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Four Great Migrations Converge: Elephant Seals, Whales, Birds and Butterflies

Program Number: 15752RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/26/2014 - 1/31/2014; 1/4/2015 - 1/9/2015; 1/7/2015 - 1/12/2015; 1/11/2015 - 1/16/2015; 1/25/2015 - 1/30/2015; 1/28/2015 - 2/2/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Cambria, California
Price starting at: $898.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Science & Nature
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Three to four weeks each year, migrating elephant seals, birds, whales and butterflies converge on California’s scenic Central Coast during their annual pilgrimage. Breathtaking field trips and engaging lectures introduce you to these hardy voyagers, preparing you to observe gray whales, visit bird-viewing sites and study the Morro Bay Estuary at the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History.




Highlights

• View hundreds of monarchs at the “Butterfly Trees” of Pismo Beach.
• Joined by a mammal expert, hear the cacophonous activity of an elephant seal rookery.
• Board a ship to search for majestic gray whales at sea and explore a local vineyard for a taste of the coast’s fine wines.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles over uneven terrain.



Migratory patterns are at the mercy of nature. Winter storms may affect the numbers of migratory birds, butterflies and mammals in the area. Whale watch is weather dependent; alternate activity will be arranged if necessary.




Date Specific Information

1-4-2015, 1-11-2015, 1-25-2015

Charming, modern lodge with beautiful gardens in Cambria.



1-7-2015, 1-28-2015

This program is being offered as a small group of 24. Lodging is at an ocean front hotel in Pismo Beach. 4 dinners included, 1 dinner on own.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.




Cambria

A quiet seaside village on California's Central Coast, Cambria enjoys a mild climate year-round. Home to tidal coves, migrating sea mammals and unspoiled beaches, the community is halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco near San Simeon.



Accommodations
Lodging includes a charming, modern lodge with beautiful gardens in Cambria or an ocean front hotel in Pismo Beach. See Date Specific Information for details.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Chuck Walker

Chuck Walker was born in Orange County back when there were still orange trees there. In his younger days, he traveled through Mexico and Central America in his trusty Volkswagen, explored Europe, and later retraced the route of ancient caravans through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. He has lived in Mexico, spent a few years on a timber ranch in California’s High Sierras, and now resides in the sleepy beach town of Cambria, working as an interpretive guide at Hearst Castle.
 
Bruce Brown

Bruce Brown is a native Californian and received a Bachelor of Science degree in natural resource management from Cal Poly State University and has a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. He taught outdoor education for nine years both locally and in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of northern California, and opened a children’s summer camp in his local area with the current camp director. At present, he is a licensed marriage and family counselor in Arroyo Grande and owns a small commercial orchid nursery. Bruce has traveled extensively and eight years ago, he and his wife took an around-the-world tour. Bruce is a mountain climber, having climbed Kilimanjaro in Africa and to the base camp of Mt. Everest. He is also an avid fisherman, enjoying both fresh and salt water fishing.
 
