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Feb 24, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO VACATION - PART ONE

My BB guy and I  took a few days off for a holiday getaway this past week. We decided to go to Carmel, Monterey and San Francisco. I have never been there but he has once before.
Our trip started out as many of mine do. Without my luggage. I seem to be luggage challenged. You can read about this HERE and HERE.
We left  early (6:00am)  on Saturday morning and drove down to the Canada / US border. We breezed through there and made our first stop for breakfast before heading down to the airport in Bellingham. We were flying to Seattle then on to San Francisco. We could have driven the distance between Bellingham and Seattle but the traffic is pretty bad since it would have been rush hour both ways and the parking fees are crazy. It is cheaper and quicker to fly.
Once in Seattle the airlines requested volunteers to take an earlier flight which we jumped at. They were to switch our checked bag (with all my stuff in it) to the earlier flight. Off we went. My suitcase? Uh  no….. of course not! That would be too easy wouldn't it.
We would use the time we saved to go and pick up our rental car. A quick trip on the train to the rental car area and then a lengthy procedure to actually get the car. The agent was very nice and she was trying very hard to get us a suitable  vehicle that the BB Guy would fit into comfortably. 
Question: Can you drive a Ford Focus if you have ADD? Ha, ha, ha….thanks to the guy standing next to us for that one. He had a million of them. Can you transport prisoners in an Escape? You get my drift?
This procedure took over an hour. Time to drive back to the terminal to pick up my suitcase. We hope. I jumped out at the baggage claim doors just in time to see "big red" coming down the carousel. Woohoo. A quick dig in the suitcase for the GPS and off we go.
The weather was a bit cloudy but it was California and we were hopeful. We were driving down to Carmel and things were going great.
Oh look………..SNOW………...in California……….between San Francisco and Carmel.
Things are still going great. We are in a big vehicle and the BB Guy is an experienced snow driver. (Did I mention we are in California?) Carry on down to Carmel. We are staying at the Carmel Mission Inn. It is a lovely place and right across the street from a mall! 
 Look at our funky room. This bed was so comfortable.
We get checked in and make the first foray out to shop. We head to the Safeway which I must say was a really nice store. We are jealous of all the beautiful produce in the store not to mention the wine. This store has 3 aisles of wines and liquor. We don't sell alcohol in our grocery stores in British Columbia. Not allowed. Did I mention we really like wine? We do. We really, really do. We bought wine. We also bought a piece of Brie cheese and a small loaf of bread, some pistachios and cashews and some orange juice.
 We went for a short drive around the area to scope it out and then back to our room for a bit of a rest. And some wine. Backing on to our hotel is an area called the Barnyard which is a little shopping area with many restaurants. 
Our first dinner was at Bahama Billy's and was a little overpriced but we still enjoyed our meal. Unfortunately there was a very large group in the restaurant that were extremely noisy with several really loud children.
The next day we got up to a glorious, sunny day and went in search of some good coffee. Heading down to Carmel by the Sea we found a little coffee shop and grabbed a couple of grande cups of a good French roast and a piece of crumb cake to share. We quickly found a parking spot right at the ocean. Yes fellow B.C. people. A beach area with lots of empty parking stalls. Free parking stalls. Believe it or not.
We walked along the walkway almost getting whiplash looking left at the fabulous homes facing the beach and then right to the ocean view. There were many people out on the sand with lots of dogs who were having the best time ever. There were a bunch of surfers floating around out there too but I wonder if they actually get up on their boards and surf. It didn't look like it. More of a social meet up I think.
We headed to Monterey for a late breakfast-early lunch. The drive started with the 17 Mile Drive, which you pay for, to cruise through the tree lined streets and then back out to the ocean. Years ago they let my BB Guy through for free because he was bringing an Indy race car down to the golf course for a display. No luck today. We paid. We also wondered if when you live in the area do your friends have to pay to come over for a visit? That could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on who your friends are and how much you like them.
This photo of the moss covered trees doesn't do them justice. They were glowing lime green.
Once in Monterey we find that the parking is definitely not free. We park off the main strip and manage to get change from one of the change machines on the street. We plunk in our money and head out for a walk down to the main area of Cannery Row. Think Steinbeck. There are many references to the author here. 
Since we really never had breakfast we decide eat first and then investigate the area more. We ask a young busker for his recommendation for the best breakfast around and he directs us to a place about 8 blocks away. Off we go down the promenade to find the place. Right where he said it was and it looked really good. Too good it would seem as there would be a 45 minute wait for a table. Since we had already been up for many hours and had not eaten anything other then that little piece of crumb cake that we split we were not prepared to wait that long for a table.
Lucky for us, right next door was a little diner called Archie's American Diner. Now my BB Guy has this issue with me taking pictures of our food in restaurants so the camera doesn't usually get pulled out at the table. (weirdo eh? ) Here is half of their menu. They do have breakfast items too but lets cut to the chase here. They have garlic fries. Fresh raw garlic mixed with parmesan cheese and parsley sprinkled over your hot fries. Did I mention the garlic? All over my fries.  Oh Sweet Delilah these are good!!! 
We then tried to walk off some of the food and headed back to Cannery Row. There are restaurants every couple of feet along with the obligatory T-shirt stores. I have to say I was not impressed with the quality of any of these places with their products being made off shore. They all had such a low quality feel to them you just know that one run through the wash would just ruin them. Tourist dollars stayed firmly in my pocket except for at the chocolate shop that also sold ice cream. A scoop of Espresso chocolate was just the perfect finish. Now that was a quality product.
We wandered and peeked in windows and people watched. There were so many things to photograph but I thought these boats were really cool.
By the time we got back to the car we both were commenting on how many pregnant women we saw here. Seriously if they all gave birth right then and there the population would have increased by 1/3 I am sure. It was really noticeable.
Back to Carmel and to another good long walk around. Every other shop in Carmel by the Sea is a gallery. Some really fabulous pieces for sure but nothing that would fit into my country style except for the one shop with a huge double sink vanity with a one piece hammered copper top and sinks with decorative copper faces on the cabinets. It was really nice.  Here is a lovely little walkway secret garden.
Lots of walking worked up an appetite (again) so back to our hotel to wash up, have some wine and figure out our dinner plans. Turns out we wanted Mexican food and there was a place right across the parking lot. The place was call Hola, By The Sea and we were happy to say Hola to them. We both had fajitas and we ordered a big pitcher of Margaritas. Don't they look good? They were Top Shelf Margaritas meaning they were made with the tequila from the top shelf of the bar or the better quality tequila. They were fabulous and we enjoyed every last drop throughout the evening.
Although we left the ocean before dinner I saved this photo until the end. The sun shimmering off the ocean as the day winds down. This is the end of this post of the first day and half of our trip. I will post part 2 soon as we head back up to the San Francisco area.

