Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monterey Trip

Monterey Peninsula
September 17-19, 2008

Work is slowing down quite a bit on the golf course and I had 3 days off in a row. I thought a little independent vacation to the coast would be a nice change, so I packed up and headed to Monterey Peninsula, about 5 hours away. I found a centrally located campground atop a hill near downtown Monterey and began to explore the area. I went down to Cannery Row, where not surprisingly, sardines were canned back in the day.

The great thing about Monterey Bay is all the Marine life. There are tons of little tide pools filled with starfish, sea anemones (which I accidentally mistakened for dead jellyfish, but they moved when I touched them), seals, sea otters and sea lions. There is so much life here and when the ocean moves in and out, it's as if the water is breathing life with every surge. *Look at the seagull; it's about to swallow a starfish whole!

At dark I headed back to the campsite and listened to my headphones when an angry couple ignorant of camp etiquette decided to fight for a half hour. But I still got up early the next day to head down the coast to Big Sur.
Big Sur is a beautiful scenic drive on Coastal Hwy 1 of rocky cliffs, dramatic views and winding roads. I continued on it for about 25 miles and found a nice state park to wander on. I even ran into some people from Cincinnati and we talked about home for a moment, which is always nice.

I discovered a little homey hippie place called, "The Henry Miller Library." It included an amazing collection of books on philosophy and psychology and is run by an open minded liberal group of employees. I bought a book entitled Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, which
reflects upon the psychology of belief systems and why they are needed in society...can't wait to read it!

I then treated myself to a nice little restaurant set upon the sea bluff overlooking the beautiful ocean and horizon.

I tried to navigate the famous "17 Mile Drive," but got lost due to detours and lack of a good map. So I missed out on seeing the famous golf courses, including Pebble Beach, and although I threw my clubs in the trunk before leaving on a whim, there is no way I could play any of the courses in this area! So instead I headed into the charming (and $loaded$) town of Carmel.

Carmel is very unique and has a bit of a European feel to it. There are a lot of wealthy citizens, however, and the whole of Monterey was way more populated and busy than I expected. An old man in a nice red Mercedes shook his fist at me when I thought he would let me merge in front of him. Kim, you're not in Tahoe anymore! But overall people were friendly and I managed my way around.

After Carmel, I happened upon a free night at the local Art Museum, which served up drinks and hors d'oeuvres. They had a nice jazz band playing and I felt very cultured!
I then headed back down to Big Sur during sunset to the Henry Miller Library to participate in a little film festival. They ended up showing about 6 or 7 independent films from Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Austria, France and the US. They had a great set up and I met a lot of friendly people. It was definitely worth the drive!

I saved the main attraction for the last day: The Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's world famous and a beautiful place to visit. They have an excellent sea otter exhibit and the best part is you can learn about the ocean, and then go to the viewing deck to look out a telescope and see it all for yourself! My favorite exhibit was the kelp tank. It's very soothing to watch the plants sway in the currents. I just missed the Great White shark that was kept in captivity there for a few weeks. She wasn't feeding, so they released her about 2 weeks before I got there...oh well, there was plenty else to see! I'll just post some of my favorite photos from the aquarium...ENJOY!! (PS- look closely at the sea life camouflaged into the rocks!)

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