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Wish I was there right now...

Posted by ladobe NV (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 16, 10 at 23:02

With the end of the season the memories of many wonderful winter days spent where some of the Monarch's west of America's Continental Divide spend their winter.

During the winter month's way back in the early 70's when I was a partner of an insurance agency in Pacific Grove, CA (aka Butterfly Town, USA), I'd get overloaded by the insanity of the agency and need a break. Often I'd walk over to the Grove Market by my office, have them make me up something tasty in their deli for lunch, grab a drink and walk to the Monarch Sanctuary nearby.

On the below map my office was at the blue "O" and the sanctuary at the red "X", so it was a nice short walk through the old Victorian houses that lined Lighthouse Ave (most of them are really nice B&B's now) to Pacific Grove's butterfly trees. It was always amazing how quickly the peace and tranquility of "The Grove" would turn a hectic day into one to remember instead of dread.

The rest of the year I'd take my walks on the ocean path that runs all the way around Pacific Grove from Monterey to Pebble Beach. The ice plant was always colorful, the bay/ocean always beautiful and the crashing waves music to my ears. Carmel was a very fun place to live, and Pacific Grove a wonderful place to work back then. I miss the area and had hoped to visit it "one more time" in my life. Have lots of nice memories though.

Most will probably never get to go to the Mexican sanctuaries, but a trip to those along the central California coast would be well worth a looksee.

Larry


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Wish I was there right now...

Thanks for those memories, Larry. Spectacular; nothing like it up here, except for the ocean breakers.


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

Looks like a wonderful place.
Do the Monarchs lay eggs in the winter there or are they waiting for spring?


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

The Monarch numbers are pretty good this year.

Mona

Here is a link that might be useful: Monarch Alert Monarch Counts (Cal Poly)


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

Christie,

The over wintering Monarchs at The Grove start mating in late January to early February and just prior to starting the dispersal for the spring migration. So some of the first eggs from The Grove are laid in the vicinity of the Monterey Bay area, but most of them further inland to as far as the west slope of Sierra Nevada's and to where mostly the next generation takes over the migration duties. There are at least 5-6 species of Asclepias resident in Monterey Counties Central Coast Range, 4 of which they are known to use, with many more species further inland they use.

Want to have a "butterfly" December or January? There is something like 300 Monarch over-wintering sites along the west coast from the San Francisco Bay Area to Ensenada in Baja California. Most of them are on private land and so not easily accessible to the public. But there are at least a couple of dozen that are easily accessible along the California coast, mostly in parks, reserves and at state beaches. So a wonderful winter week or two could be spent driving California's beautiful Coast Highway 1 visiting as many of them as time and expenses allowed. Numbers present at each site varies from a few hundred to upwards of 200,000 (at CA's largest site, Pismo State Beach). The Grove in Pacific Grove normally gets around 50,000 most years, but there is up to another 150,000 more at two sites close by north in Santa Cruz, another few hundred a short drive south in Polo Colorado Canyon and maybe 10,000 more at Big Sur a little further south.

Larry


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

Wow, those pictures are spectacular, I can almost imagine being there. What a beautiful coastline. I would love to take a vacation like you describe. Do you know what the trees are growing in the grove and the purple and yellow flowers are that growing along the coast?


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

terrene,

The Grove is called a mixed oak forest with mostly massive Monterey and Ponderosa Pines, Eucalyptus, Coast Live Oak and Monterey Cyprus, and smaller Scrub Oaks and other smaller species. The Monarch’s seem to favor the Eucalyptus trees to roost on despite them being an introduced tree on the peninsula from about the mid 1800’s. Before that they probably favored what is now their second choice, the Monterey Pines. The purple flowers along the Oceanview Walkway are probably Pride of Madeira. They are a favored nectar plant of the Monarchs and are commonly planted all around the peninsula. I can’t remember what the yellow flowers are… maybe forbs though as they can tolerate the salt spray as well as the ice plants do. At Butterfly Town USA, planting lots of nectar plants that the Monarch’s will use is a very common practice with the residents and business owners. So with all the color and the largest collection of Victorian homes per capita in America the town is beautiful.

A tidbit: Even though they are in close proximity to the cold North Pacific waters, the roost sites remain warmer than all the other areas on the peninsula in winter, and have just the right humidity for the Monarch’s.

Larry


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

Larry,

Karen and I have visited Pacific Grove several times and relished the experience. Your pictures and your poetic description of your visits made us want to visit again SOON.

Thanks for sharing,

mike


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

What a wonderful post, Larry!
The area is indeed beautiful, 'love the older trees.
You say you lived in Carmel? I've heard that's a VERY beautiful place, where Doris Day lives, I think.
Sherry


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

How exquisite! You are a lucky man!!


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

Mike,
With so many wonderful things to see and do in such a beautiful place, the Monterey Peninsula surly is a "must do" at least once in a life time isn't it? If for the Monarchs themselves December and January are the best because they start to disperse in February, and by March they are pretty much gone.

