15 04 2010

We have spent the past few days visiting family, working our way back to Pasadena and getting ready for what I feel is the real part of our trip. I say this because although the past three weeks or so have been incredible, they have been more of a variation on previous visits we have made to the area. We have travelled throughout the southwest on several occasions over the years and feel very comfortable just getting in a car and exploring. We have presented ourselves we many challenges and achieved equally as many goals but overall our time in the southwest has felt to me much like an  exciting extension of our normal lives. What our road trip seemed to be lacking was that feeling of newness and of being a stranger in a new place. This no doubt will be remedied in the very near future when we arrive in Vietnam and South East Asia.  What the past three weeks have provided was the opportunity to more thoroughly explore one of my favorite and spectacular regions of the country It has also given us time to  catch up with family as well as  to begin to help us adjust to the change from our normal lives to a life on the road. 

As I mentioned above we have been slowly making our way back to Pasadena after our visit to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. After a night in Fresno in the same area we later found out that we had stayed in six years ago during our road trip, we drove to Santa Clara just south of San Francisco. In Santa Clara we visited my Cousin Steven and his family including his wife Heidi and their two wonderful children Hailey and Nathan. We enjoyed a huge dinner at an Italian restaurant called Maggiano’s and also shared stories and pictures of our travels and adventures. Heidi and Hailey where heading off on a trip of their own to Maui for a week of fun just for the girls. From Stevens house we had to head south and decided to take the famous Pacific Coast Highway back to Pasadena. It was raining on and off throughout the day but we spent most of the time driving so it was not too much of a problem. We took a short excursion along what is called 17 Mile Drive, a scenic private coastal road, driving along the shore and through several famous golf courses including the Pebble Beach Links, selected as the number one golf course in America in 2008. Since greens fees where $495 plus $35 for the cart we chose to skip a game and just enjoy the scenery. 

Views Along The PCH


Justyna On Pebble Beach


Stormy Waters Along 17 Mile Drive


From there we continued along the coast heading south through Big Sur  where it was raining really hard. Highway crews where  constantly clearing rocks from the road and we where a bit worried that they might close the road due to a land slide. We eventually made it away from the sections of road that are most in danger of sliding into the sea to an area of the coast near Hearst Castle where there is a stretch of beach that thousands of sea lions come to lay out on and molt their winter fur. This was really awesome to see, it appeared that only females and the young where on the shore as apparently the males where still migrating. They come up on the beach in early april and spend three weeks lying around as they shed their outer layer. They stay on the beach because the process of molting requires more blood to circulate near their skin as opposed to when they are in the water where their blood is concentrated more around their core in an effort to keep warm. The sea lions are massive with females weighing up to 1500 pounds and males topping out at an astounding 5000 pounds. Also very interesting is that because they stay out of the water they have no way of gathering food so they fast for the duration of the molt and as a result they spend most of the time sleeping to conserve energy. 

Enjoying A Nice Long Nap


Can We Help You???


Just A Couple Of Sea Lions!After the sea lions we stopped by the Hearst Castle Visitor Center but we arrived too late for a tour so we just looked around before continuing on. We eventually settled in alittle  town called Morro Bay where we had  dinner and watched the sunset. 

Sunset Over Morro Rock In Morro Bay


We woke up on Tuesday to beautiful weather and finished up the drive back to Pasadena. We have spent the past couple of days at  Justyna’s sisters house packing, sending back our climbing gear and getting ready for the rest of our trip. Wealso  did all go out to a cool little burger place called Umami Burger in LA last night where the girls saw an actress I did not recognize but that does not mean much, they tell me her name is Jena Malone 

Today we are flying out to Hawaii. As usual we do not really have a plan but we know we are going to fly into Honolulu tonight and then take a short flight to the Big Island tomorrow where we are going to meet one of my friends in the town of Ocean View where we will be staying for a few days in a small cabin. I am not sure about internet access where we will be staying on the Big Island so I may be on my way to Vietnam before I can post again. 

Doing Some Last Minute Research




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