So-Cal is a treat with its warmer climate busy cities and the awesome beaches, but honestly this stretch of Monterey to Half Moon Bay stole my heart! First off, most of the coastal drive and actually most of our entire trip has some beautiful scenery to write about, but the landscape we drove through in this region took my breath away and surely must be painters' heaven!
I'm not a botanist, but boy could I appreciate the beauty of the wild flowers, rose bushes and green rolling hills that lined the east side of the 101 along our drive and stay in this region. Vineyards for miles with sheep grazing or napping under the vines was like straight out of an english novel depiction. Jane Austen would have ate this beauty up!
The air smelt of sea and roses and the weather was mild and pleasant for our entire stay. The west side of highway 101 gave us the roaring waves of the Pacific which no matter where we camped we were blessed to hear this gentle and soothing sound to lull us to sleep every night! I remember giving birth to Shyla and playing the sounds of waves the entire 8 hour labour! lol This was a free meditation CD right for our own very ears during our week and half stay in this gorgeous area.
Our campsite in Monterey was Moss Landing Harbour KOA which is nothing in itself to write home about, but when I actually stopped complaining in my head about the KOA and let my senses take in what was behind the concrete wall that was behind our site I smelled salt water, I heard waves crashing in, seagulls calling and wait a minute what is that I hear.....seals barking! Yes our KOA campsite was not our favourite camping spot, but the location was incredible!
A few minute walk out of the RV compound and we were in the Moss Landing harbour filled with fishing boats and seals galore! A quick hop and step over the harbour was a ton of sea lions and sea otters chilling on the beach in the harbour! What a treat! It was windy as heck that day. seriously sandstorm in my face constant and the kids and i had hoods covering our ears and sun glasses to protect our eyes, but we couldn't' believe that the cutest animals (in our opinion sea otters of course!) were just hanging out steps away from us in the harbour. Have you ever seen a sea otter get out of the water and walk up a beach? We didn't until then and they look like a giant rodent actually lol their back legs are awkward out of the water; you can tell they are meant to be on their backs in the sea and not on land. We took in the giant waves that were on the other side of the harbour and looked out to try to find humpback wales that had been spotted.
So after my taking in the otters, seals, ocean and market produce stands my kids where like "hey mom we are bored!" Honestly, kids right?! So we heard that the town of Monterey had an aquarium that we HAD to go see and of course the kids were all about it! After going to many renowned aquariums in the past few years I can say it is a very good one, however it was BUSY! Stupid us made a mistake of going on a Saturday, but when you are on retirement time you kinda forget which day or month it is! lol Besides the heaping crowds and elbows flying I would rate this a great aquarium for littles, but do not go on weekends! My favourite part of this area was outside the aquarium. there are streets filled with tourist shops and ice cream parlours, but it's the beach that is behind the busy streets that was our favourite part of the day! We threw rocks in the ocean, looked and touched the sticky anemones, collected shells for our fam and friends back home, Shyla wrote a few letters on the beach for back home too, Alex got the kids ice cream and a seagull literally swooped down and stole his milk shake! We climbed rocks and ran as the waves crashed in to see who could come the closest to not getting wet! It was the most pleasant afternoon ever and I find when travelling it is the unplanned parts of the day that are the most treasured. We were truly living in the moment and I felt incredibly lucky and blessed sitting on the beach playing with my kids and surrounded by the ocean and all its wonder.
Shyla learned how powerful the waves truly are and the effects of the tide coming in when she climbed onto a rock straight out of the little mermaid and all of a sudden the water level rose around her, she was surrounded by water rushing in and another wave rolling in behind her! It was a scary moment and as I ran to her I saw her face terrified. I yelled for her to stay because I knew she'd be OK, but she was too scared and jumped into the water fully dressed and managed to jump, swim and run out of the waves and onto the beach with a very large crowd watching! She was shaken and soaked, but after a big hug and talk, I wrapped her in my dry warm sweater and we decided to pack it in as Alex's stress level was high (seagull snatching episode, Madden crapping his pants and eating beach sand, and now Shyla almost caught in the tide pull!) All in all, Monterey area is a fantastic place to visit and I would highly recommend it! I definitely want to go back and check out more of the area on another trip :). You know we try to teach our kids about the ocean and tides, the power of currents, the difference between lakes and oceans and the importance of listening when we tell them to stop when running into an ocean without us! But until you actually experience the powers of the waves and tide you cannot grasp its almighty power so even though it was scary for Shyla now she can truly understand the gravity of the oceans strength and she will def stop next time when we tell her to before running into the ocean! lol #lifeskills
Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay campsite is amongst our favourite campsites for a very good reason. The natural beauty again is breathtaking. Where's Julie Andrews running down the rolling green hills singing? lol Seriously! My eyeballs were constantly delighted in the views of the ocean side campsite we had with a gorgeous tree for the kids to climb, the beach had beautiful fuchsia (Shyla and my fav colour) coloured flowers crawling along the sand cliffs and the humpback whales that would treat us to a visit along the beach was just amazing in fact it almost felt like a divine experience really. I was in awe the entire stay!!
Half Moon Bay also had tons of fresh produce stands lining the highways and streets that had local fresh produce for cheap! I tell ya I was in produce paradise! I literally skipped and giggled up and down the market stands as I picked bags of fresh cherries, artichokes grown next door, strawberries from the field across the street, blueberries from a few miles down the road, chives and cilantro and eggs from the farm 2 miles away! My kids looked at me like a lunatic and so did the women who worked there, but I did not care. Having worked so hard to fight my autoimmune dysfunctions, histamine intolerance and learning about health and importance of fresh food this was a huge and kind of an emotional moment for me! I felt like Martha Stewart in her kitchen in her hay day! lol We had some great meals that week I tell ya. My fresh produce stands were literally a bike ride away and speaking of bikes, we had the best bike trail ride along the sea and picnic on the beach while we practised our cartwheels, skipping stones, chased waves crashing in again (our fav beachside game for Lennon he calls this game "don't get wet!) and just took in the beautiful beach side homes and hidden coves along this route. Sometimes we would be completely alone in one of the beach coves we'd find along our way and it felt like God, the Power, Mother Nature whatever you call the incredible energy that formed this planet and all life was with us! I could seriously see myself living in Half Moon Bay area for realz!