Saturday, April 6, 2013

17 Mile Drive

Our next adventure while staying in the Monterey Bay area sorta just "happened" one afternoon.

The kids and I decided we had done enough school work for the day and what we really needed to do was go out for ice cream.  Good ice cream.  I gave them a choice of any ice cream shop within a thirty minute drive (and there were MANY choices)...and they chose Cold Stone.  Which just happens to be my favorite :).  We go to Cold Stone on average once a year, usually on someone's it really was a special treat.

We each made our choice and got it to go.  The kids wanted to go eat our ice cream at the tide pools and watch the sunset.

When we left the shopping center and started to drive to Point Pinos, we passed a sign that said Pebble Beach Golf Links.  The boys had heard of the famous golf course and wanted to go check it out.  Ok, change of plans :).  

The sign pointed to the left, so we turned off of the road that would take us to the point.  The road was blocked by a guard shack type deal and the man came out to talk to us.  I didn't realize that the road that goes by the course is the --17 Mile Drive-- road.  The man was very nice and explained to me that there would be a fee of $9.75 just to drive on the road.  Annnd, the fee was only going to be good for that day.  I decided that we would come back another day when we would have more time to drive the 17 miles and see it all at a leisurely pace...not an hour or so before sunset like it was that day.  I thanked the man and was getting ready to turn around and leave when he told me that I could only make a right turn back onto the highway.  And there would be nowhere to turn around and get headed back towards the point until we drove all the way back into town.  Whuuuut???  Doh!  He had me...we would pretty much miss the sunset if we had to do that, so guess what?  We paid the $9.75 and went on a speedy tour of the 17 mile drive :). (and p.s...they only take cash, no debit card.  before you drive all the way out there, make sure you have at least ten bucks cash on you)

With our entrance fee came a little booklet with a map and descriptions of all the points of interest along the drive.  Trevor was our tour guide, he read to us about what we were seeing as I drove :).

The shoreline was gorgeous.  The sand in that area was white, so different from the brownish sand just up the coast a little ways!  We all started to pile out at the first stop with the intention of exploring the beach a little.  Not!!!  The wind was freezing cold, the fact that we were riding around eating ice cream didn't exactly do anything to warm us up either ;).  Oh well, we really didn't have much time to spend at each stop, so I guess it all worked out for the best :).

There were places, one called the Restless Sea, where the water off shore just churned and churned like it was trying to go in every direction at once.  It was mesmerizing to watch...

We pulled up to the viewing place for the sea lions.  There was a huge rock out in the water and from the shore we could hear them making their usual noises and carrying on, but they were just a bit too far out to see well.  There was a whole row of those viewing things that you put a quarter in and it's like looking through binoculars.  We were just about to start feeding them quarters when a nice lady advised us to save our money.  The sun and salt air had done a number on all of the lenses and they were so fogged up (and unable to be cleaned) that they were useless.  Bummer.  At least she saved us from wasting our money :)!

The wind was seriously freezing, so we hurried back to the car (again!) to try and see it all before dark.  Just down the road a bit we saw the strangest little house.  I don't know what it was, it was really different from the other homes we saw that day (most were huge, sprawling mansions)...

Just before the road entered the forest, it took us out onto a point with some great views.

It was funny, there were houses (estates is a better word) all along the road and some of the people built their fences around the trees...

We then drove through the forest.  I later found out that we were in one of only two remaining groves of native Monterey Cypress left in the world.  Pretty cool :)

After enjoying the contrast of Crocker Grove, the road began to show us glimpses of the Pacific once again.  We just had to stop and get out one more time to see the Lone Cypress.  The Pebble Beach icon...

Then it was on to the PB Lodge and Links.  The place was busy, tents and things were being set up for a tournament that was a few days away.  The AT&T Pro-Am, with a purse of $6,500,000.  Gulp.  I think me needs to learn a new sport! Ha!

I did look at the price to play a round of golf...$495 + cart rental.  Gulp.  But it would be awesome to play there if golf is your thing :)

Our afternoon turned out way better than we anticipated :)!  With the wind being so cold, it was the perfect day for a scenic drive.  So glad we stumbled upon it...

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