Saturday, November 14, 2009

South to Monterey

The wife and I took an overnight trip to the Monterey Peninsula on Thursday to visit the aquarium for the umpteenth time, and take in the sights of the beautiful California coast.

We stopped by Santa Cruz on the way to check out the Beach Boardwalk, but mostly everything was closed. I re-checked the calendar when we got home and discovered that the arcades opened at 12 noon, and we got there around 11:30 a.m. And of course, there were no signs to advise us of that, so we left a little disappointed, along with some other people who apparently were visiting the area as we were.

Our time at the Monterey Aquarium was much better spent. I’ve been to aquariums before, but the one in Monterey tops them all, as far as I’m concerned. The featured exhibit was seahorses; I’ve seen such an exhibit before, but this one was particularly amazing.

After dinner at Cannery Row, we turned in early at the Quality Inn, our feet hurting from all that walking we did.

First thing in the morning, we had breakfast at a German restaurant with an Italian name in a city with a Spanish name (Santa Lucia Café in Monterey). I thought was interesting.

We took the 17-Mile Drive on the peninsula, which is something I’d recommend to everyone. You have to pay a fee to get into the peninsula ($9.25, up from the $5 we paid when we last were there about 25 years ago) but it’s worth it.

About half the drive is a winding road through forests, but once you get into the coastal drive, it’s pretty spectacular. We stopped at Spanish Bay to walk among the sand dunes (there’s a narrow boardwalk that facilitates the walk), then at Bird Rock and the famous Lonely Cypress to take some photos.

Finally, we bought some items at the Pebble Beach pro shop, where I stood next to the historic 16 lockers named for the best golfers in the world (e.g. Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer).

We drove through picturesque downtown Carmel-By-The-Sea, and stopped by the Carmel Mission for some photographs before heading back to San Jose via California 1 and 17. The drive isn’t long, maybe about a half-hour from San Jose to Santa Cruz, then 45 minutes to Monterey. The return drive was about an hour and a half.

And that’s about the size of it.

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