California Coast Vacation 99 - page 5
Nancy & Ruben's
California Coast Vacation '99

Part - 5 -
Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay,
Carmel By The Sea, & Big Sur

California Coast Vacation | Page 1 - Yosemite | Page 2 - S.F. & Fort Bragg | Page 3 - Fort Bragg & Mendocino | Page 4 - Berkeley to Santa Cruz | Page 5 - Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur | Page 6 - Cayucus, Morro Bay, Port San Louis, Pismo Beach | Pre-Photos | After-Photos | With Frames | Escape Frames

Saturday morning, Sept 11
On Saturday we woke up at the Ocean Pacific Hotel in Santa Cruz right next to the beach. First, we got our continental breakfast, which was the worst yet. I do not recommend this hotel. They misled us about everything. Anyway, the girls weren't into the railroad tour on the Big Trees & Pacific Railroad, thru the redwood mountains, so we walked down to the boardwalk and pier.

The hotel's "walk to the beach" turned out to be about 3 or 4 blocks, and along the way, I noticed hotels that were closer to the beach. The Beachview Inn, the EconoLodge, and the Ramada Inn were all closer, and the Tarriff(?) court motel was right on the boardwalk, as well as the Casa Blanca Hotel, which looked too expensive. The West Coast Santa Cruz Hotel was the only hotel that was right on the beach. Anyway, we were too early for the boardwalk, as it didn't open till 11 AM, and it looked like mostly for kids anyway. We checked out the "Coconut Grove Casino" video arcade, and saw all kinds of new high tech games that looked fun. The games all dispensed tickets, which could be traded in for prizes. Unfortunately, even hundreds of tickets didn't get you much.

Nancy & Ruben w/ Casino & Boardwalk behind
We left the casino and boardwalk and headed out for the pier. It was still overcast, but that didn't stop hundreds of people from playing volley ball on the many beach courts. The Pier was a pretty big one, and there were a lot on nice shops on it. We passed an old fisherman with an aquarium on wheels, where he had octopus, crab, and a mad Mackeral. At the end they had the classic California "Clam Chowder in a Bread Basket" which we ate heartily, and I picked up a cool sign that said "The Blue Dolphin Inn". I had to pass on the cool "Davy Jones Pen Set" that I liked, but I got a cool tropical fish pillow for Nancy.

On the Santa Cruz Pier
There were a lot of people surfing near the pier, and even kids on skittleboards on the water's edge. It was near noon now and the sky was still overcast, so we decided to check out downtown Santa Cruz. It was about 8 blocks for our hotel, and we parked near the Santa Cruze Metro Center where all the buses come and go. The downtown area was very nice with a lot of trees and cool shops and antique stores that all smelled great. The main street was one way, and there were a lot of tourists, as well as street musicians and flocks of "runaway" kids. This actually seemed to be California's center for teenage runaway kids, as there was even more here than in Hollywood, and that's hard to believe. It's mellow here too, with the same carefree-ness of San Francisco.

On the Santa Cruz Pier
The Hotel Royal is a small hotel right on the main Santa Cruz shopping strip kiddiecorner from the Metro Station. It's a small and probably inexpensive place, but located perfectly. I found some great original framed paintings for next to nothing at the huge Salvation Army store by the Metro Station, and then we saw Siri and Lisa catch the 4:00 bus back to Berkeley. We drove down street to the 101 around Monterey Bay. I'd heard good things about the Monterey aquarium, but Nancy had seen it before, so we continued on.

Surf on Monterey Bay and Carmel By The Sea

We landed in Carmel-By-The-Sea shortly, which is right next to Monterey and about 1/2 hr from Santa Cruz. We drove around blocks and blocks of cool little shops, restaurants, and art galleries till we finally found a parking space.

There were thousands of people here strolling along and shopping, and this seemed to be the shopping/dinner getaway for the entire Bay Area. We strolled from store to store, kinda like Universal Citywalk, Old Town Pasadena, and Santa Monica's 3rd St Promenade all rolled into one and multiplied by 10. In the hour or two we were there we only touched the surface of this cool place. We stopped into a cool little store called Simic - New Renaissance Gallery, they had the most amazing paintings of the ocean I'd ever seen. Joel Jensen was very informative about ocean paintings, and these were by some old timers and some modern day masters. We have 3 or 4 ocean paintings already, but these were so magnificent they just sparkled!

Carmel By The Rocks and Point Lobos

Nancy finally pulled me out of the Gallery as we were looking for a restaurant for dinner. Following the suggestion of a local store owner, we went to the General Store. Wow!. This was a really great place. Elegant and casual at the same time, we chose to sit indoors rather that the nice outdoor patio. It was beginning to get dark, so the warmth of the big fireplace was nice. It was actually a large flame from a blacksmith's workshop set up in the restaurant, with all the tools hanging around for decoration. The entire restaruant was filled with antiques, from the walls to the ceiling. The entire bathroom was one big blackboard, with plenty of chalk. The ribs we ordered were really good and had plenty of meat. The guy was right, this place was good.

We finally finished and headed out of town. Big Sur was next but we couldn't see anything except winding roads for the next 2 to 3 hours. Be past one place towards the southern end of Big Sur called the Ragged Point Inn & Resort, (Jagged Edge?) which looked like a cool place. Had a hotel, shops, restaurant, and bar, and steps down to the rough Big Sur rocks on this jagged coastline. We didn't stop, though, as our hotel in Cayucos was only about 1/2 hour further. We passed San Simeon where the Hearst Castle is, but we'd already seen it once, so we kept going. I heard the point at San Simeon Beach/Park is extraordinairily beautiful. Too bad it was night time.


Saturday night, Sept 11
When we finally arrived in Cayucos, the town was pretty quiet, except for the Saloon, which was rocking like tornado. The rest of the town looked like a sleepy old west town, and all the stores had the classic false front western look. The Saloon must have had a band playing, cause the whole town was shaking and everytime a drunk cowboy came flying out the swinging double doors, the music blasted out for miles. This has to be the rockin'est bar we've run across yet. I wanted to hitch the car to the hitching post and join the fun but Nancy & I were both tired from the long Big Sur drive, so we found our hotel, the Cypress Tree Motel, 125 S. Ocean St, Cayucus, CA 93430,, phone# 805-995-3917, or 800-241-4289. and checked in. We lit the pilot light on the old fashioned heater, opened some whisky, and relaxed after a long hot shower. The hotel was only located 1 block from the beach, and about 4 blocks from main street, so we settled in for a sound sleep and some good ol fashioned cattle rustling in the morning (just kidding).

California Coast Vacation | Page 1 - Yosemite | Page 2 - S.F. & Fort Bragg | Page 3 - Fort Bragg & Mendocino | Page 4 - Berkeley to Santa Cruz | Page 5 - Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur | Page 6 - Cayucus, Morro Bay, Port San Louis, Pismo Beach | Pre-Photos | After-Photos | With Frames | Escape Frames