Jean-Pierre Wolff

Jean-Pierre Wolff is winemaker and co-owner of Wolff Vineyards, producers of fine Edna Valley Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Teroldego, Syrah and Petit Sirah. The vineyard was planted almost 30 years ago, and was expanded in 1999 when Pierre added their artisan winery. The very-limited production at Wolff Vineyards is hand-crafted using traditional Burgundian wine-making methods. French new oak, barrel fermentation, sur lie and battonnate are a few of the techniques applied to their wines.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Cambria Pines Lodge
  Cambria, CA 5 nights
 Cambria Pines Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: Cambria Pines Lodge is located just off Highway One and is nestled among 25 acres of pines, set away from the crowds on California’s central coast. Enjoy the comforts of modern conveniences in a country setting. Accommodations, dining facilities and educational programs are located within a short walking distance of each other. Paths are flat and mostly paved. The hotel has a split-level floor plan with approximately 8 stairs to guestrooms. There are a limited number of rooms with ramp access. Please contact Road Scholar as soon as possible if you require such a room. Dinners will be buffet style. Some meal substitutions may be available for medical conditions indicated on the required Participant Information Form.
  Contact info: 2905 Burton Drive
Cambria, CA 93428 USA
phone: 800-966-6490
web: www.cambriapineslodge.com
  Room amenities: Amenities include satellite TV with on-demand movies, free wireless Internet, telephone with programmable wake-up call and voice mail, coffee maker, iron and ironing board, a hairdryer, and AM/FM radio alarm clock.
  Facility amenities: The Main Lodge offers an excellent restaurant featuring local wines and the Fireside Lounge (with nightly live entertainment) all surrounded by world-class gardens. The certified organic kitchen garden provides home grown organic produce to the restaurant at Cambria Pines Lodge, while other areas of the theme gardens offer spectacular landscaping. Other amenities include room service between 5:00 and 8:45 PM, a gift shop, a day spa and an outdoor pool and spa. Cambria Pines Lodge offers extensive grounds and gardens. The gardens are constantly being updated and expanded and offer something for everyone. Sit at the top of one of the forested hills and paint a picture of the surrounding hills framed by a series of pine trees, or sit by one of the many fountains located throughout the property. Take a stroll through the woods to Cambria Village or to Cambria Nursery and Florist, where many of the plants from our gardens are available for purchase. The Lodge is a non-smoking facility with smoking allowed outdoors only.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $89 -300 The Cambria Pines Lodge does not offer a discounted rate to Road Scholar participants for pre and post program stays. Please make reservations for early arrivals or stay-overs directly with the hotel. Be sure and tell whomever you speak with that you are with the Road Scholar group for that specific week. Call 805-927-4200 or toll free 800-966-6490.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $89 -300 The Cambria Pines Lodge does not offer a discounted rate to Road Scholar participants for pre and post program stays. Please make reservations for early arrivals or stay-overs directly with the hotel. Be sure and tell whomever you speak with that you are with the Road Scholar group for that specific week. Call 805-927-4200 or toll free 800-966-6490.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check-in and program registration is available from 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM. Dinner is scheduled to begin at 6:00 PM. You will be staying at Cambria Pines Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 9:00 AM after wrap-up session. Check-out time is 11:00 AM. You will be staying at Cambria Pines Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Complimentary on-site parking.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Cambria, CA
  Nearest city or town:  Morro Bay, California
  Nearest highway: Highway One
  Nearest airport:  San Luis Obispo, California
  From End of Program
  Location: Cambria, CA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Cambria

 

 
 

Service:

 

Public Transportation

   

Cambria, CA is halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on scenic Highway One. San Luis Obispo has the nearest plane, bus and train terminals. There is no convenient, regular public transportation from San Luis Obispo to Cambria Pines, about 45 miles away. The following airlines service San Luis Obispo: American Eagle, United Express, Sky West and American West.

 

Cambria from San Luis Obispo

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Cambria Towing & Taxi
phone: 805-927-4357
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$75 each way (up to 7 people)
Prices are subject to change.

   

Cambria is halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on scenic Highway One. San Luis Obispo has the nearest plane, bus and train terminals. There is no convenient, regular public transportation from San Luis Obispo to Cambria Pines (45 miles away). Advanced reservations are required.

 

Cambria from San Luis Obispo

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Ride On Transportation
phone: 805-541-8747
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$45 per person for two travellers; single traveller rate $90
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

50 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

37 miles

   

RIDE-ON is a private transportation company servicing San Luis Obispo (airport, train station and bus depot). Advance reservations required as they are not open on weekends. Sunday transportation is available by prior reservation only. You must be able to handle your own luggage to and from the RIDE-ON shuttle. Please ask for Bob or Aleen when calling. They will combine travellers for a reduced rate per person. Greyhound Bus Lines information: 800-229-9424 Amtrak information: 800-812-7245

 

Cambria from San Luis Obispo

 

From Bus Terminal

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Ride-On Transportation
phone: 805-541-8747
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$45 per person for two travellers; single traveller rate $90
Prices are subject to change.

   

For schedules and information, contact Greyhound Bus Lines at 800-229-9424. RIDE-ON is a private transportation company, which can provide transportation from San Luis Obispo. Reservations need to be made in advance because they are not open on weekends. Sunday transportation is available by prior reservation only. You must be able to handle your own luggage to and from the RIDE-ON shuttle.

