Thursday, July 17, 2014


The neighbors had already been here, so one day Duane and I took off alone for Monterey.  After a stop at the Visitors' Center for information, we tried to follow directions to the bay area, but ended up in downtown.  As is the case with all tourist towns, there is the usual maze of one way streets which makes navigation a bit of a puzzle for visitors.  We stopped at a Jamba Juice for sustenance and a look at the map.  The city was originally settled as a mission, but gained notoriety when it became the sardine canning capital of the world.  There are several museums, walking tours, driving tours, history tours, historic buildings, and the usual shops and restaurants.  We opted to explore the shoreline.  After parking somewhat in the middle of our route, our first stop was the Marina and pier.  There is a fence down the middle with public access on the left and Coast Guard facilities and yacht  rental space on the right.  The Bay is a National Marine Sanctuary which means that people can explore but not touch.   

The marina was very busy with tourists.  In the water scuba divers received instruction, 
sea mammals like this otter did their things,  and people got a closer view via kayaks and paddle boards (where you stand on a board and use a paddle to maneuver.  

On the other side the Coast Guard was on the job.

At the end there was a rocky jetty extending outward and covered with nesting cormorants.  

From the marina we took the walking/biking path to Cannery Row.  This section was comprised of sardine canning and shipping factories.  It was made famous by John Steinbeck's novel of that name.  Hollywood also made several movies here, including the one where Marilyn Monroe got her first starring role that launched her career 

Sardines were gathered off shore and delivered via tubes to the canneries.  Cans were delivered across the walkways, filled and returned the same way to the other side of the street, where they were loaded onto rail cars for shipping.  The railroad is gone now, but the bed  is now the walk/bike bath that runs along the entire waterfront.  The historic buildings that remain are filled with tourist shops--souvenir shops, restaurants, sweet shops, kid's games and adult and kid amusements.  At the end of the district is the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

After buying some salt water taffy and a t-shirt, we headed back the other way.  Between the Marina and Fisherman's Wharf the Sanctuary was busy with loafing sea lions

I thought this dude looked like a water fountain.

There is beach access for sun worshipers--the air and water were both too chilly for me, but I had to stick my fingers in at least!

Our last stop was here at the famous Fisherman's Wharf.  It was built in 1845 for the many trading vessels bringing foods from around Cape Horn to Monterey, the major
port on the Pacific.  In the following years, the booming whale industry took over the Wharf, but it was the tiny sardine that made Monterey an industry leader.  Today the Wharf plays host to visitors seeking a taste of history and the finest fresh seafood served anywhere.

I took all that from the brochure.  What it means is that the wharf is lined with tourist shops and a whole bunch of nice restaurants all vying for business.  Almost every one had a pretty young girl outside handing out free samples of clam chowder along with cards for a free calamari appetizer and promising diners bayside dining..  We finally just picked one and treated ourselves to"the finest fresh seafood served anywhere".

Views from the restaurant.

Having explored the shoreline, we decided to scoot along toward home.  When we arrived at the town of San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist), we stopped for fuel and decided to see if we could fit in a visit to the Mission.  We parked and walked in still carrying helmets and found that we had 1/2 hour to tour.  Since the mission was small, we decided to fit in a visit, but that meant that we had to carry our riding gear and didn't have time to fetch the camera and so would have no pictures.  The mission was the 15th CA mission and was founded in 1797.  It is a small mission with only one short wall of rooms for church use and for converted Indian instruction, but boasts the largest of the mission churches.  Franciscan Friars are still in residence and the church is still in use as a church.  Alfred Hitchcock selected the mission as the setting for the 1957 production of the film Vertigo starring Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart.  The 1865 Victorian era bell tower depicted in the movie no longer exists.  Hitchcock used studio effects to recreate the tower for the film.  Out visit was short, but we always enjoy visiting historic places.  Outside we discovered that across the street on two sides of the mission is an historic state park.  We decided to return San Juan Bautista on a future visit.
Guess where we'll be going next!

Louise and Duane


Ken and Bonnie said...

Looks like a fantastic trip. Love fresh seafood, and the sea lions( not to eat). Something to look forward to someday.

Paul and Marsha Weaver OCT. 17, 2009 said...

When we owned our other house, our old neighbor lives in Monterey. She was the head pilot for Schmuckers. She moved across the street from us just to be closer to the headquarters. When she left Monterey she did not sale her house. She knew one day that she would move back and said it was a ton cheaper to pay the taxes, insurance, etc. on the house the years she would be away than trying to buy another house there. She told us how expensive everything is and what a HUGE tourist town it is. But she loved it.

Thanks for the tour because I truly believe we will never get there.