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Published: February 21st 2018
Today, up at 7 am. It’s earlier than the people in the room downstairs would like us to get up, which they deal with by banging on the ceiling while we try to pack.
It is time to hit the road, heading south along the coast to Monterey. The old man goes to pick up the hire car (twice because he forgets his passport first time). So we’re running late and by the time he returns, check-out time has passed and I’m sitting in the street surrounded by bags keeping my distance from the abusive tramp. The hire car is enormous, a Nissan Rogue. I feel like a proper American (apart from the fact that I need an interpreter to buy chicken).
We drive down Route 1, which varies between a multi lane highway and a single lane road meandering through the forest along the Pacific coast. We stop for lunch at Santa Cruz, sitting on a rock surrounded by mesembryanthemums, with the waves crashing in below us and eager gulls circling overhead.
Then we continue to Carmel and 17 Mile Scenic Drive. It is indeed very scenic. If you cut out the golf courses, there are a
dozen stops in a 17 mile loop around a woody peninsula overlooking the Pacific. Each stop has stunning scenery and we work our way round taking lots of photos of the ocean, rocks, forest, ghost trees, harbour seals, deer and bird life. The wind is insane. It’s hard to stand up straight and I look like I’ve been trying to master the Donald Trump combover, but it’s been a great afternoon.
After checking into our hotel in Monterey, we walk along the coastal trail to Cannery Row, famous because Steinbeck wrote a book about it. But the sardines were fished to extinction so now it’s fancy shops and restaurants.
Back to the hotel via Trader Joes for less fancy supplies. Two firsts for me today; my first view of the Pacific and my first Californian beer.
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