Monday, November 19, 2012

Norcal memories

Running: Along the coast near my brother's was a bike path that went for 20 miles snaking through beautiful scenery. Perfect for running. Seeing wild flowers, the pounding surf, the nearby mountains buoyed my spirits. In Pacific Grove, I took the coastal road bike path in one direction and ran the coastal trail, hard packed sand for the most part back seeing different but still scenic beaches. There were a couple of days that I couldn't run due to our schedule. I didn't run at Treebones because Route 1 is fairly scary around there.

Bicycling: Didn't do it. I have used my brother's bike in the past but getting it up and down his steep hill to the coast was too difficult. I could have rented a bike at the Harbor  and the place where we stayed in Pacific Grove rented bikes that I could take  on the 17 Mile Drive. Many people seemed to be taking Route 1 all the way judging from all the stuff they were carrying. One person hauled 2 bicycle trailers full of stuff through Big Sur. At a rest stop overlooking the Bixby Bridge, I met a man from Seattle who recently retired and was going to spend the rest of his days biking. He got rid of his house and stuff. He was riding 30-35 miles a day heading to San Diego. He said, if he was still alive, maybe he would then go into Mexico. Some of his possessions were stuffed into a catfood bag bungee corded to the back of his bake. No fancy equipment for him. He asked me to take his picture on his phone. Should have taken one with my camera.

Frittata sandwiches: What a concept! I saw these on a few menus and finally had one at the Blue Sky Farms, a combination cafe and nursery in Miramar, right off my running path. Steve and I had been sniping at each other about who was responsible for the missing maps I thought we needed for our trip within a trip. But this place was so pretty and reasonably priced (very rare..the reasonable price part in NorCal), we were no longer crabby. Another bonus: they had the Meyer Lemon Tree my  SIL was hoping to buy for much less than usual. Alas when we went back to buy it, we found it was only open in the mornings. Meyer lemon. Must be a local variety. Restaurants wouldn't just serve stuff with lemon sauce: it would be with Meyer lemon sauce.

Cameras: Steve didn't take the big, good one as he gave himself only minimal room to carry electronic stuff. I had my small camera but no way of recharging the battery (also no room for the charger, a passive/aggressive way of getting back at me for scheduling this right after the election). He did regret this decision once he saw how pretty everything was. The battery finally died on the Elephant Seal Beach and then we were just left with our phone cameras. I had turned off the flash to conserve the battery and wouldn't look at what I took until I could put the card on the computer. Steve will take multiple shots of the same scene whereas I only take one or two. Plus he would stand very close to the edge of the cliff to get a better shot, which scared me. But hopefully you can see by our combined efforts, including those of my brother who did have a 'good' camera, that everything is just stunning there.

Twisty, steep roads: Michigan seems so flat now. Everyday, my brother drives up from one coast over a mountain to the other coast usually going from fog to sun.  I don't think he travels much more than 20 miles but it seems a lot longer. Going from the beach to his house is a climb of 370 feet in a very short bit of time. The mailman won't go up there. He has his choice of picking it up in the small post office that serves 2500 people or the larger one 4 miles away. People living next to each other might have different addresses depending on this choice. School buses don't go up the hill either. As the rental car was in my name, I did the driving except on the weekend in which we were on my brother's beamer, which had the power to deal with these roads. My cheapie rental car strained mightily up some of these grades.

It broke all by itself: This is what I wrote on the 'accident' report to explain to the rental people why my car had a sizable crack in the windshield. I sounded like a 3 year old but that was the truth. I was driving on a flat, expressway part of Route 1 towards Monterey and suddenly heard a loud cracking sound. No one was around me, and no I didn't see any gravel hit me from what would be no where. This put a damper on what was a fun vacation as Steve fretted that now we would have to pay for this as I  didn't get insurance. But presumably my credit card will cover it if I am found responsible. I have since researched this and found that GM puts extra thin windows in this model that are known to crack spontaneously. I have been on this earth many years and have driven a lot with lots of different cars and this has never happened. At worst we did have a star crack from a piece of gravel on a then new car that didn't spread ever. So far, I haven't heard from them. Also we could NOT find gas at the last minute so we will have to pay $10 a gallon to fill it up but we had driven less than 25 miles on a car that is supposed to get 40 mpg.

The weather: We were very lucky as it was unusually clear most of the time we were there. There was fog the first day and some rain the second afternoon. One morning had a record low for the area and the locals moaned how awful that was. But as it was way above the usual Michigan temperatures for this time of year, no complaint here. Josh's friend is in San Francisco now along with a trip to the wine counties and has nothing but rain for the duration of their stay. Right now in Michigan, we will have highs in the 50s which means I can bike, which I did yesterday. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Food highlights: Freshly made almond croissants, enormous sea scallops, spaghetti bolognese, tasty dim sum in Chinatown, dulce de leche gelato in  North Beach, clam chowder, ollalieberry pie, apricot pie, artichoke and chile soup, coconut artichoke soup, crab roll, frittata sandwich, shrimp tacos, coconut flan, chicken tacos, smoked chicken panini on the porch of a small, adorable Pacific Grove Italian cafe. Sipping wine overlooking fantastic views most notably from our yurt deck.
Final pictures

Inside Blue Sky. Also had a beautiful garden with tables but cold at 8 am.

Looking across Marin Headlands to Alcatraz

Around Pescadero

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Coit Tower SF

Lombard Street

Painted Ladies from Alamo Park

Realtor brochure  of my brother's house. Looks like a ranch from the street but has a whole other level below due it being perched on a steep hill.

Steve at Moss Beach

Many sunsets

Big Sur

Julia Pfeiffer Park


The yurt experience: This was our indulgence though Steve would grouse about the high cost of 'tent' camping. The bed was super comfortable. There was a hot tub with ocean views with color changing lights. Steve sat on the deck besides me as I indulged. From out deck, we had a water fountain and chair swing right in front of us along with views of the ocean and cypresses. We slept to the sound of seals noisily jockeying for position though the high winds that came from nowhere kept me up for about 4 hours. The stars in a clear sky with no ambient light for miles. The homemade granola with yogurt berries for breakfast the next day. All these yurts do look  alike. In the morning, I walked into a yurt surprised to find who I believed to be Steve still sleeping when he said he was off taking a shower and why is the couch on the other side of the yurt and where did that green bag come from. The man sat up and asked if he could help me and I scurried off embarrassed. There were many paths on their complex that were fun exploring. Overall, a highlight in this ones life.

Back to Reality: The scary to me search for breast cancer is tomorrow, a gutter fell off in our absence though Josh helped Steve get it back on, Naomi's situation continues to be 'not good' though she doesn't seem concerned. A good friend's child is in big trouble, so many things are falling apart on our house, Josh's situation is still unsettled. It was so good to put these things in the back of my mind or even out of my mind for a brief period.

1 comment:

Holly said...

seems like a really great trip!!


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