17 Oct
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Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
3005
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35
Bus, train and taxi rides.  Click here to see all posts relating to transport. (56 posts)
185
Miles walked.  Click here to see all posts relating to walking and trekking. (43 posts)
581
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15
Number of species spotted.  Click here to go to our wildlife page.
1157
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13288
Rainy days.  Click here to find posts relating to the weather. (49 posts)
63
Number of times scammed.  Click here to read all about it!  (2 posts)
1
Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
45
 
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

4 June 2016

Townsend’s long-eared bat attack

Painted flowers in the Pinnacles

Painted flowers in the Pinnacles

5 May 2016

So naturally we had a fairly easy start today. For us, that meant leaving the motel around 9ish. It was a perfectly decent motel, by the way, nothing at all special but nothing wrong; the Hollister Inn. Just in case you ever find yourself in Hollister, California. Which you won’t.

We stopped at Pinnacles National Park again for a longer hike, just over three hours. Pinnacles has the distinction of being home to about four-hundred species of bee, almost half the species in the world, and it’s easy to see why. There were just so many flowers, in so many varieties. Along with the lofty pinnacles of rust-red rock and the jade green pines, it was a very splendid landscape. Much drier than Yosemite, so a very different kind of beauty. And of course much, much, much less busy. There were more caves to explore here, and this time we found some bats hanging from the roof. Back at the visitor centre a park ranger helped us identify which species they were. So there are good park rangers too! The caves here aren’t the normal dissolved-in-limestone type, they’re talus caves made by the gaps left when lots of huge boulders fall down into narrow ravines and block them. It’s really easy to see how perilous and crumbling the high peaks of the Pinnacles are, and it’s just as easy to see these gigantic boulders that make these caves beneath them. I have no idea what the noise would be like when one of those things falls from the peaks down into a ravine, but it would be big.

Ground squirrel gathering moss

Ground squirrel gathering moss

We ended up at Paso Robles, a town that has zipped from backwater to trendy in a decade due to its wine industry. Seems like the good people of Los Angeles got rather fed up with Napa Valley being (a) so far away and (b) so entirely up itself. So they looked around for a more local bit of wine country that might make a nice weekend break from the city and Paso Robles has stepped up to the challenge. Our first tasting (yes, we did some tasting) was a disappointment, though. The wines were okay, but the winemaker was an oddity – they didn’t grow grapes, they simply bought them and made wine. I tried to get into how they decide what grapes to buy and what they’re looking for, but apparently it isn’t that interesting. Er. Our second tasting was more fun, basically an old cowboy country singer who has retired and turned his hand to winemaking (in California winemaking is definitely a lifestyle choice for many; we found more examples the following day). More fun, but pretty average wines.

Dinner was at Fish Gaucho, one of the places blogs on eating in Paso Robles all agree is worth a hit. I can report that they make absolutely bloody brilliant cocktails and very ho-hum food. Really good cocktails, though.

Flower power

Flower power


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