Tuesday, April 10, 2012

March Vacation Activities

At the end of March, my husband and I went on vacation for about five days. My parents came out from Florida, and we spent about three days in Monterey, CA with them. We left for the trip a day early, and drove up to the Sequoia National Park.

We left the Coachella Valley of CA Saturday morning around 5:30 AM and got to our hotel in Three Rivers around 11:30 AM. Not too bad. We couldn't check into the hotel until 4:00 PM, so we went ahead and drove over to the redwoods. I've never seen the redwoods in person, so I didn't really grasp how large they were until I actually saw them up close and personal. I'd seen pictures, but you can't really get the scale until you go see them.

There was a lot of snow on the ground, about 18 inches I'd guess. It was packed down along the trails, but I kept sliding on it, so I made my own path and smooshed more snow down. I love the snow, but I've always said, I would never like to live in a place that got a lot of snow. Walking my own path didn't really work well. As I was walking through it, I stepped wrong a few times, slid, and wrenched my left knee pretty good. It still aches, and it's been about three weeks since I did it. Every time I packed snow down when I stepped, my feet would turn in (particularly my left) and put pressure on my knees weird. Give me flat ground any day, and I'm happy. Just a little snow is good.

This picture kind of gives you a perspective of how big the General Sherman tree is. It's huge, and I can't even guess as to how wide it is.

Sequoia Natl Park 059

(Ignore the date on the picture. Didn’t realize the clock was set correctly.)

The bummer of the Sequoia trip was that a few of the areas we wanted to check out were not open yet. The crystal caves are closed until early May, and the large tree you can drive through wasn't open until sometime in the summer. That just means we'll have to go back one day.

Sunday morning, it was time to move on and continue our journey. We drove over to Monterey and it only took about three hours. We drove around the area a little, and picked a spot called the Black Bear Diner for lunch. More on that in the next post. We wandered around some more, until my parents showed up later that night, and then checked into the hotel. Took it easy that night, with a good dinner and drinks.

Monday, we decided was a good day to experience the 17 mile drive. It starts out in Pacific Grove and ends at Pebble Beach. Lovely views along the way, with a lot of places to turn out and take some pictures. Or video. Here's a video of some seals “barking”. Forgive the wind noise. We had lunch in the Tap Room at Pebble Beach, and then wandered around the golf pro shop.

Next up, we walked around the city of Carmel. Great little town, but my goodness, the hills killed me. I am so glad that I've been exercising as much as I have been, because if I hadn't, there would be no way I would have survived that city. Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures of the city. But, trust me, those hills were steep.

Tuesday, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Since I've gotten into shape, I try my best to avoid wheel chairs. I did try at the aquarium, but for a few reasons I decided to grab a chair. One, the place was packed with tons of people. Two, my left foot was developing a “spot” that was hurting. Wasn't sure what it was. And three, my walking hadn't been the best so far. Slow walking with stops and starts are annoying for me, so I gave in a got the chair. Sort of bummed about it, but all it all, it was a good choice.

The aquarium was OK. To be honest though, it was a bit of a let down compared to the aquarium in Atlanta. It was still a great aquarium though, don't get me wrong. Definitely check it out if you're in the area. No Beluga whales, but they had sea dragons and penguins. And puffins!

Wednesday was the last day we were in town, and we all went over to the wharf and wandered around. We were planning on taking a tour boat out to see seals and otters, but the boat only ran on weekends. The whale watching tour was later in the morning, and lasted a few hours. It also wasn't certain that tour would run because it was supposed to rain that day. So we just wandered around and looked at the boats and all the shops and restaurants.

Sadly, it was then time to start the drive back to the valley. We had originally planned to stop off and take a look at Hearst Castle. However, that “spot” I mentioned on my foot turned out to be a blister. That blister sort of ripped as we were walking around the wharf. So we decided to skip the castle this time around (another excuse for a second trip), and drive on back.

That was an experience by itself. We intended to drive down Highway 1 along the coast. Which we did, however just about 50 or 60 miles into the drive, 5 miles or so where we would have turned off for Hearst Castle, the road was closed. We think it may have been due to a rock slide, but we're not sure. We had to turn around, and drive all the back to Monterey. There were no exits or off-shoots in between. So we drove about 100 miles extra that we needed. We at least got some good pictures of some of the Pacific Coast Highway.


Ended up getting back to the house at 12:30 AM, and falling into bed. And that's the first entry for this vacation recap. Next up...food.

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