 

Cambria from San Luis Obispo

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Ride-On Transportation
phone: 805-541-8747
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$45 per person for two travellers; single traveller rate $90
Prices are subject to change.

   

Contact Amtrak for schedules and information- 800-812-7245. RIDE-ON is a private transportation company, which can provide transportation from San Luis Obispo. Reservations need to be made in advance because they are not open on weekends. Sunday transportation is available by prior reservation only. You must be able to handle your own luggage to and from the RIDE-ON shuttle.

 

Cambria from San Luis Obispo

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Car Rentals

   

There are several rental car agencies at the airport if you prefer to rent a car. We recommend you make reservations in advance. Avis: 800-831-2847 Budget: 800-527-0700 Enterprise: 800-736-8222 Hertz: 800-654-3131 Thrifty: 800-847-4389

 
Driving Directions
  Cambria Pines Lodge (Cambria, CA) from Northern California Take Highway 101 south to Paso Robles. About 1.5 miles south of Paso Robles take CA Highway 46 West. Continue to follow CA-46. After nearly 25 miles, you will reach the intersection with CA Highway 1. Turn right (North) onto CA highway 1. Stay on Highway One until second stop light, which is Burton Drive. Turn right on Burton Drive and follow the double yellow line as the road winds uphill to the right. After half a mile, you will see a sign on the left for Cambria Pines.
  Cambria Pines Lodge (Cambria, CA) from SLO Airport Start out going northwest on Airport Dr toward Aero Dr. Turn slight right onto Aero Dr. Travel 0.2 miles. Turn left onto CA-227 / Broad St. Travel 2.2 mi. Turn right onto Santa Barbara St. Travel 0.4 mi. Santa Barbara St becomes Osos St. Travel 0.4 mi. Turn right onto Marsh St. Travel 0.1 mi. Turn left onto Santa Rosa St. Travel 3.2 mi. Santa Rosa St becomes CA-1 N. Travel 29.8 mi. After you reach the "Cambria City Limits" sign, stay on CA Highway 1. The second stop light is Burton Drive. Turn right on Burton Drive and follow the double yellow line as the road winds uphill to the right. After half a mile, you will see a sign on the left for Cambria Pines. Estimated Time: 50 minutes Estimated Distance: 36.57 miles
  Cambria Pines Lodge (Cambria, CA) from Scenic Coastal Route From Northern California Take Highway One going south. Cambria is a little over 100 miles south of Monterey. The road has numerous curves. Once you reach Cambria, the third stop light on Highway One is Burton Drive. Turn left on Burton Drive. Follow the double yellow line as the road winds uphill to the right. After half a mile, you will see a sign on the left for Cambria Pines.
  Cambria Pines Lodge (Cambria, CA) from Scenic Coastal Route From Southern California Travel Highway 101 north to San Luis Obispo. Once in San Luis Obispo city limits, take CA Highway 1 toward Morro Bay. Follow signs to CA Highway 1. In about 13 miles you will pass the city of Morro Bay, then Cayucos. Cambria is about 16 miles north of Cayucos. After you reach the "Cambria City Limits" sign, stay on CA Highway 1. The second stop light is Burton Drive. Turn right on Burton Drive and follow the double yellow line as the road winds uphill to the right. After half a mile, you will see a sign on the left for Cambria Pines.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome!/Orientation
(Sunday, January 26)
   
 Afternoon: Hotel check-in and program registration is from 3:00 - 5:00 PM.
 Dinner: Cambria Pines Lodge.
 Evening: Orientation session and introductions follow dinner.
   
