After departing Morro Bay, I continued north along Highway 1, now bearing the name "Cabrillo Highway". Based on an ad I had seen on the local tourism cable channel, I made a sidetrip out of Cambria to check out some local fruit preserves. i was greeted by a noisy peacock, who I think was trying to say "pick the cherry!"
If this day of the trip had been an episode of The Polka Dot Door, I would have been told to "get ready, get set for animal day." North of Cambria I pulled off at a lookout, partly to snap shots of the ocean, partly to finish a delicious pork torta sandwich I picked up at a bakery in town. As soon as I hopped out of the car, a torrent of these critters dashed over. I tossed them the bits that had fallen out of the sandwich, which caused their sad eyes to quickly vanish. Now I had to make sure I didn't run over any while leaving the lot (no chipmunks/squirrels/whatever they are were harmed in the making of this post).
North of Hearst Castle, the beach at Piedras Blancas was home to a large group basking in the sunshine...a large group of elephant seals. According to a newsletter passed out to onlookers by members of Friends of the Elephant Seal, May is molting time for females and juveniles. It was way too easy to stand transfixed at the mass of seals below the observation area.
Some seals in the water, much to another observer's amusement. The wind prevented my camera from picking up the distinctive grunt of the seals.
Further south on the beach, several seals tossed sand on their molting bodies to make themselves more comfortable. I think I caught some grunts this time.
Continuing north, I entered the twisty, awe-inspiring Big Sur stretch of Highway 1. The drive wasn't as unnerving as I feared - maniacs seemed absent from the road, turnoffs for quick photo stops were plentiful, and I never felt worried about any false moves that might lead to an unintended dive off a cliff.
A flower found at one stop at the north end of Big Sur.
The overly curious could find dangers of their own (below this were the remnants of a footpath that led down to a beach via sharp drops).
Full set of pictures. All photos in this post taken on May 19, 2009 - JB