Trip Start Nov 11, 2004
Trip End Dec 02, 2004

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, November 19, 2004

As I'd arrived somewhat late last night, I dawdled about a bit in the morning. It was not the greatest day in the world either – raining with enthusiasm, which always makes me a bit less likely to take photographs.  I’d say it was a less than memorable morning. 

By afternoon, the skies were starting to clear a bit and, according to a tourist document I picked up along the way, there was a wildlife sanctuary at Moss Landing.  It was past lunch time and I was hungry so decided to go in to the village to grab a bite to eat first. 

First of all I had to get into the village. It is a sort of a one way in, one way out type of place with a huge natural gas power plant taking up a fair portion of the middle.  And a huge traffic lineup to get into the part of the village (and across the one bridge) where the restaurants were – or so it seemed from my perspective. 

Once I got in there I was absolutely famished and while I am sure I would have been interested in the fact that (per Wikipedia) "The harbor's commercial boats land Dungeness crab, halibut, king salmon, albacore, rockfish, sablefish, anchovies, sardines, squid, black cod, red snapper, Covina, prawns, mackerel, and others." All I cared about was somewhere that would serve me quickly. 

I found “Phil’s Snack Shack & Deli” and am I ever glad I did.  Nothing special about the setup but the sandwich was wonderful.  Once I was filled up I had a quick and quirky wander around the (I think it’s called) Whole Enchilada Market which has to be seen to be believed Boutiques, antiques, art galleries, more and more.  Worth a stopover if you aren’t afraid of the traffic, which was not so bad on the way out. 

On my way out I made a quick stop at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.  (per Wikipedia) “Its’ mission is to ensure the perpetual health of ecosystems in the Slough and the surrounding watershed through preservation, restoration, research, information exchange and education with particular emphasis on the Research Reserve.” [It crosses my mind that this must be a challenge given that it is right next to the power plant.]  “The award winning visitor center has exhibits and is a trailhead for five miles (8 km) of trails that meander through oak woodlands, calm tidal creeks, and freshwater marshes”.

It is truly a wonderfully peaceful spot.  I listened hard for birds and other critters.  Heard them but did not see them.  As I left, the skies were closing in again and I expected the rain to start again. 

Managed to get myself back on Highway 1 after some more fiddling with the traffic jam and about an hour later I hit the outskirts of Monterey (Marina, Seaside).  Chock a block traffic.  Of course, I probably hit the rush hour. 

I was going to take the lovely 17 Mile Drive but after making my way through the city, I found I’d missed the time at the pay gate by about 15 minutes.  (Wikepedia) “17-Mile Drive is a scenic road through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula in California, much of which hugs the Pacific coastline and passes famous golf courses and mansions. Part of it serves as the main road through the gated community of Pebble Beach. Inside this community, non-residents have to pay a toll to use the road.  Like the community, the majority of 17-Mile Drive is owned and operated by the Pebble Beach Corporation.”

While this was very annoying, the gate guard pointed out that the weather was not really too good , the sun would soon be down and I would not be able to see a lot.  So I will put it on my list of things to see “next time” when I plan to spend more time around the Monterey/Carmel area as well.

I managed to get myself thoroughly lost and wound up in Carmel looking for my hotel in the complete dark. There aren’t any streetlights in Carmel (for atmosphere they tell me) but really enjoyed my stay at the very comfortable Comfort Inn on Ocean Ave and ate at a place called Em Le's which was a large and enjoyable meal.
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