Monday, September 15, 2014

Monterey September 12-13, 2014

September 12, 2014

The trip from Napa to King City was not a particularly long one, but U.S. Rt. 101 was very bumpy and we all felt like our fillings were loose by the time we got parked in the Cuidad del Rey RV Park on Wild Horse Road.  I have to admit that we were a little apprehensive as we checked in.   The park is located on a feeder road next to the highway with a general store, a cafe, and a Valero Truck Stop beside the campground, and it is all surrounded by huge agriculture fields and dust.  Most of the campsites were occupied by migrant workers.  However, the sites were adequate, the people were nice, and we had a passable dinner at the cafe, so all was well.

September 13, 2014
We set out this morning for Monterey, and had a great time there.  After a stop at the Visitor's Center, where I was given a lecture on the difference between seals (only here in the spring) and sea lions which are here year round and not much admired by the lady behind the desk.  She also assured me that she would never go to Florida because she has been told that the place is not only extremely hot but also crawling with alligators and HUGE bugs.  Such a nice impression she made!

Our first stop was at the Old Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey which was built in 1845 to service the many trading vessels that came to what was then the major port on the Pacific.  The Wharf also served the booming whaling industry, but it was the tiny sardine that made Monterey  famous.  John Steinbeck immortalized the sardine canning factories here in his novel, CANNERY ROW.   Today the Wharf has sport fishing, sightseeing, sailing, whale watching, live theatre, a variety of shops selling the creations of local artisans, and world class restaurants.  Of course there are also numerous sea lions, gulls, and pelicans too.
Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey
The Wharf from the Sea Walk.  

Sea lions sleeping.

Sea lions synchronized swimming.  

Sea lion on a mooring buoy.  
We were impressed by the restaurants that tried to outdo each other with beautiful displays of their food specialities  by their front doors.  Many of them also offer free small cups of their clam chowder, each claiming to be the best on the Wharf.  We had lunch at Dominico's on the Wharf where we had a great view of the boats and sea lions, but although the food was attractively displayed, our fish and chips were only mediocre.  Bonnie, however, claimed that her oysters Rockerfeller were great.  

Strolling on the Wharf.

Lunch at Dominico's
After wandering about the Wharf for a while and seeing Cannery Row, which is very commercialized, we headed south on the Pacific Coast Highway for Carmel By The Sea.  I love this charming little town with its European atmosphere, quaint houses, and beautiful parks and beaches, but oh my, the traffic on this sunny Saturday afternoon was atrocious!

Traveling south on the Highway, we were overwhelmed by the beautiful views of the Santa Lucia Mountains plunging down to meet the sea.  The rocks and cliffs on this serpentine highway are beyond description.   It has to be one of the most beautiful roads in America.
Along the Big Sur Highway

 Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, we stopped at an overlook and out in the ocean a pod of whales was feeding with hundreds of birds flying above them!  It was so exciting to watch these huge animals rising out of the water then diving and blowing spume through their blow-holes!  We were absolutely entranced!   Unfortunately, about a million other people also stopped to see the whales and soon there was a monumental traffic jam heading south as far as the eye could see both in front of us and behind us.  Steve eventually managed to get the car turned around, and we headed back to the RV's as our dogs had been home a long, long time.  

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