We drove down the coastal route through Big Sur
At this point we saw a wild California Condor! I didn't get a good photo of it unfortunately, but it was flying next to some turkey vultures...it looked like a 747 in comparison! My first wild condor sighting and I hadn't even expected to see one :D
Then we cut across through a military base to go eastward. Want pristine landscapes? Give the land to the military. Seriously lots of this area was virtually untouched and incredibly picturesque. It was here we hoped to see the Yellow Billed Magpie which only inhabits a specific part in California and is found nowhere else in the world.
But the road to get there from the coast was a bit scary: steep cliffs, no guard rails.
Some of the type of scenery you can expect on this drive
Unconcerned deer is unconcerned
We came through some really moist areas with redwoods and loads of plants and creeks. Unfortunately with all of this beauty comes a danger: Poison Oak! It was /everywhere/, and even though I have lived in California my whole life I still have a hard time identifying it amongst other floor covering. skorzy kindly gave me a crash course in poison oak identification.
Leaves of three, let it be. Avoid Avoid!
Plant identification time! We saw lots of this plant in the more shaded areas of the hillsides and it grew in really stout bushes along the rocky sides of the road and had peach flowers. Peach, not yellow. Anyone have any idea what it is?
This is an odd looking plant I've never seen before. I snapped this photo when we were on our poison oak hunt.
Finally, our hunt for the yellow-billed magpie paid off. These really aren't very shy birds but they move around a lot so it was hard to get photos of them with a camera that doesn't have very good zoom.
Headed eastward still
Just as it got dark we passed through Cholame and saw the James Dean memorial.
That's all folks!