So I really would have been happy to stay in Monterey forever, however in the end I reluctantly got into the convertible for another drive along stunning coastline in the sunshine. Sigh.
The coastline from Monterey to Morro Bay along Highway 1 is utterly amazing. With a capital UTTERLY. We thought yesterday’s scenery was pretty, but this was on another level. We started with a leisurely drive around Pacific Grove on the outskirts of Monterey, where I chose the clifftop house I shall live in once I’ve decided which of my dream jobs to accept in the town. From there it was a simple hundred and something mile drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to our next destination. Well, not quite so simple. The spectacular drive involves lots of twists and turns and dramatic climbs and drops (and you really want to obey those speed limit signs; they really know what they’re talking about). It’s so worth the change of underwear at the end though. This really is the drive that you imagine when you think of cruising across America with the top down.
We eventually rolled into Morro Bay, past the imposing Morro Rock, and up to our hotel. All our hotels have been booked online, unseen, lucky dip style. So far, they have been getting cheaper but also progressively nicer. Tonight’s hotel is nestled between a State Park and the beach and it’s adorable. Let’s hope I haven’t now jinxed this run of luck as far as sleeping places are concerned.
We’ve had a lovely quiet afternoon and evening, pottering along the oceanfront and enjoying our first sunset on the West Coast with some good food and wine. If Monterey hadn’t already stolen my heart then Morro Bay might have had a good chance but, alas, I am now destined to love another. Tomorrow we venture further down the coast in search of more adventures.
… Unless it’s Memorial Day Weekend and the whole world has chosen to visit the beaches of the West Coast at the same time! Can’t really complain though, as it’s not every day that I get chauffeur driven down the Pacific Coast Highway in a Mustang convertible. However, the combination of heavy traffic and accidents along the route did serve to make it feel just like a Bank Holiday back in the UK. We had a slow but actually very enjoyable pootle through Half Moon Bay and a host of charming tiny beaches and I got my first ever glimpse of the Pacific. It was nice to have the excuse to potter at 20 mph along a lot of the scenic areas (and boy were there a lot). We had planned to stop in Santa Cruz, home of The Lost Boys, for a spot of vampire hunting, but this being probably the busiest summer weekend in the American calendar, it was not to be. We managed some very slow progress through the middle of the town and past the famous Boardwalk but walking would have been way quicker. In fact, had I thought of it, I could easily have jumped out of the car and grabbed us a couple of ice creams before the car had moved about ten feet. Every single car park was full to capacity so we did our sightseeing from the comfort of our four wheels. I must say, my overriding impression of Santa Cruz is that it’s just like Southend on Sea but with better weather, and probably less jellied eels.
Not long after, however, we arrived in Monterey, which is one of the loveliest places I have ever visited. Put it this way, if the husband somehow drives off and forgets me in the morning, I’ll be a little miffed but I’ll get over it and live out my days here quite happily. It’s a delightful small town but with all the things you need (independent coffee shop, bookshop etc) plus a nice little wharf/boardwalk area and some not too shabby weather to boot. Oh and it has three British pubs that I know of. We only managed to make it into two of them because we got distracted by a bunch of really nice, funny, educated and generally very charming Americans who entertained us for the evening. So here I find myself at the end of another fun-packed day of adventures and needing another good night’s sleep. Tomorrow, we head to Morro (Bay).