Sunday, April 17, 2016

Enroute to Carmel Valley Ranch

I don’t drive as much as I used to, since I don’t have many things to do, or places to go since I retired. But I’ve often mentioned on Facebook that whenever I do go out, it seems the traffic people send out a memo in advance that I’m going to be on the road, figure out where I’m going, and start construction on the streets in my path.

It seems the transportation department people in California have been alerted in advance of my travels.

Our planned route from Fremont to Carmel Valley Ranch (the 808 into the 17, to California 1 to Carmel Valley Road) is supposed to take about two hours, according to Google Maps. Given Google’s propensities for run-around errors, I mentally added a few minutes.

Silly me, I forgot to factor in the “Memo Syndrome.” The trip turned out to be four-and-a-half hours.

All was sailing smoothly until we came to the 17-Cal 1 turnoff. The turnoff was packed. We crept, we crawled onto California 1. Then, it took us a little over a hour to go the next 10 miles. It cleared up, but about a mile to the Cal-1/Carmel Road intersection, it slowed down to a crawl – a ve-e-e-ery slow advance.

Carmel Valley Ranch is ‘way up the valley, and after the turn, we were sailing along nicely when we saw a “Road Work Ahead” sign, then an “Expect Delays” sign, before joining a long line of cars stopped on the road. About 20 minutes later, we began moving again and the mile-long line made it past a road crew worker brandishing a “Stop” sign.

I hit the Internet on the long stop and discovered the road crews had started resurfacing the day before and wouldn’t be done until after we were well on our way back to Fremont. That would wreak havoc on our plans to leave the resort and tour Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Monterey during the next few days. Big delay leaving, big delay returning. Every time. Eww.

So then, I missed the tiny hidden turnoff to Old Valley Road and had to turn around and double back. Once I found it, it was smooth sailing to the Ranch’s entrance. The guard gate guy waved us through and I began searching for the front office. I made the mistake of depending on my GPS to guide me. All it did was guide me in … circles!

When the guard gate finally came back into view after 20 minutes of frustrating “no, not there; no, not there,” I broke down and asked directions. The guard told me to make a u-turn and meet him on the other side of the guard shack.

He then checked me in and told me how to get to registration – straight shot – and that he’d alert them that we were on the way.

I shouldn’t have been so macho. Should have asked directions anyway … a curse on the GPS lady!

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