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The Monterey Bay Peninsula

Posted by on May 16, 2017

Sitting on the dock of the bay…

Otis Redding’s classic hit was playing in my head as we headed south on Interstate 5 for the San Francisco Bay area. We decided to take an impromptu road trip to Carmel, California, for a few days to check out the area and get relief from the cold and rain of Seattle. My wife, Mish, and I had visited before during our honeymoon, but our son, Elijah, had never been there before, so this was a new experience for him. We packed the car with clothes, snacks, and the dog, Albie, and off we went on another family adventure.

We left after work, so we got a late start. The plan was to drive as far as we wanted and then get a hotel somewhere in route. The next day we would drive the rest of the way in one long segment. Fortunately, I-5 is an easy drive. It runs from the Canadian border all the way south to the Mexican border. We made it as far as Salem, Oregon, and then called it a night.

The next day we got an early start and continued on our way to the Monterey Bay area without incident. Mish found us a nice Motel 6 in the heart of Monterey. It was no frills, but inexpensive, clean, and convenient. A good night’s rest, hot shower, and coffee and we were ready to explore!

Monterey Bay is an incredibly beautiful place. The bay is home to numerous species of birds, sea otters, seals, seal ions, dolphins, whales, fish, and more. Because of the plethora of marine life, commercial fishing was established at what is now the famous Cannery Row, one-time center of the sardine packing industry. Fishing collapsed in the 1950s, but the historical buildings remain. Today, instead of housing fish processing factories, they house quaint shops, restaurants, and the magnificent Monterey Bay Aquarium.

If you want a good historical lesson on the area, you can read John Steinbeck’s novels Cannery Row (1945) and Sweet Thursday (1954). Both were the basis for the 1982 movie Cannery Row, starring Nick Nolte and Debra Winger.

Other notable past and present residents of Monterey include: authors Jack London, Robert Luis Stevenson, and Josh Billings; musicians Paul Anka, Michael Nesmith of the Monkees, and Frank Zappa; actors Clint Eastwood, Betty White, Doris Day, and Joan Fontaine; comedian George Lopez; artist Salvador Dali; TV personality Tory Belleci of the Myth Busters; and businessman Charles Schwab.

In the morning we had a wonderful breakfast at the Old Monterey Café on Alvarado Street. The food was amazing! I was at a meeting and running behind, so I caught up with my family at the café. My wife pre-ordered for me a salmon omelet with a side of pancakes and fresh orange juice. Heaven! The service was exceptional too.

After refueling myself, I needed to walk around a bit. We headed next door to the quaint little village of Carmel-By-the Sea. Check-in next week for day-2 of our family travel.

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