art in the park in Carmel, CA

Going Back to California

I just returned from a week-long trip to northern California, which was needed and very nice. I generally don’t announce when I will be away, since where I live isn’t exactly impossible to find, and I don’t want to make burglars’ lives easier.

We were based in Carmel and stayed in a a really cool place built in the 1930′s, overlooking the Pacific. I got to know Carmel pretty well during this trip, especially the day we lost the car and hiked endlessly searching for it, me with boxed leftovers in my hand the whole time. Our best meal was lunch at Demetra’s Cafe in Carmel, which had great authentic med. food, great service, and the cook came out from the kitchen and sang some greek-sounding song to the place while the host walked around and played what I guess was a lyre?


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We drove to San Simeon to take a different our of Hearst’s pad there than we took last time, which wasn’t that long ago, and missed the last tour. Same happened with our attempt to tour Alcatraz, but just as well. The drive down PCH is hard to beat, and San Francisco has plenty to do on a moment’s notice.

I had an entire day to myself and went over to Laguna Seca and got down on the infield and the paddocks. I then just started driving through Arroyo Seca and Carmel Valley, which is entirely ranches and vineyards and a really cool secluded drive through lots of canopied, winding narrow country roads. The only other sole I saw on my daylong trip through the middle of nowhere, interestingly, was a UPS truck.

We went out to eat dinner in Monterey with some other PhD folks, and I also managed to grab lunch on Fisherman’s Wharf one day, which is nothing to brag about. I tried pretty successfully to eat seafood the whole time, and up until I thought I was going to barf near the end, did a good job.

Note: Hanging out in the bar where the anniversary party scene in “So I married an Axe Murderer” was shot was awesome. Eating the fish and chips should be avoided at all costs, however.

On the way home that night, I felt awful, and we got into a small accident in a gas station parking lot in Palo Alto at about midnight just to add to the misery. Stanford doofus backed into our car despite my liberal use of the horn and his giant brain. Prior, we hoofed it all around San Francisco, went on the streetcars and took our usual tour of San Fran, including Chinatown, Union Square, Ghirardhelli Square, The financial district, etc… which of course included the obligatory army of homeless and clouds of weed smoke everywhere that never let you forget where you are. We walked past one urban sportsman laying in the middle of a 2 lane one-way street at night. I can think of better ways to die than getting run over by a Prius or Segway.

We went to Pebble Beach for lunch the day we headed south to Cambria. I decided I want to drive the PCH in a convertible Porsche before I die. Hopefully that construction on Hwy 1 will be over by then as well.

We also hit Santa Cruz once again, which we officially deemed a dump, and grabbed fried artichokes of course around Watsonville. I think Santa Cruz has more homeless than actual residents.

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