Thursday, January 30, 2014

Big Sur, San Simeon, and Cambria - Dating my Husband

If you missed our first day in Big Sur, check out THIS post.

Saturday morning we woke up to the Pacific Ocean. We laid in bed for a little while and just listened to the waves crashing. We were both pretty tired, as we had been up for a few hours in the middle of the night after my "An animal is crawling on our tent" debacle. We mapped out our day, once we woke up. Our view from our bed at Kirk Creek Campground:
It was pretty chilly in the morning, but considering it was January in Big Sur - we really lucked out. It was probably only in the 40's or 50's.
The very first thing on our agenda was to drive up the coast to get breakfast and coffee. We had planned on going to Hearst Castle later in the day, so we drove South on the 1 and stopped about 14 miles North of Cambria, California at the Coastal Trail, to see the Elephant Seal Colony. There are hundreds and hundreds of elephant seals birthing and mating in the rookery. We were super fascinated with the male to female ratio, as there are hardly any males. There were lots of pups and still some pregnant females. Apparently the males start mating about three weeks after a female gives birth. Crazy! 
They do this hilarious thing where they splash sand on themselves, so all you see is sand flying in the air all over:
We only meant to stop for a few minutes, but we were cracking up at this one particular male, who just kept trying to find females to mate with. The ones who bit him or put up a fight made him try harder, but eventually he'd roam back down the sand to find some other poor female. (Bet you didn't know you were going to get an "Elephant Seal Mating Lesson" when you stopped by The Howard Bunch...did you?).
 Afterwards, we continued our drive up the coast to Cambria, California. The weather was just breathtaking!
Our guidebook didn't go all the way to Cambria so we had to just drive around and find a good restaurant. We finally got service on our cell phone, so I was able to look up a restaurant and we stumbled upon the Redwood Cafe in Cambria. We sat outside on the patio (it was in the 60's at this point) and had eggs benedict, french toast, and - most importantly - lots of coffee! It was delicious!
After breakfast we went back to San Simeon (we had passed San Simeon to get to breakfast) and went to Hearst Castle. I've been before, but Mr. Howard had never been! We took the Grand Rooms Tour and had a great time (although hubby would have liked to do the Upstairs Suite Tour as well...had we known we could have handled two back-to-back tours...we totally would have done that!). The picture below was taken outside of the Assembly Room:
These are the spectacular views that William Randolph Hearst and his wife, Millicent, and later his mistress Marion Davies got to wake up to every morning:
Their pool is spectacular:
More views:
Hubby and I both liked the indoor pool better than the outdoor one. It was pretty darn spectacular:
Here's the view after our tour, when we went back to the coast. This is taken from the bottom of the hill. You have to board a bus to go to the top of Hearst Castle. Can you see it at the very top middle? William Hearst never called it a castle because he already had a castle in Wales; he formally named it "La Cuesta Enchantada" or The Enchanted Hill, and referred to it as "The Ranch." But afterwards, it became known as the castle because of how it looked from San Simeon.
After our Hearst Castle tour, we went to the French Corner Bakery in Cambria for lunch. Hubby had a hot pastrami (bottom right) and I had an Italian meatball sandwich. Holy moly deliciousness. 
We had originally planned on going back to the same campground that we had stayed at the night before, but hubby and I decided in the morning that we wanted to try another site - so we could get a better feel for Big Sur and could come back to visit with friends and family. We researched a few different ones and settled on Pfeiffer Big Sur - because it was a little more "in town." There was a restaurant right at the campground, a gift shop, a grocery store, and there were good hikes right there. The one we had stayed at the night before had nothing near it at all (no store...no cell phone reception...no restaurant), which was perfect as a date spot - but wouldn't work if we wanted to bring the kids.
We got there at about 4pm and set up our site. This one was definitely not on the coast. Views of ocean were replaced by beautiful redwoods. And I liked it. 
First we hiked/walked back to the restaurant through the redwoods (it was maybe a mile) at Pfeiffer Big Sur Lodge. We started with the Fried Zucchini, which was like no fried zucchini I had ever had. It almost tasted like it was beer battered. It was delicious. I had the Fish and Chips and hubby had a Black and Blue Burger. Everything was AMAZING.
Here was the zucchini. Mmm.
And then we decided to go on a hike to Pfeiffer Falls. It started out in daylight and ended in complete darkness. Hubby and I have always wanted to do a night hike, so we can now cross that off our bucket list.
Here was us at the Falls. Can you see how COMPLETELY DARK it is?!?
We never did see the falls (although I googled pictures when we got home so I could see what it looked like) because it was so dark. I took a video at the top of the Falls, because it was just too darn funny that it was SOOO dark. I don't think I was prepared for that. Darkness in a city is SO different than darkness amidst the redwoods. And we didn't have a moon at all, so that made a difference. The sky was just filled with beautiful stars, which I have to say was mostly not scary - but just VERY romantic. We were definitely the only ones on the trails for miles!

Despite the mostly romantic hike, I got spooked a few times. I saw the signs that said there were mountain lions in the area and still kept it together - maybe just walked a little faster. I really was doing well until my very supportive, loving, team-playing partner and husband mentioned to me that it felt a little like the forest in the Blair Witch Project. Ummmmm. Are you kidding me?!? Obviously, you can tell that he just loves me SOO much that he wanted me to touch him every second of our 3 mile hike - because there was now NO way I was going to even be an arms distance away from him. I pretty much wrapped my whole body around him the entire rest of the hike - so that he'd get attacked by the scary organ eating monster before me, I mean, so that I could protect him if anything came our way. 

We got back and had wine, played more games, and I gave him his Valentine's Day present (which I'll share soon with you!). We slept cuddled in the forest!

4 comments:

J Howard said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love this! What a great trip! And the seals sound hilarous

J Howard said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Glad you enjoyed your trip! Big Sur is our home away from home and my hubby's family camps Peiffer almost every summer. It's our sanity year round. We've even done the Big Sur Marathon as a relay team. You should come do it next year on our team...once I'm ready to lose the baby weight! : )

J Howard said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Nina! We thought of you when we drove home through Salinas! I definitely think we'd camp at Pfeiffer again. We drove around and wrote down the really great sites there that we'd want to reserve. =)

J Howard said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

They WERE hilarious. We just stood there and giggled and giggled. It was completely ridiculous how much entertainment it provided!

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