Our hotel in Morro Bay was only a few blocks from the water and fishing docks but it was too dark to know this when we checked in. However, we could hear something odd while walking Maggie before bed the previous night… seals?! We got up early this morning to walk down and investigate. A group of sea otters were awaiting our arrival in front of boats and a calm ocean.
But this wouldn’t be our only wildlife surprise today. Shortly after we started our way up the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), we happened upon a muddy overlook with a small crowd of people looking over the railing. We stopped to see and were thrilled by what we saw. A small colony of elephant seals were relaxing and playing at the shore.
As we made our way north up the coast we were not too pleased with the weather that was greeting us. We had mostly avoided rain and clouds on this trip but today would prove to be quite nasty at times. I was worried that we might not even be able to see much of the coast at all due to the fog. But I was surprised by the vistas that awaited us.
Mile after mile of jagged coast unveiled itself to us as we crested every curve and peak. The teal waters, white foam, and steamy grey air met with dark earth, golden grass, and green moss. We stopped frequently to take photos. Sometimes powerful gust of wind would blow open or shut the car door or send rain sideways onto my coat and face. Mud was underfoot at every pull off and I tried my hardest to keep my phone and camera dry.
With white knuckles I finally relinquished the wheel to Amy for the final stretch of the drive into San Francisco. The weather was not improving and we barely made it into town before it was completely dark. We were just barely able to catch a few glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge in the mist.
After stopping for dinner at a pier, we learned a very hard lesson about leaving the city over the Bay Bridge: don’t try go anywhere during or anytime soon after rush hour. It took us an hour just to get on the bridge in the most stressful traffic I have ever endured. We made it out and drove for a few more hours on to Redding. California proved itself to be simultaneously the most beautiful and stressful part of our driving adventure.