Travel

Road Trip Day 5: San Francisco by Night

April-25-2011

Given it was Jonny’s and the dogs first camping experience everyone did really well. The dogs slept through the night and seemed to enjoy the comfort of the tent – which was a gift from a client – and I have to say that the tent ROCKS!!! Thanks again Charles. ๐Ÿ™‚ We woke with the sun and packed everything up. We drove into Carmel-by-the-Sea, which I had several people tell me I had to check out. I’m glad I did. The place was like a fairy tale, something right out of a Hanzel and Gretel story. Downtown carmel is filled with cottage-like shops, restaurants and coffee shops with stone chimneys.

Quick fact about Carmel-by-the-Sea: The local bylaw forbids neon signs and billboards; even pay-phones, garbage cans and newspaper vending boxes and buildings have no street numbers.

So you can imagine how simple this town is. Every building has character and charm. No one structure is the same. The center of the main street is divided by a strip of a variety of lush green trees and ground covering. We stopped to do some computer work at a coffee shop called “Cafe Carmel” – average coffee shop, nothing that knocked my socks off, but cute nevertheless. The dogs and I strolled around town for a bit and I grabbed a couple snap shots of the place. The funniest was the Shell gas station… because of the law they had a wooden sigh that read “SHELL” in gold block letters… classic.

On our way to back to Monterey we drove the 17 mile scenic drive along the edge of the coast. One of the stops was at this lookout that hand a beautiful view of the “Lone Cypress” – it was pretty amazing and the camera just doesn’t do it justice.ย The Lone Cypress Tree is around 250 years old and is used in logos for Pebble Beach. It was rad…

In Monterey there is a playground called “The Dennis the Menace Playground” and is the city’s most popular as well as famous. The place was huge, it also included an actual steam engine that you could climb on, a rock climbing wall and a giant bridge that stretched from one side of the playground to the other. Yes… we played like little kids, slid down the slides and everything.

We kept to the coast all the way to San Francisco, stopping off at a couple spots to stretch our legs and the dogs run around. The next three photos – the first is a picture of the Monterey cost… and a seagull… ohhhhh… next was a lighthouse that over looked the water where dogs were allowed off leash… which is the third pic.

Santa Cruz was next, we pretty much did a quick run through of SC so we could get to San Fran before dark. We visited the boardwalk which was cool… but only because it felt as if I had gone back in time. It is the only seaside amusement park on the west coast. The Giant Dipper is a roller coaster that first opened in 1924 and is still running. Jonny felt the need to experience it – I chose not to.

The drive from Santa Cruz to San Francisco was what I imagined Big Sur would of been like but with more trees. I could smell the sea mixed with the lushness of the trees as I drove. Views of the cliffs as we came around bends gave me some insight on how fragile hwy 1 is. The southbound side of the 1 was closed because the cliff had fallen pretty much to the edge of the road. There were also lots of farm land, all planted with new beginnings. It was a blessed day…

We arived in San Fran with enough time to get a workout in at 24-hour fitness, shower and grab some food. We ate at an Indian restaurant called Indian Oven and stuffed our faces. I had eaten their before but had no idea they have won so many awards. They have won best Indian Food for like 14 years now or something like that. It was a great way to end an even greater day. Looking forward to my San Francisco adventures…