Accommodations: Cambria Pines Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Preparation Classes/Morro Bay Museum of Natural History
(Monday, January 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Cambria Pines Lodge.
 Morning: Prepare for your upcoming field trips by studying Elephant Seals and sea otters this morning followed by a talk about the Monarch Butterfly migration. Get ready for our expert's fun and informative presentations!
 Lunch: Cambria Pines Lodge.
 Afternoon: Take a fieldtrip to Morro Bay for a walk along the bay's estuary on a board walk, the best way to get close to the tidal flats and view the wildlife without being on the water itself. This will be followed by time at the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History where interactive displays discuss estuary ecology, life and rhythms.
 Dinner: Cambria Pines Lodge.
 Evening: A local bird expert leads a class this evening to further your understanding of the birds in this area, and to prepare you for those to look for during our walks and fieldtrips this week.
   
Accommodations: Cambria Pines Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Audubon Society Walk; Wolf Vineyards; Free Time; Wine Talk
(Tuesday, January 28)
   
 Breakfast: At Cambria Pines Lodge.
 Morning: We'll head out with a guide from the Audubon Society to view some of the several hundred species of birds that winter in this area at Cloisters Community Park, which features a pond and wetlands that attract a number of birds and other wildlife as well as providing access to the beach. Afterwards, we'll head down the coast to enjoy a winery tour, talk and tasting at Wolff Vineyards.
 Lunch: Catered lunch at the vineyard.
 Afternoon: Following our lunch break take a tour of the vineyards with the owner and winemaker as he discusses his participation in natural habitat conservation and restoration. One such project focuses on salmon habitat restoration along the creeks on his property. His projects also provide habitat for native pond turtles, birds of prey and allow for the restoration of native plants. Then, return to the Cambria Pines Lodge for some free time in the afternoon to explore on your own. Public transportation or taxis are available to take you to sites of interest.
 Dinner: Cambria Pines Lodge.
 Evening: Spend this evening with our wine instructor learning about organic and sustainable wine growing practices. He will discuss his ecologically based wine growing practices which include soil management, integrated pest management, water conservation and energy conservation through the use of cover crops, and organic soil amendments.
   
Accommodations: Cambria Pines Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: San Simeon Birding Walk; Elephant Seals Field Trip; Whale Studies
(Wednesday, January 29)
   
 Breakfast: At Cambria Pines Lodge
 Morning: Known as a "Globally Important Bird Area on the Pacific Flyway," this time of year brings some 400 species of birds to their winter home. Head to San Simeon to walk with a local docent to view ocean birds, inland birds and those that inhabit the local hills. Although a mild to moderate hike (level 3), one can always stop anywhere and just enjoy the scenery or walk back to San Simeon Creek picnic area if one chooses. Following the walk, take a field trip to visit the elephant seal sanctuary with our mammal expert. It can be a noisy place indeed during breeding season as males bellow threats, pups squawk to be fed, and females squabble with each other over prime location and pups. Gargles, grunts, whimpers, squeals and trumpeting combine to create the elephant seal symphony of sound. From huge blubbery males with pendulous noses (up to 2 feet long) to winsome females with a permanent smile to endearing plump babies (weaners) with big brown eyes, this will be an experience you will long remember.
 Lunch: Lunch at the lodge.
 Afternoon: Our expert returns to continue our sea mammal studies- this time focusing on whales. Then enjoy a few hours of free time prior to dinner.
 Dinner: At Cambria Pines Lodge
 Evening: View a video on the story of the Northern Elephant Seal.
   
Accommodations: Cambria Pines Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Whale Watching; Butterfly Viewing; Lodge Garden Walk
(Thursday, January 30)
   
 Breakfast: At Cambria Pines Lodge
 Morning: Now it's time to catch a glimpse of the migrating grey whales and other ocean inhabitants such as sea otters and dolphins we've learned so much about. After a brief drive to Morro Bay, we'll board a chartered boat out to sea. Please note that weather may effect the length and possibility of this field trip. An alternate activity is planned in the event of unsafe sea conditions. Following the whale watching activity we will head down the coast to a beloved attraction at Pismo Beach, the "Butterfly Trees." You'll understand the nickname as you see hundreds of Monarchs congregating on their chosen trees, hanging wing down one over another forming a shingle effect and giving shelter and warmth for the group.
 Lunch: After our docent guide and instructor joins us to view these magnificent butterflies, enjoy some free time in Pismo Beach to explore this fun beach town and discover a restaurant for lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Return to the lodge. Enjoy some free time or take an optional tour of the Cambria Pines Lodge gardens with a local heritage and native plant expert. The lodge gardens include an Herb Garden, Succulent Garden, Flower Bed, Green Garden, Gazebo Garden, White Garden, Rose Garden, and Organic Kitchen Garden mingled with lawn areas, secluded pathways, and ancient pine trees.
 Dinner: At Cambria Pines Lodge
 Evening: View a one hour film on the Migration of the Monarch Butterfly to help with your understanding of this magnificent flight.
   
