Cousin’s Tour of the California Coast: Los Angeles to Bodega Bay April/ May 2018



Wendy Golding and I left Los Angeles on April 22nd after  dinner and short visit in Culver City,  with my son, Matt Bender,  his wife Melanie and my grand daughter Mila. We stayed in Ventura that night.

The next morning we took the ferry to Scorpion Bay at Santa Cruz Island  where we kayaked into a few of the caves. We hiked the island’s coast trail up the bluff to overlook the Channel towards the California Coast. We saw several of the island foxes, which are native to six of the eight Channel Islands of California. Because of the isolation of each of the islands, each subspecies is unique to the island where it lives.  On our return ferry trip we were accompanied by a huge pod of dolphins. It was a  wonderful day  on the water!

Our tour continued up to the quaint Danish type town of Solvang, the Madonna Inn and up the coast to Morro Bay where we walked around Morro Rock and then continued our drive north and a walk on the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk. We ended the day just south of San Simeon where we spent the night so the next day we could tour Hearst Castle.

The Hearst Castle tour included the guesthouses, the main house the pool and tennis courts. We headed up the coat to see the Elephant Seal rookery with these huge animals and the baby seals.

Highway 1 is still closed from the landslides so we headed over the hills on Highway 46 back to Highway 101 and north through Paso Robles to Bradley, where we went west over the mountains to the coast and Highway 1 just south of the tiny town of Lucia. We continued our drive up the coast with a quick stop at Nepenthe to stay in Pacific Grove and had a great dinner at The Monterey Fish House.

The next morning we headed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium but discovered the Monterey Pacific Trail and went for a gorgeous walk past the Seal Rookery and to Lover’s Point. As we returned to the town of Monterey, we heard that there was a group of sea otters in one of the coves. We never did see the otters, but discovered that one of the Whale Watch boats had seen orcas that morning, so we headed out on the boat, where we saw several pods of Orcas and had the great fortune to see them up close! Wendy took a spectacular video of one pod.

We headed up the coast to stay with Wendy’s friends from college, Lauren and Vince Cardinale in Los Gatos. They have Camp Cardinale, a Pet Sitting and Vacation for Dogs.   We ate dinner with friends and canines.

Lauren and Vince advised us not to miss the Apple Building which was on our way up to Muir Woods and the coast north of San Francisco.   We hiked the trails in Muir Woods and continued up through Stinson Beach to Bodega Bay to meet my cousin and Wendy’s Aunt,  Kate Hecht.

Kate continued as our tour guide with visits to several wineries and a hike at  Bodega Head.  We finished the day at Kate’s home in Bodega Bay with a crab cake dinner and a spectacular sunset overlooking the Pacific. I left the next morning to drive back to San Diego, but Kate and Wendy went to San Francisco to continue their trip.                        What fun with my cousins, I hope we can keep heading up the coast on future trips!

PUBLISHING PICTURES- We love you to love our pictures but please ask permission before using and give credit to the photographer.  Thanks Debbie Hecht

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