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Baltimore by the Sea

Monday, February 28, 2011

Down in Monterey

As Winnie the Pooh once said, 'it's more friendly with two'. So when I found out I was in for a week's training/conference in Monterey, I asked my long time best buddy Joann up to spend the week with me in Monterey.

So bright and early this Monday morn, I picked Joann up at the Sacramento airport. We headed south for Monterey. Along the way, we made a stop or two. At Santa Nella we stocked up on licorice, a necessity for the traveling woman, second only to chocolate. Later as we drove over the Panoche Pass I was agog at how the usually only damp San Luiz Rey Reservoir was full of water. It didn't show the usual dry 'bathtub ring' it's had after what seems to me decades of dry weather. Water in the reservoir reaches right up to the green grass covering the low hills.

High Waters at the Reservoir!

Our next stop was for more hard core licorice at 'Casa De Las Fruitas' a locally famous freeway stop. It is family friendly and features cute little stores at which you can find shops specializing in fresh fruit, candies and other sweets and even chachkies for the garden. There is a double-decker merry-go-round and a tiny steam engine that ferries kids and their parents around.

Casa De Fruitas' double decker Merry-go-Round

An hour or so later, we rounded a bend on Highway 1, and there we found ourselves looking at the Pacific Ocean and the entirety of the Monterey Coastline.

First look at Monterey Bay from Hwy 1

When we arrived in the heart of Monterey, we buzzed around and found the Hyatt, our home for the week. I immediately took off for my conference, for which I was too late to join in at the fancy opening reception & luncheon. But when at last I was done with the day's work related activities, I grabbed Joann. We were off for a late lunch/early dinner at Fisherman's Wharf. Got nice window seat and our v. friendly waiter offered to take our portrait for the memories.

Getting ready to dig into our halibut fish n' chips

I love meals at restaurants on the Wharf. You can look down on the water and see what the sea breeze has blown close to shore. Sometimes there are Sea Otters, always there are cormorants but today there was a nice loon doing some sight seeing of its own.

Nice little Common Loon floating by

After our early dinner, we drove down Cannery Row, at the end of which is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Being after 5 PM, we discovered the aquarium was closed for the day, so we'll have to visit the fishies later this week.

Straight shot down Cannery Row

We had a fantastic day for sight seeing. The ocean changes it's looks from one hour to the next but we managed to hit a day when the ocean was sky blue and the ocean water seemed relatively quiet.

Rugged Rocks and Tide Pools line the Bay

Torch plant formed a nice frame for Joann's shot here

The coast is littered with white, grey and black living sausages, commonly known as Harbor Seals. We cracked up because the pair below would lie quietly, then suddenly come alive, fins flapping wildly as they attempted to 'bitch slap' each other. Only thing was, they were too lazy to lean forward to make flipper to face contact, so their flippers waved frantically, uneffectively in the air; a totally seal riot, I can tell you.

Slap, slap, slap, slap, slap!

Joann was our trip photographer because I didn't bring my camera. She did a bang up job too, I can tell you. She was particularly taken with the ocean spray over coastal rocks.

Every ten feet a new view

Before I knew it, following the winding coast road, I found myself shooting at some 40 mph past a kiosk. A guard came running out, arms waving and I decided I ought to stop... you think? Seems we were about to enter what is known as the '17 Mile Drive'. It is a private stretch of road that traverses the world famous Pebble Beach Golf Course and to my horror, costs $9.50 to enjoy! I was going to turn back but Joann coughed up the cash, figuring hell, we came this far, may as well go for the whole enchilada.

The ocean looked not one jot prettier than the free stretch we'd just driven, but I must admit, the landscaping was pretty spectacular and it did come with a map and write up of the roadside attractions. There are homes through Pebble Beach are of Sunset Magazine quality. Joann and I couldn't stop laughing as we leaned our ears out the car window to better hear the property values falling as the riff-raff - that would be us, drove by.

Oh dear... who let those sorts in?!

Among the lush landscaping were loads of Mule Deer... mules in hoity toity land? Anyway, I was tickled with them and I nabbed Joann's Nikon camera for a shot or two of my own - all critters of course.

Mule Deer Thoroughbreds

As we drove past one patch of golf course, I got excited and shouted, "Coyotes!" I snatched Joann's camera again and we both leaned, with excitement, towards the critters - and realized, I was photographing painted, "see-ment" coy-otes.

Were they live, or were they Memorex?

Those replica canids got a big laugh. Pretty hammy for 'see-ment' critters.

Twilight closes in on the bay

Windblown coastal trees

The strange Monterey Cypress look spooky
enough for flying monkeys to perch on

The sunset ignited all the rocks and trees along the shoreline

Pretty soon it was sunset and we headed back to town for some more yakkin' and a bit of lite reading.

1 comment:

  1. Claire - I like your photo of you and your friend - its cute. Great photos of my home town plus. love,