This is another post specifically to show certain members of my family who are taking a trip to California from Utah to go to a 49er's game this month. Of course, they've already planned their 4-day itinerary, but I still can't help myself from injecting a couple or so ideas they might be able to at least look out for. For example, they are going to the aquarium in Monterey, but I happen to know it doesn't have to take a whole day to see the aquarium, as wonderful as it is. And it is a doozy, all right!
(Also, this is another post where I have borrowed pictures from the internet because all the pictures I've ever taken there are actual prints stored away in boxes that are not at my ready at this time. Just clarifyin'.)
On the way south, rounding the bend in the highway approaching Half Moon Bay, less than an hour out of San Francisco, the ocean comes in to mighty view (again, because it's mostly in view all the way, and then you can't see it for a minute, and then whoosh, there it is again!) and on the opposite side of the road are pumpkin fields. This surprised me so much, I wrote a poem about it once. Or at least tried to write a poem about it. It wasn't very good...or poetic. I don't know what made me think I should try to write a poem about something that was already poetry.
Eventually, they might notice the iconic artichoke fields, although maybe they look just about like any other field at this time of year. I love to see them when in cardoon season:
Right around the corner, actually almost in Monterey, in Pacific Grove, is the entrance to 17 Mile Drive. Can't miss it. And you shouldn't miss it. It won't let you miss it.
As long as you're on 17 Mile Drive, take a second to drift into Carmel-by-the-Sea. (I know it's mostly known simply as "Carmel," but that is just not as romantic or historic a name, is it? I mean, when I was a kid growing up in the desert, I didn't dream about visiting Carmel. I yearned to be by the sea in Carmel-by-the-Sea! Big difference!)
If, while you're there, you happen to cross paths with my old friend Clint, ask him to play Misty for me!
You should have time to, and it would be a shame if you didn't, visit the Mission San Carlos Borreo del rio Carmelo.
I have a picture of Dad by this mission. I think Katy and Jillian are in the picture, too. We went there at some point, the four of us.
I've taken too many road trips between San Francisco and Big Sur with family and friends to keep them all straight in my head and am having difficulty remembering exactly which stops I made with whom.
Some of us went camping on Thanksgiving at Big Sur, some of us kayaked in Monterey and Santa Cruz, some of us stayed in the kitschy-pink Lover's Point Inn in Pacific Grove and listened out the window across the way to the otters crack their dinner on rocks balanced on their tummies, some of us attended a retreat at the Quaker Center in the Santa Cruz mountains.
Fourth of July fireworks out over the ocean in Half Moon Bay, twilight concerts on the beach in Santa Cruz, hiking in sand dunes at Ano Nuevo State Park to see the elephant seals and being surprised by a squeaky mouse struggling to get out of a snake's opened-mouth death grip.
Once I was sitting on the sand, looking for sea glass while Katy and Kaid swam in the bay in Monterey. I looked up and saw 12-year-old Kaid a few feet in front of me, looked back down to find more glass, looked up again and Kaid had been replaced by a sea lion pup!
It's just kind of magic, that part of the world and those moments we experienced.
And, oh yes: