I had a wedding in Pebble Beach California. I am neither a golfer nor rich, so you may ask what I am doing going there for the weekend. Well, my friend had the wedding and I was tagging along, trying to fit in, no not really.
We flew into Monterey and after checking into our hotel in Carmel, it was time to go exploring. I had been through this area couple years back on a trip down the coast on Hwy 1 but I had not delved too deep. In addition, a couple years ago they christened a new National Park and I needed to check it off the list.
Our first stop was Point Lobos State Park about 3 miles south of Carmel.
It was a cloudy, foggy, overcast day so the views were fairly mundane. We soon came to find out that foggy and overcast was the norm around these parts, at least until the afternoon.
We paid the $10 entrance fee, and then also paid the $2 paper map fee and walked around for about 30 minutes. We headed out to Sea Lion Point and listened to some mating calls before retiring to the car.
We decided to drive the 10 minutes up to Monterey into the Cannery Row district for dinner and drinks.
We stopped for a beer over the water before heading upstairs to have dinner at the Giant Artichoke Restaurant. I was interested in this area because besides it being a major fishing industry in the 50s and 60s it was the focus of one of John Steinbeck’s novels. He is a favorite of mine and hails from the small town of Salinas CA nearby. “East of Eden” , a recommendation of mine, takes place there.
The next day we got up early to hit Pinnacles NP
Here is a map of the park
We came in on the West Entrance at the Chaparral
Ranger Station. We took the widest loop around the Park (10miles) which started with an uphill climb then descent to East Entrance and followed north back to car along the “Balconies Section”
It was not meant to go that long, but we missed a turn along the way.
As mentioned, the trail took a quick turn uphill and it was all switchbacks for the first mile, covering a couple thousand feet of elevation
The trail meandered up and over these pinnacles for which the park is named.
The California Condor is said to nest here, but we did not see any. If fact it was not until the last day, cruising along HWY 1 that I spotted a few.
After we missed a turn that would have taken us due east across the peaks and circled back to the car, we dropped down the backside of the mountain heading south
We ended up at the main entrance on the East side
Here we ran into a park ranger. I should mention that my fried insists on wearing this Army Ranger military hat everywhere we go and it always makes me extremely uncomfortable. At least three times on this trip people saw the hat and looked at me and thanked me for my service. Me being someone who does not enjoy talking, I usually nod to avoid an explanation that I was not in the military. I also do not want to make them look stupid for inferring it. This happened here with the ranger. The only problem is that once I just nod, if the conversation goes longer and they specifically ask me about my service I either have to lie and mention some place I was stationed or just say I did not serve, going back on the head nod from earlier. At this point I tried to pretend I am deaf, but usually just say it was her father that served. Needless to say it is a stressful situation for me and I must be on high alert at all times.
Hiking a little further I ran across this guy
I believe it was a Western Rattlesnake. It was just chilling on the path, all flattened out. I took a few pictures and warned some hikers coming from the other direction. I nearly stepped on him initially but my cat-like reflexes prevented me from a poisonous bite.
So after that we ran across a chain-gang from the local women’s prison. This hike was nothing if not entertaining.
Before the end of the hike we went through the Balconies cave system. Fortunately I brought my headlamp cause you could not see anything in there and the route was hard to determine. You actually had to climb up through a slot to get out of the cave. My friend was less than thrilled, and my turning off the light to see how dark it was, did not turn out to be a big hit with the crowd.
On the way home from the park we had lunch in Salinas at the Monterey Coast Brewery.
That night we headed out to the wedding welcoming party. It was at the grooms parent’s house off the Pebble Beach golf course. My friend worked with the bride, but it was the groom that was footing the bill for this weekend. It was a beautiful house with some interesting characters. I kept it in check and listened to all the rumors about who was sleeping with which maid and who was on Lithium.
They even had a drone overhead taking pictures. Not military grade, but a cool idea.
The next day was Saturday and I went running along the beach in Carmel and even jumped into the water to show all these pussies how we roll in Michigan. It was cold, but I had to save face by swimming around and acting carefree to the amazed onlookers before running back for a towel.
Carmel is a rich little community where Clint Eastwood was the former Mayor. As it turns out we were going to the wedding on his ranch the following day. I also found out that we left the party last night before Larry David (Seinfeld Fame) showed up. I could have pitched him on my new show idea. I walked around the town in the afternoon looking for a place to watch some college football, but the words Sports Bar are not in the vernacular here.
We drove back to Monterey for lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Your typical Wharf with seafood, seals and annoying tourists.
Time for the wedding. I pieced together a suit for the event and some friends of Leslie picked us up for the festivities.
The below shot is not great I admit. What I was trying to capture was 2 sheep having sex behind the minister during the ceremony. It was priceless, but I could not get it. My life hopes for a gig with National Geographic were ruined at that moment.
The ceremony was nice, and the afterparty was a swell old time. Everyone seemed to get over -served, but I kept the train on the tracks for once and we made it home by 2am.
The next day, before spending 12 hours trying to get home, we drove down HWY 1 and took in some views in Big Sur.
This was Pfeiffer Waterfall
I mention this for 2 reasons. One because this is now the second time on 3 years that I hiked to this stupid waterfall when I thought it was a different one farther down the road I saw on the Internet and because it was on this trail that I ran into Corbin Bernsen of LA Law fame. I say ran into him, but really I just walked by him and whispered to my friend who it was. She was clueless but I know I just had a Star Sighting.
We carried on along the coast to the waterfall I wanted to see
Near that same are we saw people doing some cliff jumping. If you look close on the right side of the rock below you can see someone
Finally here is a image of a whale I saw from far away. Below is an image of me right after I saw a whale from far away
We finished up with lunch at a café along the coast.
It was a quick trip, but a good mix of hiking and high-end partying.
Until Next Time