Thursday, April 30, 2009

4/30/2009 17 Mile Drive and Carmel By the Sea

I'll warn you now, if you are in a hurry now is not the time to read this post. Its going to be long. You have been forewarned. Be sure to read it all, there's some surprising facts in here.

A Happy Birthday wish to our niece Brittany. Hope you have a great day Brit.

We started this morning at the office of RV park here to extend our stay. We had originally planned on a 3 night stay but there is too much to do in the area and since we don't have to be anywhere and the rent is cheap, well, it just made sense to stay put. Let's talk about RV space rent before we get started. We are now in a military RV park and our daily rate is $23.00 a day. Just for the heck of it I called the RV parks in the area and found daily rates to range from $65 to $99 per night! I'm afraid I would have to forego seeing this area if I had to pay those daily fees. Thank you Bob for your service to our country! Thank you military for taking caring of your retirees! OK, so we're here until Monday, at least.

Bob snapped this picture of the newly renovated golf course while waiting in the truck.


Our destination today is not far away at all, a 15 minute ride at most. Today we will drive the famous 17 Mile Drive through the community of Pebble Beach. This road pretty much hugs the coast with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and shoreline. It's also home to the world renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links.

We stopped at the entrance of this gated community and paid our $9.25. Now the roads which run within the boundaries of the Del Monte Forest are PRIVATELY OWNED and can therefore charge the public to drive through. Where the money goes, I haven't a clue. I would imagine road upkeep, tree trimming and the such. And profit, let's not forget profit.

Let's go back to the beginning. In 1880 the Hotel Del Monte opened and the owners bought the Del Monte Forest Land.

Before the automobile was invented the 17 Mile Drive was navigated by horse drawn carriages.


As you can well imagine, the trip was an all day affair, and a mite uncomfortable one compared to today's mode of transportation.

1916 brings forth the design and building of Pebble Beach Golf Links. Three years later the golf course and The Lodge opened to the public. 1929 brought the U.S. Amateur Championship during which Bobby Jones was ousted in the first round. Now I have to be honest, I don't have a clue who Bobby Jones was but I think its a name I heard in a Will Smith movie. The one where he played a golf caddy, but I'm not positive about that.

OK, I just googled his name and found out this....

Jones is most famous for his unique "Grand Slam," consisting of his victory in all four major golf tournaments of his era (the open and amateur championships in both the U.S. & Britain) in a single calendar year.... 1930.

So now we all know.

Our first stop was Shepherd's Knoll. From this vantage point we were to be able to see Monterey Bay and the Santa Cruz mountains. I think the trees need to be trimmed soon or nobody's gonna see anything!


I did see this pretty blue bird but I don't have a clue what it is.


Our next stop brought us to the area that borders the Poppy Hill Golf Course. Poppy Hills is home to the Northern California Golf Association and one of the three courses in play during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. This course is open to the public and the golf fees run $195.00....per round. Oh, and the golf cart is extra. Aren't you glad you don't golf here?

As we drove up we were stunned to see this on the golf course! There was whole herd of them,,,,just laying there, resting, watching the world go by.


On the other side of the street we saw this. I had packed us a picnic lunch so we decided to eat here.


Just a little bit down the road we stopped to watch this gaggle of geese walk across the green paying no mind to the golfers that were trying to putt.


A little further down the road we passed by yet another golf course. This one is called The Inn and Links at Spanish Bay. Established in 1987 by Pebble Beach Company, this world famous, five star resort and Scottish-style links course is a mecca for golf enthusiasts worldwide. Golf fees are a little higher at this course, $240.00 per round. And yes, the cart is extra..

While there are twenty one points of interest on the 17-Mile Drive we didn't stop at every one. I mean you can only take so many pictures of the shoreline and water, right? Trust me, I got enough as it is and you'll see nearly every one of them!

We did stop at Point Joe. Who was Joe you ask? Joe was a Chinese man who lived alone in a driftwood home at this point in the early 1900's. He made a living selling trinkets to tourists and tending goats. No one knows for sure if the point was named after him or if he was named after the point.

These rocks in the water make a good resting place for sea gulls and black cormorants.


A close up of a pair black cormorants.


Wouldn't it be nice to play golf....oceanside? Did you know that it rarely gets over 75 degrees here, even in the dog days of August?


I just happened to look up and caught these three pelicans fly overhead.


We must have been in their flight pattern because just minutes later these also came by.


Bob captured this stand of trees and purple and yellow flowers out his window.


I have to admit this next picture is not one of my better ones as far as quality is concerned but I wanted to share this tree with you anyway. Strange growing isn't it?


Some random shots of sky, water and shoreline.



A seagull flying.


Our next stop was Bird Rock. Want to hazard a guess as to why it is called this? Here's a hint....that is rock isn't white naturally.


Look closely at the base of Bird Rock. This landmark is not only home to countless shorebirds but also harbor seals and sea lions.


When we got out of the truck we heard them before we saw them. The noise was nearly deafening. We heard from a local that it was mating season and the males were making their presence known. We watched them sun themselves on the rocks and frolic in the cold waters of the Pacific.


