A Weekend in Monterey and Carmel, CA
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
June 14 to June 16
Let me start by saying that I have been to Monterey before, years ago. And if I remember correctly I really enjoyed it. Well this time around was a little different. I showed up on a Monday and went straight to the Pier for some seafood.
How do I describe the scene? Well let’s put it this way, it reminded me of the last day of the County Fair. Everyone sort of seemed over it, there was shit everywhere, didn’t have the vibe that I recalled from years past. All good, I’ll just stay for one night and move along. But while I'm here I might as well take advantage of it. I ordered some fish and chips at the most "Fish and Chips" looking place I could find. Just look for a restaurant that has a sign or a painting of a white guy with a bandana, eye patch and peg legs, you know the place, every coastal town has one. That place always has the best fish and chips. This case was no exception, the food was bomb. I sat on a bench overlooking the water and munched. While I was eating, a sign from the restaurant that I ordered from, Crab House, was lifted off the ground by the wind and sent directly at my dome (noggin, head, temple piece). I can't make this shit up, I had to dive out of the way of this big ass plastic sign. The manager came running out to make sure I was okay and retrieve her sign.
Manager: Are you okay?
Me: I hate this place
I got up and helped her carry the sign back into the restaurant. She invited me in for a drink on the house. I'm no dumby, I accepted. She explained to the bartender that I was there for a free drink.
Bartender: What can I get ya?
Me: The highest ABV beer you've got.
Bartender: Long day?
Me: Ehh, nothing to complain about. Just fixin' to get a little buzzed up.
After walking around Cannery Row for a bit I went straight to the cheapest motel in town, got a room and a six pack and joined my buddy Nick in Florida online for some card breaks. Chalked Monterey up as a quick stop.
*I will say that I grabbed a coffee the next day on the water at Tidal and that was much more enjoyable than the day before. That particular area was dope. I'll give Monterey another try but it just wasn't in the cards this time, all good.
I left on Tuesday morning to head for Carmel to do some laundry. If you've never been to Carmel it is absolutely worth a stop.
Also, nicest laundry facility I ever saw. Carmel is a rich town, a really rich town. I think Clint Eastwood used to be the mayor, that's the story anyways. I felt pretty comfortable leaving my laundry unattended and I went and grabbed breakfast while my clothes dried. I walked around the main tourist area and finally decided on a place that didn't look too terribly expensive. I paid $20 for some french toast at a restaurant named Stationaery. Now, does the spelling of that restaurant fire me up, absolutely, but the food was delicious. As much as I would’ve loved to stay in Carmel my wallet said get out dude. So I did.
I didn’t make it far. Just south of Carmel is a Nature Reserve called Point Lobos. As I drove past all of the parked cars I thought, "probably nothing cool to see, just a state park or something". After a mile of parked cars my curiosity piqued. I parked the car, grabbed the camera and took off to check it out. Right as I entered the trail I ran into a Park Ranger that lived on site, sweetest lady I ever met. I inquired about the park and which route would provide the best experience. She told me that since I looked to be “fit” I should do the whole damn loop. What she didn’t mention is that the loop takes 5 hours. After 2 hours I kept telling myself "it has to end right around this corner".
I said that for 3 hours before it finally ended. I did the whole loop and by the time I got done I was hangry. My goal was to make it to Paso Robles for the night which was about 5 hours south down Highway 1. I took off down the highway and realized far too late that I was low on gas. 20 miles left in the tank, Big Sur just up the road. I prayed to god that Big Sur had gas, they did…$6.89/gallon. Fuck me. I put about a half tank in because my phone was dead so I didn't know where the next gas station would be, turns out it was a good thing I put a half tank in. Highway 1 near the Big Sur area is unreal! The scenery will blow you away. It’s amazing how high up you are with the ocean directly below.
After hours of windy road and multiple stops for photos I pulled into Paso Robles. Little did I know I would find love and stay in Paso for 7 days.