The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Gone West 15

From Big Sur toCarmel, Cannery Row and into Oakland

Point Sur Light Station (a military installation)

After a very nice drive along HW1 we in the the old, old town of Carmel by the Sea! 

The Ancient Town of Carmel?
We were exceptionally early not many people around and the shops were just opening for business, I must say Clint has his town well and truly in order, no garish neon lights or high rise here, everything is prim and proper, yep you’ve done a good job there.

We got a nice parking space not far from the beach, we walked down and though not the only ones up early it wasn’t what you could call over crowded. After surveying the beach we walked back up the slight incline stopping to admire the art, artefacts and sweet-shops, I used the public toilet (just thought I would mention it) in a wonderful shady park, that some kind lady had bought to save it from development and turned into a place that you could stop and while away the time, no stress here.

We visited a “real” English Sweet Shop, I bought some of the licorice that they had on display, Linda is not fussed on licorice so it lasts a long time, chocolate now that is another thing. We also had our morning coffee and I a slice of carrot cake and Linda a chocolate covered Donut, well if she wasn’t getting it from me she would get it from somewhere else.

This may look as if Linda is "relieving herself" but she was only smelling the flowers

I had noticed that they had named a street after me!
We unhitched Jucy and turned her head to the North and left Clint and his town folks to go about their businesses whatever it was, but whatever it is they are keeping this this one time mission station in fair trim.

It wasn’t far up the highway to Monterey our next stop, we popped into the public information centre (look for the sign of the i). We parked up and went in to be greeted by a wonderful lady with a nice “Morning how are you all” what can I do for you folks this morning.

I said I would like to see the Sea Otters (I had seen Matt Baker on BBCs Spring Watch watching them from Monterey earlier in the year), we would also like to get a place to stay for the night, that wasn’t too far out of town as we wanted to spend a full day here.
She told us the best places to see the Sea Otters in their natural habitat was from the walk-way on the roof of the aquarium. She said the aquarium was a must visit in any case. Also we could travel a little way out of town going north and at a place called Moss Landing you could always see them as they floated along with the tide in the creek, there were also  few campsites on the way out to it.
She said that we could park right outside across the street beside the City Mortuary, I don’t think that Jucy would be mistaken for a hearse! She also told us a free street car system that runs in a loop from Fisherman’s Wharf along Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck’s Novel of the same name, right up to the front of the aquarium, that had been built into one of the old canning factories.
She had also informed us that the starting point of this loop was at the customs house and old Fisherman’s Wharf which was a short walk away. So armed with our cameras and the maps with her knowledge marked on we parked Jucy outside of the Town Morgue and headed into town. We started off at the newer fish harbour, taking in the comings and goings. You pass a wonderful beach which just shows that a touristy place and a working harbour don’t have to be tacky and smelly.

Next was a visit were it all started "The Customs House" back in 1846 when a regiment of US Marines landed and threw the then owners (Mexicans) out and raised the Stars and Stripes claiming it for the USA (not only Monterey but the whole of California).  It had a very nice Cacti garden attached.

We then went along the original Fisherman’s wharf watched the sea lions warming themselves in the late morning sun, which reminded us we should start looking for a place for lunch.

All the eateries were offering free tasters of clam chowder to entice the punters in from the wharf, we decided that would be our measure, so we travelled the length of the wharf tasting clam chowder, we found a one that was to our taste (they were all to our taste, but some more than others).

Real "New England" Clam Chowder

The Tail of Lindas Lobster 

My Dungeness Crab

The chap standing is the boss de Hôte, he visited every table and had a chat.
We had been given a ticket for a free starter when doing the tasting, so once seated along came the cup of Clam Chowder with crackers, then the rest of the order, Linda had grilled lobster tails and I half a Dungeness Crab (what else). I can really recommend this restaurant, the others may be just as good, but as I didn’t eat in them I am unable to pass judgement (as if I ever would).

Here comes the street car

We next jumped on one of the old street cars, this took us to the Aquarium. We hopped off and right before our eyes were the cops, not one or two but about 20, they were dressed in running costumes and others in their battle gear.

We took a few photos’ I never did get to find out what the idea was.
(I have been informed by out friend Richard that they were fund raising, I didn't see any box rattling or fund buckets a la UK!

