After Watsonville, we moved a little farther south to Salinas, CA. Our first day trip was to Monterey and the beautiful 17-mile drive around the peninsula. Apparently, the fishing is really good here at Fisherman's Wharf.
This guy thinks so anyway...
This sea lion found a little spot all to himself, away from all his buddies.
I wonder how many sea lions this little dock will hold?
It's amazing how they can climb up -
And lay on those narrow boards.
After Monterey, we went over to Pacific Grove to the Monarch Grove Sanctuary, where Monarch Butterflies spend the winter. Although most weren't here yet, we got to see a few early birds.
We then started on the 17-mile drive around the Monterey Peninsula. Why is that rock out there so brown?
Zooming in, I see that sea lions are definitely not an endangered species...
Down the coast, some harbor seals were flopping around.
Oh, don't stick your tongue out at me - you know you aren't as agile as the sea lions...
We also saw lots of Brandt's cormorants on the rocks.
The most iconic symbol of the 17-Mile Drive is this Lone Cypress tree near Pebble Beach.
Once we finished the ocean side of the drive, we opted to exit and go to the Mission San Carlos Borromeo, commonly known as Carmel Mission.
This is another one of the missions that Junipero Serro founded up and down the coast. This one was founded is 1770, although this church was not built until the 1790s.
It is most famous because Padre Serra lived here in his later years. He died here and is buried before the main altar.
In 1987, Pope John Paul II visited the mission as part of his tour of the US.
Another reason I wanted to stay in Salinas was to go visit Pinnacles National Park, one of the few national parks I haven't been to. It is the country's newest national park, having gained that status just last year, after over 100 years as a national monument.
It was nice, and we had a great hike, but I'm not sure it is as wonderful as the other national parks.