Day 35: Salinas to Santa Cruz, CA

There was a lot of driving but not a lot of picture-taking today. From Salinas, I went down to shoot some things further south to Paso Robles and then decided to take the coastal route back up. I knew it would take more time — but it would be cooler and prettier. I took that route up to S.F. from L.A. many times a couple decades ago when I lived here in CA. It was even prettier, twistier, and more time-consuming than I remembered.

The dogs, of course, got many beach romps out of the route. Nik would start Irish dancing every couple hours and making me nuts. The smell and sight of the ocean were driving him (and consequently) Grem mad. I remember stopping at least in San Simeon and Monterey — finding little pockets of beach there where no one was around. I had heard that Carmel’s beaches were all off-leash. So I toughed out the traffic and snootiness of the place to have a look-see. Sure enough, many dogs there were off-leash but they all seemed to be the laid-back types. Not like my monsters running, jumping, yapping, crashing in the surf. We were a spectacle I guess to the mucky-mucks and tourists on the beach I suppose.

Grem bullied some a couple Lab puppies a bit (twice her size), Nik retrieved his ballie in BIG waves, Fix got loving from the crowds who always find her adorable and ask “what breed is she?”, and Grip stuck close by me for ballie/cheese sequencing (from about 3pm on all she thinks about is her next meal). One of their favorite parts of the Carmel experience was a gigantic dead sea lion — at least that’s what I think it was. It must’ve been 7 feet long and dead for awhile (pee-uuu). The dogs sniffed and I think licked at it (ick!) — I prayed they didn’t roll on/against it. I couldn’t figure out how people could just set up their towels and umbrellas about 20 feet away like it wasn’t there. I went way down the beach from it but had to keep going back to get one of the dogs who couldn’t resist the fragrance.

There aren’t many photos for this posting of Flickr tonight since most of the day was spent either behind the wheel or in the sand. But the next few days should make up for it as I have a huge list & stack of maps for the S.F. area.

Perhaps I’ve been on the road too long — or been admiring too many neon signs on this trip. But at this point, any bit of neon catches my eye. This arrow sign is from the roof of the Wagon Wheel Motel in Salinas:

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I’ve seen a couple old (1960s/70s?) Mobil station signs like this with separate letters but I don’t recall seeing any Shell stations:

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Lots and lots of beautful coastline, Big Sur type trees, fog, bridges, etc. but no photos of them. I saw tons of people at vistas shooting with their digital cameras — even passengers with their video cameras stuck out windows as they were driving the California Coast. I always find that sort of thing too boring to look at in itty bitty photos. You had to be there.

In Castroville, I decided to get a local “delicacy” (probably just tourists like myself that eat them): deep-fried artichoke hearts. This was just a half order but was enough for a $6 dinner. There were about a dozen of them — not bad! Not too greasy and the batter was pretty thin and not overwhelming.

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2 thoughts on “Day 35: Salinas to Santa Cruz, CA

  1. 2. Thanks — good to know.

    1. That’s so weird — and annoying! I don’t even know who to write to about this to make them stop. I wonder how common this is.

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