Sea lions are more athletic on land than the harbor seals are and will sometimes climb to the top of Bird Rock to bask in the sun. Ewwwww!

Harbor seals are quieter than the sea lions but not silent by any means. They make rude sounding grunts and belches in addition to the familiar barks. They tend to stay closer to the bottom of Bird Rock on the seaweed covered rocks.


As we walked around a bit more the squirrels soon made their presence known too.


Even though it was against the rules and I know I shouldn't have, I gave them some potato chips.


THIS is why they have those rules. I was soon overrun, squirrels and birds! I thought those squirrels were going to run up my legs for the chips in my hand.


I learned my lesson real fast.

I took this picture just because I liked the cloud formation.


Here's one of the little beach shacks built around the golf course.


Do I need to tell you that these homes are listed in the MILLIONS when put up for sale. Oh, and the owners don't call the local REMAX realtor either. The ones for sale that we saw were all listed with Sotheby's International Real Estate. Oh, and that isn't a picture of two houses that neighbor each other. That's the main house and the guest cottage. Like there isn't enough room in the big house?

We couldn't help but notice that most of the homes that were ocean front had walls of glass facing the ocean. Can't say I blame them. Nope, sure can't say that!

Another view of Bird Rock.


LaVon. I know I haven't had a dead tree picture for you in awhile. Not a really good one anyway. I hope this one makes up for that. Is this a cool looking dead tree or what?


This brings us up to Spyglass Hill Golf Course. This course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., takes its name from the classic tale Treasure Island, whose author, Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired by the wonders of the peninsula's forest and sea. This facility, too, is open to the public. Greens fees? A mere $315.00 for 18 holes. Plus cart.

I am so glad Bob doesn't golf!

We then came upon Fanshell Overlook but didn't get to see a darn thing there. A temporary fence with sheeting attached to it has been erected. This area is closed off from April 1st to June 1st because its pupping season. The harbor seals find the pure white sand of the beach a perfect place to bear their young.

We rode through Crocker Grove next. This 13 acre nature reserve is home to numerous species of the native pine and cypress. The grand-daddy of all Monterey cypress is located here. We can believe it. It was useless to try to even get an entire tree in the viewfinder of the camera. They were just too big. Truly a sight to behold.

We did stop at the next tree we saw though. The Lone Cypress.


As one of California's most enduring landmarks, The Lone Cypress has prevailed on its rocky perch for more than 250 years. This icon of fortitude has inspired many and is revered as the eternal symbol of Pebble Beach Company.

The Lone Cypress is a testament to the hardiness of the Monterey Cypress trees. It has withstood wind and Pacific storms for over two and a half centuries. Fences and cables are now in place for added protection in hopes of The Lone Cypress living to three hundred years.

While we were here we met this couple, Paul and Sylvia from Modesto, CA. They are real estate agents and we shared a great conversation with them. You just meet the nicest people....


LaVon, another dead tree for you girlfriend.


I can't even imagine how this one came to grow this way!


Of course, they do seem to grow them strange out here. This is ONE tree.


Yet another water/shoreline picture.


We finally came to the end of the 17-Mile Drive. It ended at The Lodge. Built in 1919, The Lodge is the heart and soul of Pebble Beach and home to the world famous Pebble Beach Golf Links. Countless pictures are taken from the veranda of this building. The object of all the pictures? How about this....the 18th hole with the ocean background. Most of us watched Tiger Woods win the 2000 U.S. Open on this hole. This picture truly doesn't do it justice.


I'm getting ahead of myself here. After parking the truck the first thing we took notice of was the clock on the walkway in front of The Lodge. Its a ROLEX, a freakin' ROLEX!!!!


The Lodge.


The view from inside the lounge.


The practice putting greens in front of The Lodge.


Bob and I were going to sit on the veranda and have a beer and a soda but the people already seated just weren't budging. When we walked through the lounge area, which was absolutely beautiful, I picked up a menu off the table. They serve HAMBURGERS! At NINETEEN DOLLARS A PIECE! Are they nuts? What could be so special about a hamburger that they charge just under twenty bucks for it? It's a hamburger for Pete's sake! I'm sorry, I don't get it. I'll never get it.

I was surprised to learn that Pebble Beach is also a public golf course. Wanna play here? Want that backdrop for the 18th hole? Wanna stand where Tiger Woods, Jack Nicholas, Arnold Palmer among other great golfers stood? Well be prepared to pay! A round of golf here? Get prepared to pull five C-notes out of your pocket. You got it...$495.00 for every 18 holes of golf. Oh yeah,,,the cart is extra! You wanna ride? That will be an extra $42.00! I am sooooo glad Bob doesn't play golf!

I did go into the pro shop and ask for some souvenirs. I am the proud owner of a golf score pencil embossed with Pebble Beach Golf Links on it and also...wait, it gets better a Pebble Beach Golf Links score card!

Oh wait,,,it even gets better! Next year, I will be the talk of the Quail Run Friday Morning Mini Golf sessions. Others will put down run of the mill pennies to mark their the place where their ball landed. Not me! I'll be using this....


How cool is that!

