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Posts tagged ‘West Coast’

postcards from small-town America

As the temperature drops and the weather gives unmistakeable signs of the onset of autumn in Chisinau, we find ourselves revisiting the warm memories of our summer road trip through California. We briefly scrolled through our pictures to pick out a handful of favorites while posting about our adventures, but the bulk of the 5000+ photos we took remain unsorted. Our previous posts focused on the places we visited. Here are a few snapshots of our favorite places through which we simply passed.

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the end of the road

Like all good things, our trip too came to an end. After a full day in Big Sur and Monterey we arrived in Santa Cruz just as the sun set.

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a splash of color

The valleys and mountain slopes of the Sierra Nevada are famed for their springtime wildflowers. In planning our trip, D found several hiking sites dedicated to wildflower exploration, which were filled with enthusiastic descriptions of dozens of wildflower species and gorgeous photos of lush meadows that carpeted the highlands in rainbow splotches of color.

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American safari

After spending two years in Africa and going on countless safaris, it was virtually impossible not to keep an eye out for animals while we traveled around the California wilderness.

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under the sea

Our last bit of sightseeing in California was a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which was listed as a top-ten highlight for the state in our Lonely Planet. The guidebook suggested spending at least half a day there — perhaps to justify the price of admission — but after arriving in Monterey late in the afternoon we only had an hour and a half to walk around and explore the various marine exhibits.

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Big Sur

Even on limited sleep, Big Sur proved to be too beautiful not to explore fully. In fact, it’s probably a good thing that we got up with the sun. We needed the early start to fit everything we wanted to see into just one day.

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no vacancy

It was early evening by the time we left Hearst Castle. We stopped a few miles north of San Simeon to check out the elephant seals that reliably make their home on one small, rocky section of California’s shoreline, and then headed further north towards Big Sur.

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the enchanted hill

Before entering Big Sur, the final destination on our California road trip, we made a stop in San Simeon. This tiny hamlet would not even be on the map today if it wasn’t for William Randolph Hearst, the real life Citizen Kane, who built his Xanadu at San Simeon, on land that once formed part of his father’s cattle ranch.

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California’s Galapagos

Before leaving southern California we took a day trip out to the Channel Islands. Called “California’s Galapagos” by some, the eight islands that comprise this archipelago are home to various endemic species — birds, plants, and even mammals that are found nowhere else in the world.

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travel interlude

From Kings Canyon we followed Cam to his house in Santa Barbara. After two weeks on the road, alternating between hostel beds and our sleeping bags, it was wonderful to drop anchor and slow down for a few days.

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