Thursday, December 3, 2009


Looking into the kelp forest.
The Outer Bay Exhibit
The secret lives of seahorses
Scenes from Cannery Row and John Steinbeck.
Fisherman's Wharf and the harbor
The happy couple, Lone Cypress and crashing surf along the 17 Mile Drive.
The Lodge, the 18th hole and Bing Crosby at Pebble Beach.
The Pacific Coast Highway between Carmel and Big Sur.
One of the fabulous sunsets we enjoyed.

We spent a week at the Betabel (sugarbeet) RV Park in San Juan Bautista, CA while we explored the coast around the Monterey Peninsula. In addition to sugarbeets, nearby Gilroy is famous for its garlic and Castroville for artichokes. It is amazing driving through California seeing the vast amount of farmland and the big variety of food grown here. That said, they are really suffering from the two plus years of drought.

We enjoyed Monterey and explored the shops along Cannery Row. This place, made famous by John Steinbeck, is in many ways another sad example of an American industrial area that had fallen into disrepair then was turned into a line of bars and stores that sell cheap imported junque to lure the tourists. It is a good thing they preserve these places but they don't really provide the kinds of jobs they once did. On Thanksgiving we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium which has a wonderful display of the many unique species found in the bay. The bay is unusual because of the depth of the water so near the coast. Scientists from the aquarium can do day trips into the deep where they have discovered many new species and be home in time to have dinner with their families each evening. There are exhibits of the kelp forest, splash zone, tidal pool and outer bay. The splash and tidal displays have both inside and outside areas. There are special areas for coastal birds, seahorses, jellies, octopus and the very popular sea otters. A new exhibit featuring pink flamingos will open in the spring. The aquarium offers excellent information on endangered wildlife and guidelines about which fish are safe to eat and which should be avoided because of their chemical levels or over fishing. This is a great aquarium and the visit is well worth the price of admission.

While here we both celebrated our birthdays and had a nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner of seafood at Isabella's, a nice a restaurant overlooking the harbor at Fisherman's Wharf. The closest we came to tradition was the pumpkin tiramisu they gave us for dessert when they learned it was my birthday. This was our first holiday since being on the road where it was just the two of us without family or friends. On Nanc's birthday we drove the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur and much of 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach Resorts. 17 Mile Drive, which travels along the coast, through the forest and five golf courses, has spectacular views of nature and many fabulous homes. At the Pebble Beach Golf Links we went to The Lodge, the first tee and putting green and got to see the famous 18th hole. There is also a wall with all the names of the winners of the Bing Crosby Pro-Am. The 2010 US Open is here so we will have to watch since we have visited. It was all really impressive but the prices in the shops and the Rolls Royce parked out front made us realize we were in way over our heads. I love to look at real estate prices at the places we visit and we found a home with a view of the Pacific across the 18th fairway for $35,000,000. (we passed:) WHO LIVES IN THESE PLACES???? We then drove into Carmel and down Highway 1 to Big Sur. The surf was up and the crashing waves were great. We stopped at Rocky Point to have a snack and watch the sunset. As we watched I swear you could hear the sun sizzling as it sunk into the Pacific on the horizon. We returned to Carmel and had dinner at Clint Eastwood's Hogs Breath Inn. Unfortunately, Clint did not "make my day" by showing up.

1 comment:

MarkandRenita said...

Love the jellies picture. You are so right about the same old tourist junk everywhere you travel.