I expect this will be one of many posts describing our vacation in Monterey and San Francisco.

A little back story before the first gallery of pictures …

… Terri was away for business in Fort Worth, Texas. She knew this a few weeks in advance and suggested we take this opportunity to have a “real” vacation since it had been 15 years since our last one. So, our plans were set in motion. I would meet her in Fort Worth on Thursday Night and then we would fly to San Francisco Friday morning; pick up a rental car and head south to Monterey. This is when the fun begins.

Terri drove out of the airport and we found our way heading south to Monterey. We knew our check-in time was after 3:00 PM, and it was just past 10:00 AM so we thought some site-seeing along the way just made sense … and with the sign pointing to Half Moon Bay we were off to Highway 1 and an adventure. We found Half Moon Bay State Park and stopped there to see the Pacific Ocean first-hand. A first for Terri and 40 years since I last was near enough to see it in person for myself. We found some interesting sites and even some interesting sounds with a weather-beaten stand-up piano on the side of the road over-looking the beach and the ocean (rumor has it belongs to Neil Young whom supposedly lives nearby where we found the piano).

At this same time, the US government in their infinite wisdom (really, you seriously decided to put all of those people out of work because of some sort of pissing content?!) closed and therefore all of the National parks were closed, too (with serious fines for those found “trespassing”). This made us go looking for other parks where we could see the majesty of the Redwoods which led us to Big Basin Redwood State Park.

Now, let me tell you a story about why you should not turn on the “Avoid Freeways” option with a GPS. We call our GPS, Maggie (short for either Magpie or the actual brand Magellan) … and Maggie did a phenomenal job of leading us on a beautiful scenic route to the park. She said, turn left onto El Honda Road, we turned left. She said “Warning”, to tell us we were going over the speed limit. She reminded us to stay on the road … well, the mountains were making it a bit difficult to keep the satellite lock but Maggie was diligent in making sure she told us to stay on the right road. We stopped at a local deli/market for lunch then got back on the road. Maggie told us to carry on to Old El Honda Road and follow it … and the adventure got real.

Old El Honda Road winds and turns and follows the mountain up … and up … and down … and up … and up some more. All that would be fine, except it also essentially turns into one of those one-lane, nothing on one side and a mountain on the other which can be quite terrifying for someone afraid of heights, like Terri. She did amazing given the challenges of the drive but soon enough we switched places as the emptiness over her left shoulder was just too much. I drove the rest of the way to the top of the mountain, only about five more minutes of hell but we ended on a more proper road that we followed to some similar but not so severe roads that eventually took us to the park … just when we thought we had enough we turned a corner and there was the park ranger station.

These pictures were mostly from the passenger seat of the car as I tried to capture the essence of the drive …