Another view of the course as we were leaving. Do you realize that's $5000.00 worth of golf going on there? (There are 10 players on the field in this picture, you may not be able to see all of them, but I can)


Since we were in the neighborhood we took a quick run down to Carmel - By - The - Sea. This is the place Clint Eastwood calls home. Until his home on the 17-Mile Drive is completed that is. The streets are lined with very expensive shops. The corner jewelry store was Tiffany & Co.. That should tell you something. Carmel does have a beautiful beach!


And a dead tree for you LaVon. This should hold for a few days now.


That was our day. Hope you enjoyed the ride and the sights.

4/30/2009 Again! Already!

If you are the one who turns the counter, drop me a line and let me know. You won't win a prize but I'm just curious.

Scroll down, I added another post below Walla Walla, Washington.

We just got back from our sightseeing today and I got on here to see if it turned yet. I was number 56,002. So the person who turned it was either from Lancaster, Ohio or Ossinging, NY. One or the other. I haven't heard from either one so I'm guessing they didn't notice.

Gotta run, have tons of pictures to download and lots of typing to get done. What a day we had!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

4/29/2009 Walla Walla, Washinton

I was just looking at the feeder line and someone googled "Snookie Quinn" from Walla Walla, Washington while I was watching. I don't know that I know anyone in Walla Walla.

4/29/2009 Fisherman's Wharf

We woke to another chilly day again. Jeans and sweatshirt were the order of the day for clothing. I wanna go back to shorts and T's! Now!

Since I knew we were going to be out sightseeing today I thought it best to make use of the crock pot for dinner. I bought a roast yesterday at the commissary and had celery and carrots and onions in the house so what to make for dinner wasn't hard to figure out.

Do you use those crock pot liners?


These are the best things since sliced bread! When done, just lift out and crock pot is clean!

Doesn't this look yummy? When we get back late this afternoon I'll add potatoes to it.


Bob had a few chores he wanted to get done before we hit the road so we didn't get out the door until eleven. That was no problem at all since we were just ten minutes from our destination.

So off we went to Old Fisherman's Wharf. Now don't get it confused with THE Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Not having been to that one,,,yet,,,I can only imagine that this one in Monterey is one on a much smaller scale.


This wharf has seen bales of Chinese silks, barrels of Spanish wine, whaling ships, Navy cutters and fishing boats by the score. Old Fisherman's Wharf, in its various stages of being, has been the center of Monterey's economic life for hundreds of years.

Sebastion Viscaino, a Spanish mariner, was tasked with exploring the California coast back in 1602. He landed in Monterey that year and named the harbor after the Viceroy of New Spain, the Count of Monterey.


Fast forward to 1770 and Spaniard, Gaspar de Portola located Monterey Harbor and the city of Monterey was founded. California remained under Spanish control with Monterey as its capital until 1822 when Mexico added California to its empire. After war broke out between the U.S. and Mexico in 1846, Commodore Sloat landed in Monterey and claimed California for the Union.

To say this wharf, marina and this harbor lie in some of the most historic waters in California would be an understatement.

The original wharf was constructed by the Pacific Coast Steamship Company in 1870 and it was used for passenger and freight service. With growth of the sardine industry the city found it necessary to take ownership to keep it in good repair. It was during this time it became known as Fisherman's Wharf.

In 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson was on these shores and was forming the plot for "Treasure Island".

This wharf has seen many business ventures start and fail. In 1923 a good part of the wharf was destroyed by a ship that leaned too heavily into it when onloading 20,000 cases of sardines. Ten thousand of those sardine cases ended up in the water.

After World War II the sardine business went by the wayside and tourist oriented business took its place. In the 50's the need for a marina was apparent and it was built. It was improved through the years and expanded in the mid-70's.

In 1996, five million dollars was spent on refurbishing the marina and the surrounding area. Below is a picture of the commercial fishing part of the wharf.


Today the wharf is a bustling tourist attraction with gift shops, restaurants, art galleries, whale watching and party boat concessions lining both sides of it.


There are restaurants galore and in each doorway there is someone giving out samples of clam chowder all the while telling you how great their prices are.


This restaurant had an upstairs deck that was open to the public for viewing the harbor.


Ahhh, blue water!


We passed this one gift shop that was all about pirates.


T-shirts, coffee mugs, key chains, if it could have a picture of a pirate on it, it was sold here!


You could even buy life size pirates if you wanted to.


We could hear all this barking and kept looking for dogs. Then it hit us, what we heard was the seals!


Of course, some just slept through all the noise.


This little one wanted a spot on the railing too. It took a few tries but it finally found its happy place.


As we strolled along the wharf we saw taffy being made.....


and tons of food! All this sitting out and not a fly in sight!


When I was watching the seals I caught this pelican in flight.


We took a walk one block back off the waterfront to peruse yet more shops and galleries.


Is it just me or does everyone like to take pictures of flowers close up? This question does NOT apply to you LaVon!






Bob looking out over the marina.


Boats,,,as far you can see.


This was our day on the Old Fisherman's Wharf. A delightful way to spend several hours.

When we got home in the late afternoon the rig smelled oh so good with the roast cooking in the crock pot. Dinner was simply delicious!

Wait till you see where we take you tomorrow!