That describes my 3 day jaunt to the coast this week, thanks in part, to a very good "package" from AAA, that included 2 nights, dinner, a ticket to Hearst Castle, etc. I mainly wanted to see the baby elephant seals, but discovered that they are born starting at the END of December not the beginning. However, the beaches at San Simeon are covered with yearlings and older who have been swimming around the world, so to speak, and come back to rest, give birth, mate, and continue their cycle. It was inspiring to me to see the older males coming out of the water from their long swim, and barely make up the shore before collapsing. Some of them are huge, with proboscis-like noses resembling an elephant trunk, hence their name.
Then Hearst Castle - my first trip there. I found the movie prior to the tour to be one of the highlights. It told of the zoo Mr. Hearst used to have, and mentioned that there are still zebras wandering around the ranch there, mingling with the cattle, and sure enough, later we saw them from the highway.
There were huge waves from storms along the whole west coast, not so good beach combing, and lovely warm weather. I went north to Monterey, on Highway One, and as always, stopped and walked the cliffs and parks at Big Sur. Had lunch at Rocky Point, as Nepenthes was closed due to remodeling. A very good trip. I came home to a violent storm during the night here in the mountains, and woke up to snow on the ground.