Saturday, May 28, 2016

west coast trip 2015, day 1.

After visiting the Northeast earlier in 2015, we made a goal to see the West coast later in the year. After debating on quite a few itineraries, the two of us agreed on this:
Monterey, CA – 2 Days
San Francisco, CA – 2 Days
Redwood Forest (somewhere in CA) – 1 Day
Jacksonville, OR – 1 Day
Portland, OR – 2 Days

Just like our trip to Europe, it was straight up Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Over an 8 day stretch, we flew 3,500 miles, rode a train for 50 miles, and drove close to 1,000 miles with 18 hours behind the wheel, and managed to get only one speeding ticket. While I love metrics, I won’t bore you with anymore…at least for a little bit.

Taking a morning flight to San Jose help give us plenty of time on our first day. The two extra hours allowed us to get there, grab a rental car, and drive all the way down the Monterey all in time for lunch. We were starving upon arrival and went straight to
Compagno’s deli to pick up some sandwiches. Mere had found this local gem which is frequented by the nearby military base and is adorned in all sorts of personal photos, flags, caps, and even model replicas of helicopters and fighter jets given by our nation’s finest. The owner was there and knew most of the customers by name, so this wasn’t a big tourist spot. We picked up some enormous sandwiches and a ridiculous slice of cake to go. Driving straight down to the trail along the ocean, we found a bench to begin our feast. It was definitely a memorable moment as we satisfied our hangriness, listened to the waves crash against the rocks, and breathed the awesome ocean air from the Pacific. It was time to begin our vacation!

Our lunch spot

The most amazing cake

After taking in the view for a bit, it was time to hit the road and drive down to Big Sur. Driving down Highway 1 has been a goal of mine for so long, and it was exactly how I pictured it. Absolutely beautiful. The only thing that could have made it better was having a driver, so that Mere would not have been so nervous about me taking in the views while also navigating the curves. I could drive that stretch one hundred times and not get bored. It was one of those bucket list items that makes you sad to cross off. We found a spot to pull off the road and dangle our legs over the ledge, and even got to see some seals and whales. As it began to near evening time, we headed to check in at the Portola Hotel. While I was underwhelmed by this hotel that seemed to be built around a conference center, it’s what I expected from throwing caution to the wind on The hotels I wanted were already booked up, so I let it pick a deal for me. While it was nice to have a room with air conditioning and an awesome patio, the maze of hallways to find our room was a bit ridiculous. I swear it was a mile and one panic room experience to get to the front of the hotel. 

After changing, we took a short Uber drive to Cannery Row. This is where we were a bit disappointed with Monterey. While beautiful, it is definitely more touristy than we had imagined. For dinner, we ate at the Cannery Row Brewing Company, which was nothing to write home about. Afterwards, we grabbed a drink at the C bar which is attached to the Intercontinental Hotel. It’s a good spot to unwind, but we were pretty tired and headed out after one drink. Before calling it a night, we did walk down to the water and listen to the waves in the darkness for a while. It had been one great day.