Edit Blog Post
Published: July 26th 2015
The first day of our Pacific Highway road trip began with collecting our Ford Escape from the rental company, trying not to get conned by all their hidden extras! We made a quick stop at the Golden Gate vista point to snap some photo's of the bridge fading into the fog before joining Highway 1and heading to Half Moon Bay for breakfast. With no entries in Lonely Planet, I relied on Trip Advisor for a highly recommended little spot at the local airport. With only a small sign outside advertising coffee, 3 Zero is a hidden gem. It is situated in the old airport terminal building and serves up traditional American breakfasts. The airport is still functional and you can watch small aircraft take off and land as you eat and if there are none scheduled, the aviation related memorabilia inside the cafe will keep you busy. The two guys on an adjacent table had just landed their plane and were dressed in military uniforms. A lady wandered over to them, shook their hands and thanked them for their service to their country. When they asked for the bill they were informed that the lady had also picked up their tab.
It still surprises me just how much the US military are venerated here and it was lovely to witness such a gesture.
Santa Cruz was our next destination. An old fashioned seaside town with a laid back vibe, it drew me in instantly. We walked from the town to the Boardwalk which hosts an amusement park, often recognised as the best seaside park in the world. It opened in 1907 and still has an old fashioned feel about it. From the wooden roller coaster to the fairground games, it definitely draws in the crowds. It reminded me of the fun parks I used to visit as a child in the seventies, my Grandma changing tens of pounds into coins so my brother and I could use them to win a watch worth five pounds! We much preferred the feel of the town, so we ventured back there for ice cream at The Penny Ice Creamery. They make their ice cream from scratch in the open kitchen within the shop. They don't have a list of regular flavours, but make a number of interesting flavours each day. I struggled to decide between the Blueberry Black Liquorice and the Brown Butter
Pecan. I eventually chose the latter and was very satisfied with my decision!
After leaving Santa Cruz, heading south to our final destination of the day, we hit bad traffic and queued for an hour. We assumed the hold up was due to roadworks - never did we imagine what the real reason was. A small wetland with hundreds of birds at the side of the highway, bird spotters darting across the road with their huge cameras and tripods, and cars pulled up everywhere. Crazy Californian bird spotters! As we were approached Monterey I gave the family a small historical/literary background to the town in which we would be spending the night. I could feel the eye rolls from the back seat and the driver's seat as I told them about John Steinbeck and his books, many of which are set in and around Monterey. East of Eden was based here and was later loosely adapted into a movie starring James Dean. Cannery Row is a novel set in the Great Depression and revolves around the sardine canneries and the lives of the people who lived there. The location featured in the novel was originally known as Ocean View
Avenue but was changed to Cannery Row in honour of the book. Robert Louis Stevenson also lived in Monterey for a short time but although these celebrated writers are held in high esteem here in Monterey, the town itself has a notable place in US history. When California became part of the United States in1846, it was Monterey that had the state's first public library, theatre, public building, printing press and newspaper. In more recent years the town has been proclaimed as the Language Capital of the World, playing a major role in interpretation and translation internationally.
Arriving at our hotel, an old Victorian inn with quaint little rooms (and beds - it's going to be very cosy tonight!), we dumped our bags and set off for a walk along the path which hugs the waterfront around to the wharf. Sea lions were plentiful, playing among the paddle boarders and kayakers. After dinner at the award winning restaurant, Montrio (Izzy and I both had the mouth watering lamb chops with beetroot and mint hummus), we took a drive along Cannery Row to check out the best places to visit in the morning before we hit the road again.
Tot: 2.743s; Tpl: 0.029s; cc: 11; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0289s; 2; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.4mb