Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Pacific Coast Highway And More Driving

So, Sunday Morning we were in Watsonville, just inland of the coast. We were done with California, all that remained was leaving. The only question was how. The Central Coast of California is some of the most beautiful country in the world and Linda Lou had never seen it so we decided to go south on the PCH.

The first place we stopped was Monterey. Things there have changed since I was a boy, Monterey, just south of Fort Ord was once a major military retirement area. Military folks who had done a tour there often retired there and I sure wouldn't blame them. Fort Ord is closed now, deactivated during the Clinton years and the Monterey area is way too expensive for the retired warriors. That would be okay but I do wonder how all those Leftists, who don't care about money, can afford to live there.

We drove down to Cannery Row, the area of the John Steinbeck book and fed a parking meter for a walk around. Parking was a quarter for fifteen minutes (See my comment about Leftists not caring about money). We walked about, Linda Lou, Captain Fatbob and me. Monterey did not discriminate against Black Pugs Of Doom like Santa Cruise did so we went down to the bay, he got his feet wet in the Pacific. I don't know how many dogs have seen both the Atlantic and the Pacific but Linda Lou's has. We heard, but could not see, a few Sea Lions and saw a Harbor Seal. There was no surf so Captain Fatbob did not send me ass over teakettle like he did at the Atlantic.

On the way out of Monterey we were behind an SUV with anti Dubya stickers and a nice big one about what Consertatives were conserving. Well, how about gasoline? And lead, I did not empty a gun in it, though it was tempting. It would have been difficult to hide the bodies, though. Sigh.

Done with Monterey, although we could have spent a month there, and thousands of dollars, we went back to the PCH and south, just a bit. The famous 17 mile drive is on the Monterey Peninsula so we took it. The average time for this drive is about two hours, except on a summer weekend when it is longer. Those who watch golf of the Teevee have seen the area, it is where Pebble Beach is. I last took this drive when, on formal occasions, I would wear a sailor suit with short pants. I think that was when we had a '49 or '50 Ford and it was a new car.

Well, '50 Fords are not new anymore and the 17 mile drive costs $8.75 but is worth every penny. I can't say much here, when we get home and scan the pictures into the computer I'll try to do it justice.

We then continued south on the PCH, about ten minutes south of Monterey we lost the four lane and it turned into a twisty, mountainous two lane road. The road did not quite twist enough for me to pat the taillights of the van as we drove but it was close. The PCH is a real road for motorcyclists and sport cars, not quite so much for a van with a guncart tied to the top. The PCH is a tiring drive that no one should take if in a hurry. It is not exactly the fastest way from San Francisco to LA. It is a road that everyone should take, though, at least some of it. We did not stop at the Hearst Castle as we were short on daylight and money. So we kept plugging south, past Big Sur and other attractions. Every few miles there is a Vista Point sign where one can stop, park and point at the vista, Spanish for view. Most were worth seeing. One Elephant Seals.of the last points we stopped at was a large one with a beach full of These seals are so named because of their long, hanging noses and their size, a full grown male is over two tons to five thousand pounds. This section of beach had more than a hundred, mostly snoozing in the sand. Some of the males were practice fighting, most were just laying about throwing sand upon themselves and snoozing in the sun. I'm not sure why the sand, perhaps to make it hard for flies to bite. Maybe insulation. I dunno, there are no seals in my part of Texas.

The seals were fun to watch, they'd come out of the water and galumph up the beach a little then collapse and snooze for a few. Then they'd galumph up the beach a little more and collapse again. I never figure out how many galumph/collapse cycles it took to get all the way up the beach because I'd watch one, it would collapse and start snoozing and I'd start watching another. I am using the word collapse on purpose, a seal would be working his way up and then collapse as if shot in the head. Then a few minutes later would start up again.

Shortly after that stop we drove through another small town, Cambria. Then it was time to turn inland on State Highway 46. This is another road that has turned into a stretch with yuppie vineyards alongside. This stretch of California Highway is most famous for a fatal car wreck. This is the stretch of road where James Dean, the actor, crashed his Porsche. I'm not sure exactly where he bought the farm, somewhere near Cholame where State Highway 41 crossed. I saw the sign about the James Dean Memorial Crossroads, I did not notice the memorial itself. Of course by then I was starting to get a bit tired. Not long after Cholame we were into the agricultural Central Valley again. After we hit Interstate Five we turned south and drove to Buttonwillow a little agricultural town noted for nothing but a few truck stops and motels, including the Motel Six we spent the night in. I was glad to see a bed.

No comments: