DAY 3: Pismo Beach to Monterey
http://goo.gl/maps/zp1aI - 151 Miles (3 Hours 26 Minutes)
Hotel: Best Western Plus Beach Resort - £170 (Ocean View)
It hammered down with rain overnight but the morning is beautiful and my new fiancé is in the jacuzzi at 7am under blue skies. It's a little chilly but it's early and the day looks like it will be splendid.
The hotel charged us $5 to keep a room key as souvenir, but didn't charge us for the minibar when I complained about the wifi being more broke than not. I bet that key card would have cost them less. *Shakes Head*
We headed to The House of Bread which was one of my choices, and I was a little disappointed although Mel was happy. Don't get me wrong, the bread is really fantastic and they offer you all sorts of things to try while you wait, but my beef sandwich was huge chunks of chewy beef rather than the shaved beef stack that I was expecting, or indeed was shown on the board behind the counter.
I ate half anyway, and we headed onto the 101 North to Monterey when I suddenly realised we actually needed to be on the 1 at this point. These two roads we spend so much time as one road it's confusing, and my toothache was playing up. That's my excuse, and Mel rescued it with a difficult u-turn on a 6 lane interstate and we headed back to get the right road.
This started off fine for me, with miles of interesting views and we soon came to the Elephant Seal colony, which I hadn't told Mel about :-)
Getting out the car, I looked over towards the beach and stated that I wasn't sure if my eyes were deceiving me, and there looked to be hundreds of Seals. Surely not, but when we got to the viewing platform it confirmed I was indeed wrong.
There was about 2000, and the guide confirmed this. This picture doesn't do it justice, but the video will when I post it at a later date.
The seals losing their coats are the females.
We then got to the tricky bit where you start clinging onto the sides of mountains with drops hundreds of feet onto rocks and the Pacific on, lucky for me, the other side of the road.
The views are breathtaking, but if you have the fear of heights I do think twice about this. Some areas don't even have guard rails, and I could easily see why the road was so empty.
...and this goes on for 70 miles.
Then the worst thing happened. The car throws up a low tyre pressure warning, so we pull over jump out and inspect the tyres. All seems ok, so we continue on with about 40 miles more of rock clinging.
17 mile drive was our next stop, and having paid our $10 bucks to get in, we drive road some of the nicest houses we've ever seen. Then it breaks out onto the beach with the Spyglass Hill golf club which some of my friends will remember us playing on Tiger Woods a while back. I can confirm the wind in real life is as bad as it is in the game! But What A View as you play.
After a quick stop at the Pebble Beach golf club, a browse of the "If you have to ask, you can't afford it" shops that have less price tickets than Harrods and of course a picture of the legendary clock, we headed on to Monterey.
The room at the Best Western Beach resort does indeed have a sea view, and it's a very nice one where you can sit on loungers or even watch it from your bed. This later on turned out to be a welcome treat.
Dumping our stuff we headed to Cannery row, hopefully avoiding any sardines or other seafood, to get something to eat.
Given that the choices are burgers or seafood largely, we opted for Bubba Gumps where only 80% of the menu is seafood, but at least you get a sea view. Burgers consumed (heh) we returned to the car.
To find a flat tyre.
Now given, if you remember from earlier, we were half way down the Pacific Coast Highway in no where land with no phone signal when the alarm went off, luck was certainly on our side really.
So we swapped out the fat 4x4 tyre for the skinny space-saver and crawled back to the hotel to phone Dollar so we could get it fixed before we set off for San Francisco.
Mel got on the phone, to have Dollar suggest we return it to LAX.
Anybody who knows the west coast enough to understand what a round trip from Monterey to LAX, back to Monterey and onto San Francisco means in term of time and has probably spit their coffee out by now, especially on a space-saver at 50. So it will come as no surprise that Mel said "THAT isn't an option."
Eventually settling on San Jose a mere 75 miles but in the right direction, it meant we only missed out Santa Cruz in the end.
So one clean up later, and our car full of snacks and drinks organised for a quick swap out we settled down to watch the sun set and then sleep.