Monterey HI

Trip Start Jul 12, 2006
Trip End Jun 18, 2007

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Where I stayed
Hi Hostel

Flag of United States  , California
Monday, September 4, 2006

We were up and out of the motel for 11am, tried to get into the Dennys across the road for breakfast but there was a queue out the door. So we decided to forget that and drove to 17 mile drive, which is a scenic coastal drive around the Monterey peninsular. It was cloudy and a bit chilly when we woke up but by the time we got past the gate, parked up and had a climb all over the rocks, the sun had burned through the clouds and it was lovely, sunny and a bit warmer. The drive was lovely, if a bit crowded. Every man and his dog was out and about. There was a total of 21 stopping points along the drive, which took you right along the coast, you could get out and have a climb over the rocks or walk on the beach, all were good fun. It also gave you a little bit of history about the area but I think most people were more interested in looking in the rock pools. Lee & I had a clamber over quite a few rocks and out to where the sea was to see if we could capture some crabs. But the little blighters had crammed themselves right in between the rocks, so we had no chance really, well till Lee found a stick and a dead crab and managed to temp a big crab out. They're right fiesty little creatures, specially when you try and pick them up with a stick. This crab was having a right fight with the stick. The beach also has loads of this horrible bull kelp seaweed everywhere, it's huge, long and has a big bulb at one end to attach it to the sea floor. It's disgusting and there's huge piles of it washed up on the beach, all full of filthy flies. We didn't realise this until you go near the seaweed and disturb all the flies and a whole cloud of them flies up - yuk yuk yuk! Mental note, never to go near seaweed again.

The coast was lovely though and some parts of the beach are so white with a lovely turquoisey blue sea washing up on it. You can see why seals come here to bread. Once we'd completed the drive we went back into town, parked up in the residential area, not too far from the HI Hostel actually and then headed down to Cannery row again. There was a restaurant right on the beach that had a little stall out the front selling seafood (a bit like Southend really!) and clam chowder. We'd had a little free sample of the chowder yesterday and it was delicious, so we bought a big pot for a cheap lunch and at it while walking around the town. It was early aftenoon on Labour Day and we weren't too sure where we were going to stay. We sat outside a fish and chip shop and phone the Candle Inn for a price for the night, then phoned the HI in Santa Cruz (who weren't answering their phones!) and then a camp site at Big Basin, which was past Santa Cruz but it was after 5 and we didn't think we'd get to the camp site and set up in time before the light went. So we had a short walk back to the HI in Monterey and got some info on their beds. It was quite a nice hostel and quiet tonight as well, there was only 2 other beds in the dorm taken.

We went back to pick the car up and had a drive around. We really wanted to stay near the front as it would mean that we could both have a drink then walk back to our accom but the Candle Inn motel was actually cheaper than the hostel beds for the night. We had a ponder while buying some cheap Californian wine at a local liqour store and decided to stay at the HI.

Once we were all settled into the HI we grabbed a bottle of wine, two glasses that we'd borrowed from, erm, somewhere and then walked along the coast to Lovers Point (aaahhh!), which was about a mile away along the coast. It was a lovely walk, if a bit windy but we spotted some seals and an otter, which made it worth while. We sat on the rocks at lovers point, quaffing wine and going over our journey across the USA. Can't quite believe it's almost over really. We stayed there for about an hour just chatting and watching the sun go down until I got really cold and started moaning, then we headed back to the town to find something to eat.

We still had some wine left so we stopped outside a restaurant, by the beach to finish it off. By the time we'd done that it was about 9:45pm. We found a restaurant, got a seat and the ordered some drinks. I couldn't find a menu anywhere, when the waitress got back I asked her what time they served till, 9:30, she said, It's Labour Day. And then it dawned on us. Everywhere shut early on Labour Day. We were both starving, it was about 9:50pm and it was only then that we realised most places were deserted and most places had either closed or stopped serving food. Luckily, a few streets back nearer the hostel we'd spotted a KFC earlier. We'd spotted it earlier because we were both being quite harsh about fast food and the US diet. Well, our words came back to haunt us because we had to run, yes, run, for a KFC. I have never run for fast food before in my life but it was the only place left open. We ran to KFC and managed to get the last order of the day in. As much as I hate to admit it, I was quite grateful that it was open and serving food.

We scoffed our food down as the KFC people were waiting to shut up, you could see the pain in their eyes when we rushed through the door at 9:55pm and put a big order in. Then headed back to our dorm and a good nights kip.
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