Wednesday, April 02, 2008


This year, for my birthday, Greg took me down to Carmel. We left mid-day on Friday, a little later than expected and dropped sweet Tsunami off with Mom. Mom was very excited about her weekend of dog sitting.

Off again, down the coast and we got hungry around Santa Cruz. I recalled how my mom and I had eaten in Capitola a year ago after our kayak trip in Elkhorn Slough. I tried to guide us there, however, we turned to Google Maps, after several wrong turns and a trip back up the coast. We found Capitola's cuteness slightly damped by the drizzle and took refuge in the Margaritaville. Maybe not the best choice, as the food wasn't special and the service seemed to want training. But we were back out on the road before long.

Heading on South we hit yawnville on our approach to Sand City and pulled off to get some coffee. I was so excited to head south, we soon jumped back in the car for the last 15 minutes of trip.

We arrived in the rain and didn't have any trouble finding our hotel, The Wayfarer Inn. The room was better than expected, with a fireplace that was controlled by the room temperature. We'd slide the guide up to 70 and, poof, the fire would come-on. Before leaving, slide back down to 60 so the fire would go out. Very find and dandy, until 2 AM when then thing kicks back on and suddenly the room is romantic & aglow.

Greg was under the impression that Carmel was closer to San Diego's temperature than San Francisco. The first night, on our way out for a nightcap, we realized he didn't have a jacket. I only had a light coat. We both were cold throughout the weekend, but made the best of it.

Saturday started out gray but we forgot about it with our super yummy breakfast. We choose a place that looked local and decided to share. He ordered Eggs Benedict with crumbled Italian sausage. I got a blueberry waffle. The Benedict was super savory. The waffle got drowned in syrup.

Next we were off to the Aquarium. I was so excited to go back. It had been nearly 10 years since I was there last. The jelly fish lived up to my memories. So magical, drifting and dangerous at the same time. How does it know to do that swimmy-thing when it has no brain. It is just a floating stomach with arms. Off to the otters, who were exceptionally cute. The only downer was my inability to stomach the children after 2.5 hours. So much yelling, screeching & crying.

It also played into my recent depression about the planet. We're messing things up pretty badly. We're taking away habitat, killing off our natural resources - I'm not going to eat fish more than once a month due to our over-fished oceans. After 2 hours in the aquarium, my hysteria had me looking for a sword to fall upon.

To cheer me up, we headed out and explored the seaside. I snapped several pictures that I have yet to upload. The best photos were from south of Carmel & the North part of the 17 mile drive. Stunning scenery. We drove the drive and stopped for lunch at the Carmel Lodge. Enjoying French Onion Soup & a hamburger - technically a cheeseburger - along with a Tap Room Ale. The service was fantastic and we wondered if we were dining among rich & famous whom we didn't recognize.

Soon after we got back to Carmel and wandered around town. Dinner was French - French Cuisine, French Service and a French style tip to match. We passed out early, about 10:30, after I drunken-dialed my mother to check on the dog. She graciously reports that I was a cheerful call and I just seemed happy.

Sunday we headed North after another exceptional breakfast. We were so lucky - there were several parties waiting, however they were all 3+ people. We got the first open table - a 2 top. This place had so many benedicts the waitress had to come back 3 times before we had made our selection. Thirty minutes later we both rolled out of there filled to the gills with eggs & sauce.

On the road, it cleared up as we drove. One little side trip to Bonny Doon. I liked some of the wines, we both disliked the chipper girl behind the counter who was pouring. She seemed to think we were jerks for not cooing over the first red we sampled. Sorry, dear, we're just not into thin reds.

Up to Mom's and a happy reuniting with Tsunami. They had a good time, but I should have brought Tsunami's sweatshirt, as she was shivering every time mom took her out. Mom is happy to Tsunami-sit anytime. Luck us!

That's it. Tomorrow I'm off with Mom. We're going back down the coast to Ventura. Friday and Saturday we'll be taking the boat over to Santa Cruz Island for day hikes. Should be good, providing my head cold doesn't turn into pneumonia when confronted with the cold sea air & my hypochondria.

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