Monterey to Panoche

Since I got to go to Pyramid last weekend with the boys I took Debra to Monterey for the weekend. We stopped for lunch at my long time SJ fave.

IMG_9939 IMG_9940Stopped to see what was coming out of Elkhorn Slough on the way down Hwy 1.

IMG_9942Checked into Monterey Plaza on Cannery Row and drove out towards Point Joe.


Swell was pounding due to recent storms.

IMG_9954Serious cloud show

IMG_9950 - Copy IMG_9955 - CopyFriday night dinner was at Cafe Santa Lucia an odd German/Italian restaurant in old town. Killer Schnitzel and red cabbage. Saturday morning we ate breakfast at Googies in Marina (KILLER!) and parked by the Naval Language Center and unloaded the bikes. I just picked up a 2003 Klein Q Carbon Race to replace the one stolen a couple of years back. We rode 10 miles plus to Pebble Beach stopping frequently at the various beaches and overlooks. Pretty spectacular stretch of coast. Caught a convenient bike friendly bus back to the aquarium as our legs were toast.

Dinner Saturday night was at Sardine Factory. The Stellmans drove down from Scotts Valley and joined us. Good times.

Sunday morning I contemplated running for home and fishing a half day on the delta but decided to hike Pinnacles instead. We stopped in Hollister for breakfast at Country Rose on San Benito Ave. Great food and huge plates. When we hit the Pinnacles turnoff we shifted gears and  veered left towards New Idria and Panoche. EPIC drive.

IMG_0006 IMG_0007 IMG_0009 IMG_0010 IMG_0011Middle of nowhere yet mostly miles and miles of private ranch. An hour in we passed infamous Mercey Hot Springs which friends tell me is definitely worth visiting.

IMG_0016A mile from Mercey is the entrance into a vast tract of BLM land where many fossil (almost complete Plesiousaur) and mineral discoveries have been made.

IMG_0018 IMG_0019 IMG_0022 IMG_0023 IMG_0025 IMG_0027 IMG_0028 IMG_0030Great 4 wheel drive country where collecting fossils without spines is legal.  Lots of shooting enthusiasts about. Cloudshow was on with fog coming up from Coalinga.

IMG_0031 IMG_0032 IMG_0035 IMG_0036 IMG_0038I did not have much time here so will put this on the shelf for later. IMG_0040 IMG_0041 IMG_0045Just before Hwy 5 we saw a small impoundment that looked interesting. Little Panoche Hills:

IMG_0046 IMG_0049 IMG_0051I did a bit of research today. In that area is the New Idria mine, an abandoned Cinnabar (mercury) mine with ghost town abandoned works and buildings. Watch out for hantavirus! Also nearby is the Dallas Mine famous for Benitoite and Neptunite. There is also collecting at the Panoche hills site for many fossils suspended in the shale dikes on the cliff faces. 3 miles from hwy 5 is a site known as Area 54 where the orchard rock dumps are. Lots of Jasper, agate and other goodies in fist to melon size boulders for the cutter.  I am headed back to this area real soon for a few days of exploring and collecting. Probably camp at the Hot Springs.

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