Total miles: 1440 miles
Today we explored the Monterey Peninsula. There are 4 main parts to the peninsula
- Monterey town
- Pacific grove which led us to the
- 17 mile Pebble beach Drive, and
First stop was Pacific Grove where we saw our first seals, basking in the sun. They were either floating on their backs with their tail flippers raised about of the water or perched precariously on rocks. We didn't see them for a while but then Neil spotted one. After that it became easier. Also plenty of pelicans and plenty of squirrels which were enjoying the rocks. As common as the grey squirrel in London parks and tame. They live in small burrows under rocks. We'd tried to get a hotel in this area but there had been little available. Today we find out there is a triathlon being held here tomorrow which would explain why.
Then on to the '17 mile Drive' around pebble beach. A route created in the late 1800a that used to be taken by the wealthy who stayed in the expensive hotels in the area. Guides would take guests around and point out the sights.
Which is pretty much what happens now except you now pay approx £7.50 to get through the tollgates and in return you are handed a leaflet explaining the stops as you go round. No motorcycles allowed as they will disturb the tranquility. Some very nice houses on the drive, plenty of golf courses (including one championship course) and plenty of money. One large house was for sale with Sotheby's. Later we saw it listed in the realtor's (estate agent) window in later - a mere 15million US dollars.
Then to Carmel by the Sea
for lunch. Clint Eastwood, actor and film director, was Mayor here from 1986-88. It's an attractive town with lots of rules to preserve it's pretty looks. A major area for artists with lots of galleries lining the streets. No house numbers and no postal service. Residents collect their mail from the post office. No visible street furniture - rubbish bins are well disguised. No neon advertising, fast food or burger stands allowed.
No traffic lights either - but lots of '4 way stops' - an crossroad with no lights. These are common in the USA. The rule is the first one to arrive at the junction can go first. And everyone else follows in the order they arrive. Sounds complicated but it works well) to avoid people arriving at th the junction and just looking quickly around vehicles must come to a complete stop
before moving away which makes everyone extra careful (in theory). In Carmel we even found a 5 way stop - that definitely makes you stop and think.
Before we left Carmel we saw a group of riders arriving on the beach. They were taking part in a documentary about what it would be like to ride the route of the Californian missions and were about to be filmed riding on the Carmel beach to the Carmel mission.
These missions were a series of religious colonies founded by the Spanish and Mexicans between 1769-to 1823. This was before the area had been infiltrated by the American colonies. A series of missions running in a line down the west coast - none of them more than a day's journey apart. The route they take known as the El Camino Reale (The King's Highway). The mission at Carmel is important as it was the final resting place for Father Junipero Serra who established many of the missions along the coast and there is a large statue dedicated to Father Serra also at Monterey. It is still an active and working parish today. The gardens are beautiful and people turn up here to have their wedding photos taken.