Perfect day yesterday

I’m writing while we drive along 101 looking for an open campground.  California budget cuts have resulted in a mishmash of services available at the parks.  You can’t trust the maps or internet.  The result is a couple more hours of driving than we anticipated and me typing while moving.  I hear from you that the posts are regularly read.  We appreciate all your kind messages.

Bull elephant seal
Bull elephant seal

We arrived at San Simeon Park two days ago about 8:00 PM.  Due to poor signage and mis-information from the GPS it was a complicated arrival.  We turned around twice before we found the correct turn and then passed the discretely marked entrance to find ourselves on a road bearing the warning: Not Recommended for RVs.  A half hour later we were pinioned across an intersection.  The truck and trailer blocked all lanes.  I have found the frontier where Burt and I cannot communicate.  Neither of us understands the basics of trailer backing.  It’s as if we’ve decided to conduct the business of our marriage in Esperanto.   Backing incidents have happened several times.  We get in a jam, hem and haw, say I don’t know, throw up our hands, my stomach starts to hurt and surrender to the trailer gods.  Every time we think there is no hope the trailer starts to move in the direction we envisioned at the start.  Maybe the trailer speaks Esperanto.

After that ordeal I made us soup for dinner and we hit the sack.  Early yesterday morning Burt met the ranger on his walk with Elvis.  Burt told the ranger that he had fished nearby as a child.  The ranger told Burt how he could get out to the same point.  After breakfast we headed to San Simeon point.  On the way we spotted a buzzard drying its wings.  They look like Dracula with their pitch black wings spread and there red knobby headed leering.  We turned around for a better look.  While I was taking pictures Burt spotted a bull elephant seal fishing in the surf.  It had a ginormous bulbous proboscis.  Its bark sounded like a tear-the-house-down kind of plumbing problem.  Nearby in the sand were some females.  They seemed to be between life and death.  More pictures and we were on our way.

Check out these teeth

We headed to the point.  The walk alone was lovely.  We started along the beach and then headed up the escarpment and walked through a grove of eucalyptus, cypress and Monterey pine.  WR Hearst planted the trees in the 1920s.  On the beach there was a dead elephant seal and its buzzard attendants.  The buzzards were doing a tidy job. Only the head had been eaten so they had a lot more work to do.

Out on the point we spotted a few sea otters.  I never would have believed this was possible.  The sea otter was almost extinct in the 30’s and even now there are only about 3,000 believed to be along the California coast.  So despite the odds there they were.  They were lolling about on top of the kelp beds.  One of them rolled continuously lengthwise.  It looked like an enjoyable Pilates exercise.  Only later did I realize that it might be a method of keeping watch.  At the time the otter looked so relaxed and graceful it was hard to believe it was doing it for any reason but because it felt good.  We walked along the rocks and kept watch on the kelp beds.  On our return to the truck we spotted some porpoises or dolphins (don’t know which) and a sea lion.  What a day.  When we drove back to camp we saw the remnants of Hearsts’s herd of zebras.  Now that was a surprise.

Yummy

Today we did the Hearst Castle tour.  We were both disappointed in the material presented.  It was a fluff job regarding the construction of the estate.  I enjoyed the tour but we both would have liked a more rigorous family history.  On the way back to the visitor center on the bus I spotted a bobcat.  A first for me.  Who would have guessed?

If you can’t tell, this part of California is very wild.  I was surprised by the remoteness and lack of people.  The terrain is highly convoluted.  It reminds me of the panhandle of Idaho.  There are no straight roads.

Tonight was are camped at El Capitan about 30 miles north of Santa Barbara.  We are returning to a more populous region.  You can see the Channel Island (and oil rigs) from our campsite.  Tomorrow we’ll play in the tide pools or maybe head up to the condor refuge.

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