travels up the California Coast

  • One Comment on “Elephants, Lions and Flowers

    1. Wonderful pictures. What an exciting voyage you two are on. One year when Mer and I traveled along the coast of California on our way to see old friends in SF we stopped at San Simeon to visit the Hearst estate. It was raining cats and dogs, and the little motel we spent the nigh rain was blowing so hard that it blew in under the door. I stuffed a couple of bath towels under the door to keep from flooding us out. We jumped into bed and slept like babies. That’s some house that has a rich history of movie stars from an earlier age.
      From Cheryl: What a great story!!!!

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