We went into the Aquarium and got our tickets, we were told to hurry along as the Penguins were about to be fed. We went up a floor and there were two helpers sitting inside the glass cage (is there such a thing?) feeding the penguins, one had a throat microphone and was telling us all about the penguins and there habits (they did look a bit like Nuns).

Next it was time for the Sea Otters here they have 6 rescued Otters (various reasons, injuries, illness or orphaned), these were being put through their paces, each Otter has a mentor and each mentor puts them through various exercises, in the wild they would get this by searching for food and escaping from predators.

We next went outside to the deck that overlooks the kelp beds, there are always marine scientists about and are all too willing to explain and point out the Otters in the Kelp about 100mtrs offshore. We actually had a mother with her Kit float right in front of us, she was clutching her kit to her chest even when she dived in search of food.

We went inside as it was feeding time in the main big tidal tank, this was full with all manner of fish, some of which should have been on my plate. We went to some of the smaller displays, Jelly Fish, sea birds and the like,

Tufted Puffins

Tufted Puffin and a Black Oyster Catcher

But it was getting late and we still hadn’t a camp site for the night, so it was out and just missed a beside the Statue of the man that put Monterey on the map, John Steinbeck, we thought by going across the street we could catch another alas it doesn’t come down that side so we had to wait about 20 minutes.

The bust of John Steinbeck
We got back to Fisherman’s Wharf, hoofed it around to the Morgue and there was dear Ol’ Jucy still tethered where we had left her. We put her into gear and put the destination into the SatNav and headed out of town in the direction of Salinas (Birth Place of John Ernest Steinbeck) this was one of the campsites that we had been informed about at the Information Centre, this would do us for the night, this would be our last real night of our tour as next day we would be heading into Oakland to a RV park that I had found on the internet, that would leave us just a short journey to the rental station on Doolittle Drive and return our liddle ol’ Jucy.

We found the campsite Marina Dunes RV park, without much ado, got set up for the night and cooked whatever we had left to cook (I think it was bacon and eggs) and settled down for the night.

Next morning we set off and headed for Oakland but first we wanted to visit Moss Landings a small fishing port just a little way up the coast, this is where the kind lady had pointed us yesterday. We found it no bother. We were in luck, the tide was coming in and with it all manner of wildlife, birds, seals and a couple of Sea Otters floating in on the tide.

She did like her glass of white wine or two

On the way in we had seen what seemed a fish market with a restaurant attached so not having had breakfast we decided to see what they had to offer. This was another gem, fresh fish, crabs, shellfish in abundance, you just placed your order and you could eat it at the bar, there was a more formal part that you ordered and they served it, but that wasn’t for us, we are old salts and seasoned trail blazers, we sat at the bar. We chatted to a young(ish) lady sitting next to me, she was very jovial (while we were there she sloshed back 3 glasses of wine) also another chatted to Linda and she was on a jolly, she had a Winery out in Nappa valley (wish I had got to know here before). I had some fresh crab meat, drank a water. It was a nice little place, but it was time to leave and head up the one, one last time.

We arrived in Oakland RV Park, it was more residential than for passing by, but they had a nice pitch for us (I said to Linda that I had further to go at home to the loo), we got rid of all the stuff that we were not taking home with us (my trekking sandals had past their sell by date so went into the bin) and took the car to a car wash so that Jucy was spick and span for tomorrow. We went to a fast food place that evening, it was Hawaiian, I hope the Hawaiians eat better back home, because this was the worst food we had in all of the time in America.

We walked back to the site (just a matter of 150 mtrs) and got everything ready so that we could head straight into the hire company the next morning.

Next day up early and headed into town, it wasn’t far and we were there about an hour before they opened, we plonked our Lucy alongside another Jucy, she was one of the new-fangled ones, I still liked our dear Jucy the best, over 5000 km and with the exception of the door fob episode, not a thing went wrong. Brian (the chap that had rented it to us, came out had a quick inspection (I mean quick, he didn’t check a thing,) we signed and ask if he could call a cab to take us to the BART, he said don’t worry I will run you around there. What a fine chap, the type that you would use again and again and if we are doing this again, we shall be using him.
The Old and The New

Good Bye Jucy, you served us well

So onto the Bart and then the Metro and ended up where we started at Richard’s .

But more about that tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. The guys in the t-shirts were part of a fundraising race.