Accommodations: Cambria Pines Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Program Wrap Up and Farewells
(Friday, January 31)
   
 Breakfast: At Cambria Pines Lodges
 Morning: Program wrap up with discussion about program highlights. Farewell! Take with you the remembrance of the beautiful and pristine Central Coast of California!
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Cambria, CA Big Sur
From beaches to mountains...Hike along the streams in the cool, tree lined valleys. Climb up on the high ridges for a spectacular view of the coastline on the western slope and gaze into three million acres of wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest on the eastern slope. For additional information, visit www.bigsurcalifornia.org
  Cambria
A charming artists' village in an idyllic setting half-way between San Francisco and Los Angeles on scenic Highway One, Cambria is home to pristine beaches, wild and rugged hiking trails, quirky Nitt Witt Ridge, unique shops and art galleries, the very best in casual and fine dining. For additional information, visit www.cambriachamber.org
  Cambria's Farmers Market
Held every Friday throughout the year in the Vet's Hall parking lot from 2:30-5:30. Lots of fresh produce, specialty items, snacks, barbeque, and fresh flowers and plants.
  Hearst Castle
In 1865, George Hearst purchased 40,000-acres of ranchland. In 1919, his only son, William Randolph Hearst, inherited the land. By then the ranch had grown to encompass 250,000 acres. Originally known as "Camp Hill," its wilderness offered a place for family members and friends to "rough it" on camping trips. Despite elaborate arrangements with separate sleeping and dining tents, Hearst envisioned more comfortable accommodations. As they were planning and constructing his dream home, Hearst renamed the rocky perch from which it rose "La Cuesta Encantada" - The Enchanted Hill. By 1947, Hearst and his architect had created an estate of 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways. See website for details or call 800-444-4445 for more information. For additional information, visit www.hearstcastle.com
  Morro Bay
Near Hearst Castle and the Big Sur Coast, Morro Bay is a working fishing village. Its famous landmark, Morro Rock, was named by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo when he first charted this coast during his 16th Century voyage of discovery. The town is a pleasant tourist destination which has very mild weather all year long. There is no such thing as traffic in Morro Bay, unless, of course, you count birds, sea mammals, and fish! For additional information, visit www.morro-bay.net
  San Luis Obispo County
Learn about local events and activities. For additional information, visit www.sanluisobispocounty.com
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides)


Author: Paul A. Opler, Amy Bartlett Wright, Roger Tory Peterson


Birds of California Field Guide (Our Nature Field Guides)


Author: Stan Tekiela


Elephant Seals


Author: Carole & Phil Adams


Field Guide to the Gray Whale


Author: Oceanic Society


Introduction to California Birdlife


Author: Jules G. Evens, Ian Tait


National Audubon Society Field Guide to California


Author: Peter Alden, National Audubon Society Staff, National Audubon Society


National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies (National Audubon Society Field Guide Series)


Author: National Audubon Society


National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World (National Audubon Society Field Guide Series)


Author: Brent S. Stewart, Phillip J. Clapham, James A. Powell, Randall R. Reeves


National Geographic Field Guide to Birds: California


Author: Mel Baughman


Sightings : The Gray Whales' Mysterious Journey


Author: Brenda Peterson, Linda Hogan


The Last Monarch Butterfly: Conserving the Monarch Butterfly in a Brave New World


Author: Phil Schappert


The Monarch Butterfly: Biology and Conservation


Author: Michelle J. Solensky, Karen S.Oberhauser


Whales and Other Marine Mammals of California and Baja


Author: Tamara Eder, Ian Sheldon




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