We woke up in Salinas on Monday, and I walked out of the hotel room to a sight I had not entirely expected. Rows and rows of tilled dirt.
Reminded me of the first morning I woke up in Africa, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I had arrived late at night and hadn’t looked at a map before I left, so I had no idea what to expect. This is what I saw.
Our tentative destination for the day was Point Lobos State Reserve on the coast just south of Monterey. At this point I should credit the inspiration for these destinations to Marcus (cousin Christy’s partner) who described both Pinnacles and Point Lobos as two of his favorite places in California.
Our drive to Point Lobos took us over some mountains and into Carmel, and when we finally saw the ocean for the first time (this trip), its captivating blueness forced us to pull over, take our shoes off, and tromp around in the sand.
Stephanie said it reminded her of the Mediterranean—which was unusual because the Pacific doesn’t often appear with so deep and bright a shade of blue. It made her very happy.
We got to Point Lobos, which was packed, but managed to snag a parking spot along the road just in front of entrance. We purchased a map at the entrance station, and hit the first trail we saw towards Whalers Cove.
By the end of the hike, it was around 2 and we were starving, having had a gas station breakfast hours earlier of granola bars and juice. I don’t think we’d planned to cover the whole park, but each segment of the hike was deceptively short. I kept saying “Oh, we’re here already, let’s go a little further!”
Eventually we headed back towards the entrance, carefully avoiding the copious poision oak that was all over the park. So far I’m clean—but I’m kind of afraid to wear the jeans I had on that day.
We took off toward Monterey in search of food, both of us near starvation, but nobly withstanding the urge to settle for fast food. Eventually we got to the tourist heart of Monterey where we found an upscale albeit touristy restaurant called the Fish Hopper—redeemed by the tremendous view on all sides.
We gorged, Stephanie on a penne pasta alfredo with dungeness crab, me on a macademia-encrusted tilapia with ginger lime sauce and mango relish. Mmm. All that with a bottle of local sauvignon blanc (2003 Morgan). And a grilled artichoke. And a chocolate carmel mousse.
Other than the long drive home along the coast as the sun set, that brings last weekend’s adventure to an end.