Tom and Pam on a California tour Fall 2016 travel blog

Long view of Fisherman's Wharf

Rainbow and Fisherman's Wharf

A harbor seals day on the rocks

Starfish off of Coast Guard Pier

Santa Cruz Boardwalk from the 1/2 mile pier

THe 1/2 mile pier from the boardwalk

The otter and the gull

Carmel Beach - you can feel the spray

An ocean green

The iconic and copyrighted logo of Pebble Beach - in the flesh

The mission and church at Carmel


The trip from Santa Rosa to Monterey took longer than expected but there were no problems and we arrived at our home for the next 5 nights. The RV park is a US Navy recreation site and is located in the midst of Monterey Pines Golf Club. There is one fairway right behind us and a tee box to watch out for as you turn into the park – Rosalie, at the check-in desk, believes golfers take aim at vehicles that cross that path. I can see the tail of planes at the gates of the airport – it is that close – but there are not a lot of flights and most of them happen while we are gone. The park is perfect for our needs and a very convenient location for getting to our destinations.

Our first day full day in Monterey required a trip to the commissary and finding out where the Chevy dealer was because Tom made an appointment for an oil change on Saturday at 8 AM – I would not have done that. Locating the dealership meant that we could go by the house that my folks, sister and I lived in when we moved to Monterey in 1960 where my dad was stationed at Fort Ord. I think we found the house and I took a photo but I will have to compare it to an old photo when we get home. There a lot pf good family memories associated with living in Monterey.

We planned to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium but we got such a late start we moved that to Monday and since the weather was pretty we decided to go to Fisherman’s Wharf and do a little historic sightseeing. Parking is expensive if you are not careful but we found a lot that was reasonable and gave us a ½ mile walk down to the wharf – all along the beach with lots of gulls, harbor seals, cormorants and pelicans to watch. The wharf has lots of eating establishments but we weren’t interested in eating, so we watched people and the boats coming and going. On the way back to the truck we decided a walk down Coast Guard Pier would be good for us and there were a lot of sea lions making a lot of noise at the end of that pier. The walk back was so fun and interesting – we saw starfish – red, orange and brown – crabs and more sea lions.

On Saturday we headed to Santa Cruz. The drive up was very interesting as we drove through small coastal towns and then through huge farm fields. Tom and I were “amazed” that such fertile land is just over the dunes from all that sand - artichokes were 5/$1. Our first stop in Santa Cruz was the boardwalk, which we wandered down and back. The crowd was small but plenty of kids were there looking forward to the rides, cotton candy and ice cream. After the boardwalk we walked down to the wharf, which is about ½ mile long. Lots of eating establishments but we were watching the water – beautiful waves, surfers, sail boats, sea otters, and sea lions. The first sea otter we saw was on his back cracking something on his belly (clam, crab or mussel) and a seagull swooped in to try and steal a meal. You never know what issues someone else may have to deal with in their day. There were lots of sea lions napping on the support structure of the wharf. A lot of fishermen were out casting their lines and some type of gull got caught in one of the lines and dropped to the deck. The fisherman and his companion were trying frantically to free the bird but it took a couple of spectators to provide enough hands to get the job done. Once the bird was free he just stood on the deck as the gathered crowd watched - and then off he flew to the applause and cheering of all. Our walk back down the pier provided sightings of more sea lions and otters.

Sunday was our day for the 17 mile scenic drive through Pebble Beach and Carmel. It was RAINING!!!!!!!!! We did brave the weather at a few of the stops and the ocean was strong and beautiful. Even with the stormy weather surfers were in the water waiting for the perfect wave. Since the rain only seemed to increase we decided to “give up” and head to Carmel and the mission. Carmel is a town of narrow streets and we have a big red truck. Residents were understanding but Tom felt a little guilty taking up more than our fair share of the road a couple of times. The mission in Carmel survived better than the Santa Cruz mission. We were able to visit the original mission and then see the current church as a mass was being conducted. When we got back to the truck the sun was out so we headed back to the 17 mile drive to catch the stops we had skipped in the rain. While we were not able to see much of the BIG houses – walls and fences – we were impressed by what we did see. There is property for sale – just saying.

Monday was our last full day in Monterey and we headed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. There is just not any way to describe this place other than to say it is wonderful, a must see. We were there 5½ hours and it felt like it all just flew by. But since it is us we did have an unusual experience. We took a picnic lunch and when it was time to eat we found a bench outside facing the ocean and it was absolutely beautiful. Tom unwrapped his sandwich, just as I did, but he put his down to get out our water bottle and a gull stole his sandwich faster than you can say “NO!!!!!!!!!” This attracted some attention from other folks who were outside. Tom chased the gull to keep it from leaving a sandwich trail all over. The good news is we always pack 2 sandwiches for Tom. The second sandwich was eaten entirely by Tom. We guarded the Cheetos closely. We had a similar experience in 1982 while stopping for lunch in Sausalito, CA. History does repeat itself.

We are off to Paso Robles to see Madelyn (sister #3) and her grandsons, their mom Erin, and her daughter Kate.



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