I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Avila Beach to Santa Barbara:Butterflies and Farmland

My handsome adventurer

Monarchs spending the winter in the trees. The look like dead leaves!

while listening to a presentation on the Monarchs, this little guy flew in and landed on cue on the photographs

flew in to pose for me

my traveling snack that we picked up at Trader Joes in San Francisco

and Danny's traveling snack

moving inland brought agriculture and mountains

our first glimpse of oil rigs out in the ocean

This fella was right outside my car window waiting to cross the road

we saw dolphins swimming near the shore

eucalyptus flower pods

Ellwood Butterfly Sanctuary

The menu at Roy's

the dessert menu at Roy's
Today was a day of beautiful driving. The weather held out all day and we only had one little sprinkle. We drove along the coast for awhile, stopping once outside of Avila Beach to do a little climbing. I can't stop Danny from ferreting out a trail!! We went to Pismo Beach State Park to find the Monarch butterfly sanctuary. This is where the Monarch butterflies west of the Rocky Mountains spend their winters. The Monarchs hang in clumps along the branches, looking like dead leaves. We would have missed them if a volunteer had not pointed them out. Once we saw them, we saw them everywhere. We were amazed! We sat and listened to a volunteer give a short talk about the butterflies and learned some things we did not know. I didn't know that the Monarchs we have at home come for Mexico. Every Monarch east of the Rockies comes from Mexico! We have been so amazed at the change in terrain as we drove away from the coast and drove more inland. We drove along  the mountains and in the hills and valleys with agriculture all around us. They were harvesting and planting on both sides of the road. We ate lunch in a mexican restaurant in Lompoc. We stopped at Ellwood to find another Monarch butterfly sanctuary. We had to walk about 1/2 mile back into the woods to find the sheltered area where they were clinging to the branches. The light was fading so we drove on to Santa Barbara where we are spending the night. Our hotel is 3 blocks from the main shopping street here so we were able to walk to dinner at Roy's. This is a very small bar/restaurant that was recommended by our hotel. We thought it was funny that the hotel said "don't get the pork". I ordered filet mignon wrapped in bacon and Danny order Chicken Marsala. Unfortunately for me, my steak arrived very overcooked and had to be sent back. Danny had completely finished his meal by the time mine came back to me, but both meals were delicious. I was curious about the "purple vegetable" in my steamed/sauteed veggies and when asked I was told it was beets! I can't believe I ate beets and they were good! The owner (Roy) was onsite and extremely apologetic about my meal and offered to give us free dessert! I had Chocolate Mousse and Danny ordered Chocolate Torte (flourless chocolate cake). Once again both were delicious. We went back to the hotel and picked a movie to watch from the free DVD library. Tomorrow we will go to our end destination, Los Angeles. Until then.....

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