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13 comments:

Heather said...

Except for the luggage, it all sounds wonderful!

Lou said...

That was a really great walk through your day (and a half) with you and your man. You're a very good storyteller Lori.

Lynn said...

I love it there! We go now and then for a little day trip! Great food!

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Looks like you had a great time! I'd love some of those fries right about now:@)

Vivienne said...

Gorgeous! I love it up there (er, I guess down there for you Canadians, eh?) and am glad you had nice weather.

The reason there were so many pregnant people in Monterey is because it's only interesting there if you're a tourist or fisherman.... otherwise, there's nothing else to do. (So I've heard...)

Maureen said...

Sounds like a jolly god time - enjoy!

Kammy said...

Love your pictures ! I grew up in the Bay Area, so you made me homesick ! Can't wait to see more !
Kammy

jojo said...

Yum, Margaritas!! Looks like you had a good time in a beautiful place. I know how surprised I was when my daughter called and said it was snowing in SF...;j

Vicki said...

Ah, I hat to sound dumb, but what is a BB Guy?

Ali said...

Californ-I-A is definitely on our list of places to see while we're still able to shuffle around. Luggage woes aside, it sounds like a great trip. Now pass that jug of Margaritas lady!

Ali

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Oh my computer screen got stuck on the garlic fries, and it refused to move. Oh my, they do look good.

Well except for the rain, the snow, and the lost luggage it looks like you had a great time.

Beautiful.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Karen said...

Looks like a fun trip! Larry and I drove down the coast to San Fransisco before we got married. He proposed right after we got back. (I guess it WAS a good trip LOL!)
Oh yeah, those garlic fries, my mouth was watering just looking at that picture....

MiMi said...

You have to pay to drive through that one area?? How much does it cost? That's crazy.
That area is really so beautiful...I love it. Haven't been there in years, but still remember the beauty of Carmel. :)
And, yes, Safeway has a nice little are with the wines and cheese and baguettes. :)

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