Twice a year my wife has to go up to Berkeley for an academic conference so we took the opportunity to have a romantic night in Big Sur, visit our son in Silicon Valley (where he’s designing the new Apple iSomething), and have a leisurely weekend getting lost thanks to the Avis GPS system.
Rented my first Prius at the San Jose airport. For an extra $10 a day you can get one with Oregon plates so you’ll REALLY look like you’re going green. It would’ve been nice if Avis had included an owner’s manual. Questions I never solved: why did the little explanation point warning light go off? What does it mean? How do you get the car out of reverse?
Big Sur is absolutely breathtaking. And the drive to it on winding single-lane California Highway 1 offers spectacular views if you can just get by the traffic, gusty winds, septic tank trucks, construction, vertigo, panic attacks, drizzles, car sickness, and bikers.
You’ve seen Deer Crossing signs? There is a Pig Crossing sign on Highway 1.
Since the area is so stunningly gorgeous they take their New Age star gazing, crystals, plein aire painting, scented candles, and Yanni very seriously. Glad I opted for the Oregon plates.
Stayed at the Ventana Inn & Spa, which is my way of “roughing it”. A plasma TV and wireless internet is a must for this hearty outdoorsman. Sure the fireplace wood was pre-chopped, treated, and in a convenient burlap bag but I had to light it. Well…actually my wife lit it.
They have a clothing optional pool, which is wrong on so many levels. Let’s just say this is where the pig crossing sign should be.
Did not sign up for the mushroom hunting expedition, which reminds me, lots of old hippies still make Big Sur their cave. They can all show you Bobby Darin’s former trailer and where Jack Kerouac – all hopped-up on espresso – wrote his greatest novel (until it was explained to him that someone else had already written “Little Women”).
The drive back up to the Bay Area was equally treacherous/lovely.
Swung by storied Pebble Beach golf course in Monterey. I could almost hear the ghost of Bing Crosby saying to his caddy, “Hey, hand me a five iron, willya? Think I’ll beat Gary senseless with it.”
From the mean streets of Carmel comes this from their police blotter: “Parking complaint/violation of box delivery truck blocking in numerous cars in the Carmel Center parking lot. Driver found but had a disrespectful and cavalier response to complaining parties. His employer has been contacted/warned.” You’d think former mayor, Clint Eastwood would have cleaned up this shameful lawlessness!
There is a need for “stump removal specialists” in Carmel. Depending on how long the Writers Guild strike will be many of your favorite sitcom scribes may apply.
The Carmel Middle School was holding it’s 5th annual “Solar Tour & Sustainability Fair”. It’s as if Al Gore planned a Halloween Carnival.
Got out of there just before the moth spraying. Moths? Still??? What the hell did Mayor Clint DO for four years??
Drove past Santa Cruz. Lovely woodsy area. In California anytime you have a region with more than one hundred trees it is required by law that there be a Santa Claus Lane.
The Silicon Valley is now New Delhi with a P.F. Chang’s. Technology and the Indian culture just seem to go hand-in-hand. You see them everywhere, working at Apple and Applebe’s.
“A Broadway winner with Broadway talent”. That’s what a San Jose theater was boasting with its production of GUYS & DOLLS “starring original cast members of Broadway’s CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG”.
The NHL hockey season is about to begin and folks from San Jose were surprised and delighted to learn they have a team – the Sharks. Now beginning their 17th season.
There is not one Coffee Bean in the entire south bay. However, my son Matt says there is one in Shanghai.
Palo Alto was going nuts Saturday night after the Stanford football team, a 41 point underdog, upset mighty USC. Crazed rowdy students filled the bars on University Avenue yelling, “Imported lager and Irish Red ale for everyone!”
From the “Summer of Love”, San Francisco has moved into the “Fall of Maybe We Should Start Seeing Other People”.
KFRC has returned to an oldies format. But it is now the whitest radio station in America. Paul McCartney is considered ethnic.
When in Berkeley NEVER stay at the Doubletree Marina. There is a buoy in the bay that rings a bell every thirty seconds ALL NIGHT LONG. The homeless guys on Telegraph Avenue get a better night’s sleep than anyone staying at the Doubletree Marina.
Unfortunately, I was one week too late for the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco. The Folsom Street Fair is a celebration of leather culture and sexual fetishism (not to be confused with the Carmel Middle School “Solar Tour & Sustainability Fair”). There were the usual couples leading each other down the street with dog collars and leashes, public floggings, men in thong underwear playing Twister, women dressed as dirty martinis in teeny silver dresses shaped like martini glasses and bra cups decorated like green olives, and for the shoppers, stalls selling such must-have items as baseball caps reading “Master” or “Slave”, silk ropes for being tied up, and a book entitled “Dungeon Emergencies and Supplies”. “The Solar Fair” offered recycling tips.
It was a hectic but fun four days. And to answer your next question: 40.3 mpg. But I understand you get even better mileage if you’re in drive.