We woke up in Monterey and did a little sight seeing before continuing north on Hwy 1. I think it is safe to say that Steinbeck could not afford Monterey today. This of course does not stop the town from trading on his reputation. They also spend a lot of time celebrating their rich cannery history. Unfortuantly the fishing industry did not police themselves (no industry ever polices themselves) and there are no fishing fleets leaving Monterey. All that are left are refurbished buildings, a bunch of Starbucks, and some cool sidewalk markers.
Monterey also has a nifty aquarium but Henna chose to hang out at the beach instead. Unlike the day before we knew where we were staying which allowed for a more relaxed vibe. I was, however, very excited to see an old friend, Dan, and meet his family for the first time. I first met Dan while studying in London my senior year of college and then stayed friends with him up to about the time Corey and I got married. Dan married shortly after I did and now has three wonderful kids (2 boys and a girl). He also has a super cool wife named Caroline. While watching Corey buy sandals at a Payless (the second pair of sandals purchased by her this trip) I texted Dan for beach suggestions and he recommended Sea Cliff.
Sea Cliff State Park is a fun beach to hang out at. What really makes it memorable is this giant ship tethered to the end of a pier. Is it a shipwreck? No. Built of concrete (it seemed a good idea at the time) it was intentionally beached and a pier was built in order to create a nightclub. The business lasted two years before going bankrupt and eventually the state purchased it for $1. Now a million birds nest and poop on it while a lot of people play in the waves below.
After making some feeble attempts at body surfing while Henna picked up sticks, rocks and shells (and Corey worked on her tan) we made it to Dan’s house. We talked my favorite subjects (politics and religion) and I got a real kick out of his kids. Caroline was more than gracious as a hostess and really made us feel at home. It is hard to describe exactly how good it felt to be so welcomed into someone elses home. Anywhere else I might have felt homesick, there I felt at home. Thank you.
For the next beach we called home and got Mor Mor’s input. A few years back her and Corey’s Dad hung out at Pescadero Beach. Corey’s dad was stationed near San Francisco for about 18 months. Pescadero Beach was a fun place to be then and it still is. Henna built small driftwood house and searched for shells. In addition to some sand dollars, her and Corey found one large star fish. It felt good hanging at the beach. I also greatly enjoyed the stretch of Hwy 1 from Santa Cruz to the beach. Although not as dramatic as by Big Sur, the road offered plenty of fruit stands and many views of the ocean. All in all it felt more accessible and friendly than the big drop offs of Big Sur.
After the beach we drove into the city (San Fran). This is my second (Corey’s third) time in the city on the bay. Having checked off a lot of the obvious tourist destinations we felt OK with just one night. Our sole goal in the city was China Town and we had a slightly over priced but delicious meal. For me the city felt more downtrodden than the last time I visited. Maybe it was the cold (last time it was mostly sunny). I write to you now from a fancy hotel room homesick for our tent. Tomorrow we ride north.