Today we woke up in Monterey. The big attraction here is Monterey Bay Aquarium! We got an early start because we had a lot of driving to do later today. A quick continental breakfast and we are on our way.
This aquarium is pretty huge. And awesome. When we called yesterday to talk to the lady at the aquarium, she said “about two hours” to really see everything. She was right. I think we spent 3.5 hours there! Inside we found a huge, HUGE tank that was 2 stories tall, and very wide. You could see the fish at the bottom swirling around as a hammerhead shark antagonized them, making them scurry. Up above them you’d see some tuna (?) and some larger fish, and above that you’d see some sea turtles floating along. Very cool!
Next up were the jellyfish. This display was really exciting because they had the rooms dimly lit and the tanks had special lighting in them to really accentuate the jellyfish. I think some of my better photos came from this part of the aquarium. The seahorses were next. Something you NEVER see in nature (at least for me) was here for the viewing. They seem mystical, magical. Kinda like Sea Monkeys I guess. Are those even real? Anyway…
Some of the displays had curved glass, and this made it pretty much impossible to get any good photos. Too much distortion. We came across a section that was a bit more “interactive,” the aviary. Once inside you were greeted by a cool breeze as one side of the room was basically a mesh screen that let in fresh air and sunlight, probably to make the birds feel more at home. There were some greens and sandy “beaches” where they had all different types of birds running around and playing in the small water ponds. In the middle of the room was the interactive part. Here, they encouraged you to reach into some shallow water and actually TOUCH the creepy, slimy, sharp and pokey things. Like, starfish. Sea urchins. Sea weed. Crabs. I touched a few things, then split. We stepped outside to take a look at the bay which was still covered in fog. It was at least 1 pm, so I thought for sure the fog would have lifted by now. Weird.
I had a lot of driving to do, so we grabbed a not-so-quick bite at Johnny Rockets down the road. Our goal was to drive PCH-1 back to the LA area, and then out to the Wigwam Motel in San Bernadino, CA. I strapped my GoPro camera onto the roof of the Mustang and we took off down the terrifying coast of California. Pacific Coast Highway offers spectacular views of the ocean. And cliffs. We decided when we went to San Francisco that it might be cooler to drive the coastline on the way BACK, so as to be as close to the edge as possible, so this is what we did. Along the way we traveled VERY curvy roads that passed through forests, and with the windows down we could catch the smell of the pine trees as we drove. Those curvy roads went up some rather steep and narrow sections and alongside the cliffs of the coast which, sometimes, didn’t have any guard rails! How fun! Don’t look down, that’s a 1,000 ft. drop into the ocean! :)
As I drove, I really had to just focus on the road. I really didn’t have the time (or guts) to peer over the edge on the passenger side, or to my left as the mountains jutted way up into the sky. It was quite a unique experience. Fun and terrifying at the same time! I was really glad that the GoPro camera was capturing all this as a time-lapse video so I could review it later. Looking at our gas gauge, we decided to fill up at the next station. I thought I’d check the GoPro to see how much battery life there was, in case I needed to change it for a fresh one. The camera was off. Hmm. Perhaps it ran the battery out and just shut off? I turned it on. The battery indicator was full. There were no images on the memory card. I forgot…to turn the camera on? I swear I turned it on at the Aquarium. Well, it turns out I did. I have ONE frame from the parking garage. The next frame is at that gas station, as I just turned on the camera to record the drive going forward from that point. Ugh! Such cool roads…no photos! But wait. Maybe We’ll see more along the way? YES! We do!
As we took a short cut to beat LA traffic (and made our drive longer) we came across “Old Creek Road.” This little gem of a road connects PCH-1 to Highway 46. All twisties. All 30 mph or slower. NOBODY in front of me for miles. The camera was on the car, and TURNED ON. Let’s go! So we did. This little drive would help ease that empty feeling of loss from earlier that day when I forgot to turn the camera on. Whew.
UPDATE: I just took a quick peek at the footage from Old Creek Road. I was doing a time-lapse sequence of this, one photo taken every 2 seconds. The footage is somewhat jumpy due to the curves of the road, and it’s somewhat short in duration. I guess my reality won’t transfer over very well to video on this one. :( I don’t have time to edit/post all the video stuff just yet as it takes too much time. I’ll have something soon though, so hold on to your shorts. :)
We had reservations for the Wigwam motels in San Bernadino and HAD to get there tonight. After a long drive of about 9 or so hours that day, we landed at the Wigwam. Since each wigwam only had one queen-sized bed, Brian and I got TWO wigwams for the night, one for each of us. My first chance at a silent, blissful sleep! (No lumberjack noises coming from you-know-who!) The bed was great. The room was great. It was quiet and very comfortable! Loved it! Much better than the Holbrook Wigwams as they were right next to some train tracks. :)
Professional Photographer fail #2. I think….that I may have deleted my images of the Wigwam Motels. I didn’t take many of them, but I can’t seem to find them on my memory cards. I will update you on this as more develops (insert photo pun here).
Tomorrow we are off to Joshua Tree National Park and 108 degree heat.