3. Last minute trip…SanFrancisco 10.2011

10.18  Tuesday

Had a great nights sleep in the hostel, a hot shower & coffee (they were actually making homemade waffles & pancakes for everyone...it smelled wonderful)

The skies were gray & foggy this morning with a little mist falling as well...not like the previous sunny, clear & bright days.  As I left Monterey, I pulled over to a view beaches along a scenic drive I took...even with the milky air----it was all cool

I’d decided to start the day out by driving inland...into Carmel Valley.  I’d past the road yesterday, & thought the mountains looked so beautiful, that the valleys had to be as well.  There’s a bunch of wine tasting rooms in Carmel Valley Village, but only one Vineyard that has its own tasting room on site...so that was my early afternoon plan.  I plugged the address into “mobile mapquest” (I’ve come to rely way too much on this free little app) & she took me a totally different way than I’d planned...but it was beautiful.  In spite of the low clouds/fog/ whatever you call it, those big rolling mountains were fantastic.  The road kept climbing up & up & was really curvy...but just take a peek at what I saw

Once I got down to the Valley, I turned left to go check out the Village & mistakenly thought the Vineyard was on the OTHER side of the Village.  So, after slowing down to drive by all the shops & tasting rooms in the Village, I just kept on driving on the road that was taking me further into the Valley, even though by now, I’d figured out I’d either missed the Vineyard or gone the wrong way...I didn’t care, but just wanted to see where the road took me.  It was tree-lined & curvy...& I just couldn’t stop.  It was a very peaceful drive.  But after about 8 or 9 miles, I turned around.  But, I’d passed a sign pointing to a road...I was intrigued!

So, I took it!

....for 3 miles...up & up with tight turns & twists...fun to drive...lined with trees & mountains that shot straight up from the road...with glimpses of views getting farther & farther beneath me

As I kept looking at these amazing mountains & all this open space, I couldn’t help but think of John Muir’s “the Mountains of California”...I’m a big Muir fan.  I finally turned around & headed back down, set on finding the Vineyard, but I really had enjoyed my drive through the valley

So, the Chateau Julien was actually on the road I’d spotted yesterday (that started this whole adventure), so I was going to get to see the views from it after all.  The wine was yummy, but I resisted any purchases.  Here’s some pics from the Vineyard

Well, it was time to leave the Monterey/Carmel area...it’s everything Jill & Sherri had told me...so much beauty here!

My second part of the day, was another “I’ve always wanted to go there” places...the town of Half Moon Bay & Mavericks.  So, north I pointed the little SUV & off we went.  I got off the highway at Santa Cruz & drove the coastal road all the way to Half Moon Bay...wow!  the road is just as gorgeous going north as it was south...the only difference was the fog, no sun & misty skies...but wonderful in spite of the weather.  I loved this drive!

Last night at the hostel, I’d read about the hostel just south of Half Moon Bay...it’s at a lighthouse...& sure enough, I drove right by it.  Maybe next time I come to San Francisco, Danny can come to & we can stay here!

I arrived at Half Moon Bay around 3:00 & took a little tour of the town.  I was on a mission to find Mavericks & something to eat.  I’d gone into a little boutique & while purchasing a necklace (yes I was bad, but it says “Life-blessed”...& I am sooo feeling that now!!) asked if they had a visitors center or chamber or somewhere I could get info.  The clerk (a graduate from KU...but a really, really, really long time ago!) looked doubtful.  So, I continued on the down the shop-lined street...then I found a really cool gear shop...I knew they would know how to get to Mavericks.  The young girl behind the counter was really nice, knew exactly where it was & wrote out the directions for me, also including to tell me of a great little deli down the street.  Before I knew it, I had a sandwich in the car & was on my to Mavericks....the home of California Big Wave surfing.  Here’s some pics of downtown Half Moon Bay

So...one of my all time fav documentaries is “Riding Giants”...I love this surfer movie.  It’s about the origins & history of big wave surfing...most all of it in Hawaii...except for this spot in California.  Waves can routinely be 25’ but in the winter can be as big as 80’.   Each year there’s a big surfing contest here...draws tons of big name & international surfers

But today, it was pretty calm...no big waves...just a couple of dolphins, some birds & one guy that looked like he was walking on top of the water...maybe he was standing on a board? in a kayak?  anyway, I just spent time watching & listening to the waves...knowing I’d be leaving the ocean soon...kind of sad...but so grateful to have had the opportunity to be HERE, to SEE & EXPERIENCE all the things I have in the past two days...places I’ve wanted to see & go for a long time...& I DID!  

Here are some other rAnDoM shots from Mavericks & Half Moon Bay

So, as my great-in-tune-with-the-universe-karma would have it...as I was on my way to Mavericks, I passed a place called “Half Moon Bay Brewery”....ummm...you have to be careful with places that call themselves breweries &/or brew pubs...do they really brew their OWN beer?  because if they don’t, I don’t think they should get to use those titles (I am after all, a really big beer snob!)

But, this was an actual brewery...& a yummy one too.  I had their IPA...sitting outside by the fire pit...next to the bay.  What a perfect way to end a perfect trip.  But, my evening got even better.  I was sitting alone, enjoying my beer, when a really nice woman came out, greeted me with such a friendly smile & commented that we both had on sweatshirts that said “Teton National Park”.  We’d both been there this summer.  For the rest of the evening, Jennifer & her husband, Kevin, & I visited about all things to do with travel, our kids, California, Colorado, & well....life in general at this age.  It was such great conversation....I really enjoyed chatting with them!

Well, that pretty much concludes my trip.  Jennifer, Kevin & I said good bye & I headed towards San Francisco.  

I wasn’t totally sure of my plans for the evening, but feel pretty good about the choice I ended up making.  I turned in my rental car early (getting a nice little refund back) & took the shuttle back out to the airport...which will be my hotel for the night.  

I’m currently planted in a little area with a bunch of nice chairs, a drinking fountain & a bathroom...way more than what I’d have if I’d slept in the car.  And, I’ve drawn a little “crowd” of overnighters...a 20-something guy who borrowed my mac charger cord (glad I could be helpful) & two dread-locked guys sleeping around the corner with a ton of luggage (two luggage carts)...and me...sitting here working on tripscribbles!

Random Parting Thoughts

I’m such a lucky girl...to have gotten to see & hug all my kids this past weekend...I’m so proud of all of them...they’re so different from each other...with unique passions & pursuits, but my heart is always filled with joy when I think of them!  I wish we lived closer and got to see each other more often...but I’m happy they’re happy & leading lives they love

And, I’m such a lucky girl because I got to see & experience so much mind-blowing outdoor natural beauty these past two days.  Places I’ve wanted to see & visit for a long time...& they’re more fantastic than I thought they’d be

(This year has been great for checking off some of those life-long goals...like seeing Glacier National Park & these places in California.  I have ONE more BIG goal to achieve this year....shhh...its a secret, but I can’t wait to discover how it comes about)

I DO KNOW that I happiest when I’m on the road, discovering new people, places & experiences.... “home-body” is NOT this body.  I also know from my solo travels that there’s always a point where I get to push myself, challenge my thoughts & actions, make creative decisions & I always come away feeling stronger, & more competent.....that’s  part of why I enjoy traveling so much...

Hope you enjoyed the trip....I thought it was AWESOME!


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