Holdin' me back Gravity's holdin' me back
Today was a more leisurely start as it was moving day and we had no deadlines as such. We just had the general aim of being on the road by 10am, which we easily achieved.
Our destination and stopping place for the next 2 nights was Monterey. We decided to take the longer scenic coastal route. It didn’t take long to get out of San Francisco and soon we had the lush countryside on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. It was beautiful.
We stopped when we arrived at Rockaway Beach, which soon had Neil playing the song by The Ramones incredulous that neither Karen & I could recall it. The car park by the beach wanted a large fee for parking as it was set up for the many surfers we could see. But as we only wanted to be there for a few minutes we decided to give it a miss and instead parked at a Starbucks the other side of the Freeway. Karen decided a coffee was more important than seeing the surfers so she got herself one and then sat guarding the car whilst Neil & I crossed the freeway and walked to the beach. It’s funny how we were all so suddenly security aware of the car and everything in it.
The beach was not one for relaxing on with dark sand. It was though a cove that was a haven for surfers. We saw a few catching a wave but for the most part it seemed they were all waiting for the perfect wave or missing ones completely. I think I would just get frustrated. It seems far too much effort for far too little return.
Before we left the car park, Neil & I went into the Safeway store next door and bought sandwiches and nibbles to have for lunch later.
We carried on the drive, stopping intermittently to admire the view when we could which was not that often as every pull in has now been designated as a State Park with a $10 parking fee. Several I pulled into and then had to quickly reverse out of as we didn’t want to pay the only option which was a fee to cover all day.
Eventually we found a free one. Unsurprisingly it was quite busy. We sat in the car and ate our lunch as a low cloud appeared from nowhere suddenly making it cold and windy. Once we had finished the food we drove on and dramatically the cloud just vanished and we were left with blue skies and sunshine.
Whilst eating lunch I had managed to get the radio tuned in. We soon realised that every 4th song played was the latest by Harry Styles with a smattering of Ed Sheeran thrown in for good measure. Karen loved it, Neil didn’t although even he smiled every time Harry came back on as it was so frequent.
We pushed onto our hotel – The Arbor Inn in Monterey. Karen moaned as usual as we pulled in that she would prefer a Holiday Inn Express. I pointed out that this one was about a third of the cost and had better reviews. She was as ever not convinced. We were given 2 rooms next to each other and in truth the rooms were not 5-star luxury but were fine. The only thing Karen could find to moan about was she didn’t like the colour it was painted. It was a typical USA motel type of place and we were upstairs and so I was very glad of Neil’s help with the luggage.
We set off out again about 4pm and headed to the famous 17-mile drive around Pebble Beach. This is a quite spectacular drive winding its way through the Cypress Forest down to the sea with some unbelievable large and lovely houses to pass. We stopped at several of the 17 viewpoints. At Spanish Bay, I found it therapeutic to try my hand at stone balancing as many other people before me had also done.
There are 4 golf courses here all of which were amazing. One viewpoint overlooking the sea also had a tee box to a green about 180 yards away. To get to the green though you had to drive across the corner of a small bay over the sea. I would be losing so many balls to the sea.
We stopped again at the Lone Tree which is the famous symbol of Pebble Beach. We wondered how many pictures of that had been taken and reckoned it must be in the many millions.
Then we arrived at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course and pulled into the car park and wandered to the visitors’ centre. The display was worth seeing alone, but it seemed whatever I was trying to read something, Karen would be calling me to look at something else. I just kept smiling and saying I would be there in a minute.
We ventured further into the complex and found the practice putting green and lots of posh shops. The prices for golf gear and clothes were eye wateringly expensive. I would like to have purchased a replica sign for a hole to go with my not replica one ‘acquired’ from the old Royal Norwich but that seemed to be the only souvenir not available. We found the first tee and I sneakily went and stood on the grass.
In 2027 the US Open is scheduled to be played here again.
Then we drove into Carmel. I was disappointed that there were no signs of Clint Eastwood anywhere and he didn’t walk across the road in front of me, to ‘make my day’. We eventually found a free parking slot and headed out on a stroll looking for somewhere to eat. The first half dozen or so places we looked at were wanting outrageous money for everything on the menu. Eventually we stopped and looked on Trip Advisor and found an Irish Bar called Mulligans that had good reviews and only wanted stupid money as opposed to outrageous money for food.
We had a bit of trouble locating it, mainly because it looked nothing like an Irish Pub and the only Irish thing about it was its name. We sat on the back patio. The service was good as was the food. Neil & I both had burgers whilst Karen played it safe with Fish & Chips although the chips were too spicy for her.
Back in our room, Neil tried to access the HDMI point on the TV so we could all sit and watch Stranger Things together but the TV was fixed to the wall and we couldn’t get our hands far enough behind to reach. So instead, he headed back to his room and Karen & I did some organising of our bags before going to bed. I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.