Sherry,
Carmel-by-the Sea is very beautiful place nestled in a hilly Ponderosa and Monterey pine, Cyprus and Coast Live Oak forest that runs right up to the oceans edge, with great beaches and graggy points. It has been a quaint "artists community" from day one, so it has always been a favored place to live for lots of the most well known theater and screen actors, painters, poets and writers, photographers, musicians, etc. When I lived in Carmel about 70% of it's residents were tied to the aesthetic arts in some way, and it was a very popular hangout for the Hollywood crowd since lots of movies and commercials are made there. So you become friends with a lot of mostly eccentric people in a small community with a fun but eccentric life style. With no street addresses the homes are found by a reference to the nearest cross streets, or by maps you can get in the cute shops that line Ocean Avenue of the cottages that have a name (like mine that was known as The Whales Tale, with a Disney like Moby Dick plaque out front in place of address numbers). There are lots of crazy laws there too, but tourists are not usually held to them. Doris Day and quite a few other actors do live in the area full time, but many more have homes in Carmel (as well as the Carmel Highlands, Carmel Valley and Pebble Beach) even though they live elsewhere most of the year. Carmel gets in your blood, so once you've visited or lived there you just know that there is no place else like it and will always want to go back. If it wasn't for the political climate in California now (100's of times worse than when I lived there), when I divorced in 2002 I would have moved back to Carmel in a heartbeat.

Carmel is known for its beautiful cottages, big and small. These pictures will give an idea of the habitat there.

Larry


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

Oh my goodness! Those cottages are adorable, Larry - they look like something out of a fairy tale! I hate to think what they'd cost if they ever go on the market! Carmel sure looks like my kind of place. My home is a raised Gulf Coast cottage in the woods, with a picket fence around it, and I have antiques inside and lots of whimsical things, being eccentric myself, but my house and land are boring compared to those cottages - they look like they could be used as sets in movies (and commercials) alright! The roofs are especially unique looking, like the boards are wavy, or am I seeing them wrong?
I agree with you about California politics, though. Those in charge seem to think 2+2=9, and the citizens won't vote in anybody with any sense.
Your pictures always make me realize how limited my experiences have been. I've lived only in South Mississippi all my life - my predecessors have lived here since 1811, so we're really entrenched - and I haven't seen much of the world, just a brief trip to Mexico in 1964 and a brief trip the year before out west, quickly through southern California, Nevada, Arizona, etc. My daughter in Tampa is real successful (vice-president of an international publishing company) and her job takes her all over the world. My grandson has already been to Europe twice, and he's just 11 years old - when I was his age, I'd been to Meridian! :)
But then, my poor daughter has to travel on airplanes, which these days is beyond horrible, so I feel sorry for her that way.
Keep posting pictures of all those exotic places you've been to and/or lived in - we all enjoy them!
Sherry


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

The Monarch Teacher Network is planning a trip to CA instead of Mexico this year. Their trip is planned late February. Unfortuntely, I've been told most of the Monarchs will have left the coast by then.

Here is a link that might be useful: Monarch Teacher Network Trip to CA


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

Sherry,

The "storybook" cottages in Carmel seldom come up for sale, and usually cost 2-3 times what a more conventional home the same size in the area sells for when they do. Most of them at one time have belonged to a very famous person, so that adds to their value. Even with the real estate crash of recent years in CA, I'd guess those pictured would still be in the $5-10 million dollar range now.

Cedar shake shingles are very popular in Carmel, and are very expensive now days. But they do add a lot of charm. My cottage was similar to the last picture, did have a couple of Coast Live Oaks around the cobblestone courtyard and wood deck off the game room, but it was in a forest of massive Ponderosa Pines. It had hand split shakes that were quite gnarled, twisted and warped because my cottage was built in 1940 buy a famous Scandinavian Nordic skier and painter (water color). Builders of newer cottages hurry up the process by using commercially steamed and weathered shakes though. A funny side note about my roof... I was soon cussing it because the gray tree squirrels found great fun chasing each other around on them at day break to wake us. Sounded like elephants on the roof gone wild. And when they dropped a big Ponderosa pine cone from high in the trees on the roof it sounded like we had been hit by a bomb. Many of the squirrels on my property became cook pot fodder (shhh).

Air travel has always been horrible when you have to do a lot of it like your daughter does. During my years working for the Germans I flew up to 200K miles a year just for business, and got real tired of airports, hotels and restaurants. Some times I'd have to take 3 flights a day to 3 different states and still be home in time for dinner. Jet lag becomes a way of life for your daughter I'd bet just like it was for me.

Larry

Anybody want an infamous Carmel home? I see on-line that the Carmel Butterfly House is for sale for a cool $19.995 million. Steep price for a little 2 bedroom maybe, but the views and ever present crashing surf would be awesome. It has been used as a set in movies ("A Summer Place" was one of them).

Click the link for pictures of it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Carmel's Butterfly House


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

Larry,

Is one of those "cottages" your former home? If not, I'd love to see a picture of your humble abode when you lived in Carmel-by-the-sea.

mike


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

Wonderful photos of some enormously beautiful nature!

Thanks, Larry!

