By the end of the 2 weeks we were itching to get going again. Mike got back, took a day off and said “OK LET’S GO!” Part man, part machine, I thought I could hear the Six Million Dollar Man sound effects as he packed up his bike. Just like that we were back on the road with our energetic tour guides leading us south.
Mike and Kati wanted to take us down the 17 mile drive in the Monterey Peninsula but checking online ahead of time we discovered motorcycles were prohibited, something about motorcycles being too loud :(. Ah, the ‘loud pipes save lives ideology strikes again.
We stopped for a picnic lunch on the beach at Carmel Bay instead and got treated to some seals fishing for their own lunch along the breaking surf and a very large pod of dolphins doing the same a bit further out in the bay. I didn’t realize till later when I looked at a map that the famed Pebble Beach golf course is located off 17 mile drive. Thanks to Tiger Woods golf video games, there was a time when I could tell you every break on every green on that course. Except for the prohibitive cost, playing here was at one time on my bucket list.
Alas we continued south along the incredibly scenic highway 1 past Big Sur to Limekiln State Park campground where we camped out for the night. This absolutely stunning stretch of road turned out to be a fantastic consolation prize.
After setting up our tents at Limekiln, we hopped back on the bikes and Mike led us to another gem down the highway, Nacimiento road.
The following morning Mike took me for a hike through Limekiln State Park to see the remains of several kilns from the late 1800’s that were used to harvest limestone from the area. What was interesting was the redwood forest we were hiking in had been completely eradicated during that time when they used the wood to fuel the kilns. Yet here we were walking through a beautiful fully grown forest, gotta love how nature takes care of itself. Sadly no pics as my iPhone ran out of juice. On the way back we passed another camper packing up his site, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the winter parka, hat and gloves he was wearing. Here I was in short sleeves sweating. It was about 16C out. Proof I guess that I wasn’t quite ‘California soft’ yet.
A little further south along highway 1, we made a pit stop at the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. Although they can be found all over the world they seem to like this spot in California. Nearly hunted to extinction in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for the oil in their blubber, their numbers have managed to skyrocket from around 50 to 175,000.
The males fight for breeding rights and dominance over a section of beach. It appears beach front property is highly sought after even in the animal kingdom. The battles can get pretty bloody leaving them with serious scars on their chest. Apparently these 2 males were just practicing for the main event later in the season.
We had a fairly short ride to Morro Bay for brunch and to set up our tents again. We also made reservations to play tourist for the rest of the day.
Welcome to Hearst Castle, 65,000 square feet, 165 rooms & 127 acres of gardens of pure opulence!
Restoring the smoking room. Estimated time of completion…oh about 10 years, for real. This guy was using a Q-tip to clean the ceiling and the lady doing the tour said it was a 10 year project to restore this one room.
The following day we were awake at 5am and the four of us went out for some very early morning coffee. Due to previous commitments, Mike and Kati had to make an early departure and head back. A few weeks ago we met a complete stranger who opened up his garage, his home and his heart to us. Today we said goodbye to two amazing individuals that we can only describe as…family.
We really can’t thank you guys enough for everything.