down by the bayyyyy…

…where the watermelons gr… hrmm… there were no watermelons. Sorry, Raffi, end of the line.

Today was all about making good on a promise I made to myself when I took the job I’m currently in. I’m travelling again, and am currently in San Francisco. One of the things I regret about past jobs involving travel was never taking full advantage of wherever I happened to be by holing up in the hotel room instead of getting out and seeing things. No more, I promised myself I’d make the best of being far away from home, and taking in as much as possible.

Northern California is an old stomping ground from SGI (Mountainview), Globix (Santa Clara), and Cargill (San Mateo), and there’s really nothing I want to see between San Francisco and San Jose. San Francisco itself, and points south of San Jose are entirely different matters, so I planned a daytrip to Monterey. I wasn’t sure how the day would start, as the Bay to Breakers race was today, and the street in front of my hotel was closed. Thankfully, being closed didn’t mean “impassable”, so I got out of the hotel, got onto the 280, and moved to the 101 down to Salinas, and then west to the Monterey Peninsula. This wasn’t quite the planned route, but I made it there, so all was good.

My first stop was the Monterey Aquarium on Cannery Row in Monterey. This section of Monterey used to be where seafood was processed, but is now the site of the aquarium, a couple beaches, a boardwalk, and a large number of cool shops and restaurants. The aquarium itself is built on the grounds of an old cannery, and is breathtaking.

They have otters and kelp beds and sharks and jellies and penguins and coral dwellers and, and, and, and! There was an incredible amount to do, and I’m sorry I didn’t have a 2-4 year old with me so I could get into all the kids sections. Lots of water play areas, hands on demonstrations, and exhibits that are designed to educate as well as entertain. It was really interesting, because education was the overwhelming theme, and the aquarium presents the beauty of wildlife and then asks you (in no uncertain terms) whether you want everything to be around in a few years. The name of their game is protection, preservation, and renewal. A gorgeous building, with some incredible displays. I think I heard the words “Agua” and “Nemo” from kids and their moms 16,494 times. It was great, Zoe would love it.

Following a half day there, I drove a little South to the 17 Mile Drive, a roadway maintained by Pebble Beach which snakes down the coast and through some of the richest residential areas I have ever seen. The road runs through five golf courses, including Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and the Links at Spanish Bay. All the courses are beutiful, and the coastline was amazing. During the couple hours I was on this road, the weather changed from fog rolling in, to overcast, to bright and sunny, and back again to overcast and, eventually, rain. I wanted to see the view from Cypress Point, but it was closed (for good reason, it’s breeding time for the seals, and they close the breeding areas completely). The rest of the drive was beautiful, and I’m pretty pleased with the pics I got, especially the Lone Cypress.

I took the back roads home, and cameup the coast on Highway 1. A great drive, nice, hilly, and beautiful. It reminded me of a couple of the drives McK and I had last month in Scotland. Different scenery, but very similar style.

A great day, and I’ve got a bumnch of memories that’ll last me a lifetime. If you get within a couple hour drive of Moneterey, go.

Pics of my trip are here, and there are more to come as I wander the city all this week.

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