Bob


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

Mike,

I have no pictures of that house; the ex got all the pictures from my lifetime. Like I said above, the last one pictured is similar to mine. Mostly because of the seclusion plantings and courtyards all the way around it I guess. Ours was much bigger than this one even though only a 2 bedroom. It was shaped like a "T" with lots of property, and with a separate garage behind on one side and a guesthouse behind on the other side that both had their own pea gravel driveways through the forest. The top of the "T" was the two master bedrooms and their baths, the tail of the "T" the great room and kitchen and there were no other rooms in the house. The guest house had its own kitchen and bath. The great room was awesome at 25' X 45', with a wet bar and seating on one end, a built in library on the other with double French doors between the bookcases that went out onto a large cobblestome courtyard, and a stone fireplace on one side wall and double French doors that went out onto a raised redwood deck. I had a regulatition pool table on the bat end, a large conveersation pit circled in front of the fireplace and my home office on the library end. A dutch door from the kitchen went to a courtyard with an additional eating area, and there was another eating area built into the center of the redwood deck. The "lots of property" was the key to its value as land in Carmel is an expensive premium, and its storybook charm was enhanced by the property being left as natural as possible so the buildings would blend into the native coastal forest. It was the kind of place that you might expect Hansel and Gretel to knock on the door of.

A large part of the Carmel lifestyle is entertaining at home or going out, and we did both with friends and neighbors more days than not. One of our favorite hangouts in Carmel was Clint Eastwoods place... and it's still going strong all these years later. The ex did civic functions with his wife Maggie, I was on the board of directors of his and James Garner's private gun club in Carmel Valley and I can remember when his daughter Alison was born. We were both quite disappointed when he dumped Maggie for Sandra Locke the year before we left Carmel.

Larry



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RE: Wish I was there right now...

Your former home sounds terrific. Thanks for the picture of Clint's place. We've been there.
mike


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Carmel-By-The_Sea

Some more pictures of Carmel you might enjoy…

This aerial of Carmel gives an idea of how small and quaint it really is with less than 4,000 residents. Pebble Beach Golf Course is at bottom; old Carmel where most of the storybook cottages are located; above it the Carmel River State Reserve that runs up into Carmel Valley (gets 2 Steelhead runs a year); and at top is the Carmel Highlands and Point Lobos State Reserve

Part of Carmel’s beach…

More of Carmel beach…

Looking north near Camel River State Beach. A very popular scuba spot as the 30’-50’ shelf suddenly drops 3000’ into the Carmel Trench very close to the beach.

Carmel from Point Lobos State Reserve.

More Point Lobos… very popular for its beautiful scenery, sea lions and sea otters (although both are common everywhere along the Carmel Highlands to Monterey coastline).

Carmel from the Carmel Highlands…

Enjoy,

Larry


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

WOW!!!!!! You're a one-person tourist bureau for Carmel. Did you take these pictures?

This is one of the most enjoyable threads that I've seen ANYWHERE.

THANKS AGAIN,

mike


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

I was just thinking about Pacific Grove - of course I have been thinking of warmer places than Napa Valley. Not sure that is it tho. However I understand monarchs overwinter in Tomales also. I saw not one this year - I guess Napa was not on the tour.

I know they are in Santa Barbara too around this time of year - they were everywhere on a nice warm sunny winter day.

Penny


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RE: Wish I was there right now...

The Bodega Dunes site north of Bodega Bay is the best known on the north coast for the Monarchs overwintering most years in fair numbers (4,000). Tomales is not far south of there, although inland, so it could be a small site of theirs also. As many times as I went to Bodega Bay when I lived in the San Francisco Bay area I never stopped at Tomales though.

There are many sites in the San Luis Obispo - Santa Barbara - Ventura areas, with the biggest at Pismo Beach in SLO followed by the site at Goleta in SB.

The Bodega Bay area is another great place to visit in California. We used to go there fairly often when we lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, stop at The Tides (the place used for the filming of "The Birds") for a loaf or two of fresh french bread, the days catch of cracked crab, shrimp or some other seafood and a bottle of wine to take to a secluded cove with a great little beach we liked for a picnic. We'd do a little skinny dipping to collect some purple sea urchins for the bread and were in sea food heaven. What can I say... we were young, newly married, loved fresh sea food and even on weekends nobody else ever climbed down into our little cove. LOL

Sometimes we'd go to Bodega to snorkel for abalone and sea urchines, but our favorite place for the biggest reds and urchins was much further up the coast between Anchor Bay and Point Arena. We had to scale down an 80' cliff there on a steel cable to get to the rocks below, and had to time our visits and length of stay to the lowest tides of the year as there was no beach there and trying to go down or just being down there when the tide and crashing surf was in would have been deadly. When we didn't have time to drive up the coast we'd go for abs at Half Moon Bay south of the Bay Area, about the furthest south you could get big reds. When we lived in Carmel we had to settle for the much smaller black, green and pink abs, and smaller urchins, but they were just as tasty with Diego Red wine and hard french or sourdough bread for the roe. Between the DR and the urchin roe you'd be on your ear in short order if you weren't used to drinking and eating them though. ;)

Larry

Near Bodega Dunes...

Bodega area...

Northern Red Abs ran 8"-12"...

Medium size northern urchin...

Typical north coast ab site...


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