Monterey Bay, Big Sur, and a Short Film Summing Up My Road Trip

Hello friends,

In the Twin Cities, Fall is almost of its way out and winter is just around the corner. The sugar and silver maples are still holding onto their leaves, gifting Twin Citizens with their bright hues of yellow and red-orange. But, most other trees have lost their leaves and are preparing for this upcoming winter. As always, I have kept myself busy. I went to Jay Cooke State Park with a friend a couple weeks ago and just this last weekend I went camping at Great River Bluffs State park with a gaggle of friends. I’ll write blog posts about both trips in the next coming weeks. I’ve also been volunteering for BareBones Productions, which is a Halloween/Day of the Dead inspired puppet show. It’s one of my most favorite things to go to in the Twin Cities. Their first show is this Saturday October 24 starting at 7pm. There’s also shows starting at 7pm on October 25, 29th, 30th, and the 31st.

Well, for now, let me finish up my Road Trip Series and end it with a fun short film summarizing the whole thing.

Cannery Row

Cannery Row

In my last post, I wrote about the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and camping in Sequoia National Forest. After that, my brother and I drove west toward Monterey, CA. Why Monterey? Well, when we first started out trip, Monterey Bay wasn’t on our radar. It wasn’t until we bumped into our father in Jackson, WY that we even considered it as a destination. He told us about Monterey and told us to try and fit it into our trip, since it is one of his favorite towns. The reasoning behind liking Monterey is because one of his favorite authors is John Steinbeck and Steinbeck spent a lot of time there. I have read a few of my dad’s favorite books, such as The Crow Road by Iain Banks and The Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas. One of his all time favorites is Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. He let me borrow his beat-up copy a few years back and I remember enjoying it immensely, I especially liked my dad’s notes which were found on every page. Cannery Row is set during the Great Depression and follows characters (who are probably real people Steinbeck met while living in Monterey back in the canning days) working and living on Cannery Row, a street lined with sardine canneries. It’s a really good read, I’d recommend checking it out.

Thanks to my father, we ended up spending three nights in Monterey, which ended up being the perfect place to unwind after two weeks of driving and camping across the southwest. On the first night, my brother and I explored Fishermen’s Wharf and ate clam chowder for dinner; yum.

Mackerel at the Monterey Aquarium
Watching the mackerel circle around an exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

On Saturday, we relaxed in the morning and then walked along the famous Cannery Row. Though it has been rebuilt mostly for tourism, the road still has a nice charm. The road borders the bay and you can still see the old buildings that once housed canneries. If you squint your eyes, you can almost imagine what the road was like back in its heyday (let’s not forget that you also have to imagine the pungent smell of sardines). At the end of the road, is the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Jamie and I had tried to be frugal while on our trip, so we decided to indulge by spending a day at the aquarium. I’m so glad we did because we saw some amazing exhibits.

Watching the squidMy brother watching the squid

My favorite was the squid and octopus room, though the bird exhibit was fun as well (the birds were all pre-identified, so I added a bunch onto my bird app! Nerdy, I know.) We spent most of the day walking from exhibit to exhibit and we enjoyed every second of it. In the evening, I met up with an old friend named Hanna Muegge. We met in middle school (right?) and became closer through taking the same A.P. classes and hanging out during Track and Field tournaments in high school. Even since I’ve known her, she’s always been an athlete. She was on varsity basketball, she even played for the German national basketball team, she got a few track and field high school records (which I believe haven’t been beat yet?), and now she is trying out Pro-Cycling. She’s a very talented and determined lady and I look forward to seeing where she goes next. Here’s her website and profile.

Big Sur Big Sur National Seashore

Jamie and I decided to spend our last full day of our road trip hiking at Big Sur National Seashore. We drove south for about an hour and found our way to Pfieffer Big Sur State Park. Jamie had never been on Highway 1, so I made sure to drive on the way down so he could completely enjoy the ride. We were fortunate to have great weather. We made it to the park and spent a few hours walking beneath towering coastal redwoods and hiking high up into the coastal mountain range. I totally understand why people love living in California. There’s only so few places where you can get perfect, sunny weather, while also being able to climb into some low elevation mountains and end the day at the beach. That’s what my brother and I did that day. Though I still love my good ole Minnesota, it’s hard to beat mountain to ocean hikes.

Me posing at the end of the trailMe posing at the end of the trail at Pfieffer Big Sur State Park. We got some great views of the Pacific Coast.

After hiking at Pfieffer, we considered driving back to Monterey, but I decided to continue driving south for another short while, just to take advantage of the beautiful scenery. I mean, who knows when my brother or I will be back here, you know? Well, I’m glad we drove south because we found ourselves at a very tourist-heavy section on the road. There were tons of cars parked and people were all walking towards the same direction. Jamie and I looked at each other and thought that whatever is around here must be pretty cool, so we found a parking spot and joined the crowd.

McWay FallsDoesn’t this look like a postcard? Well, it pretty much is. This is McWay Falls, one of the most photographed waterfalls in California

Jamie and I found Big Sur’s famous McWay Falls. I’m glad we followed the crowds because this section of Big Sur had stellar views. One viewpoint had the waterfall and a spotless beach and the other viewpoint had jaw-dropping views of the cliff-lined coast. Just, wow. What a way to end our final day on the road. The next day, Jamie and I packed up our bags, said goodbye to Cannery Row, and drove back to San Francisco. We took Highway 1 for most of the way, soaking up our last views of California’s gorgeous coastline.

Thanks for reading and now for the best part: a fun short film documenting my brother and I’s road trip! It’s called Road Trip 2015: National Parks, Hiking Trails, and Sista-Bro Bonding. Enjoy!

Much Love,
-Molly

One Comment on “Monterey Bay, Big Sur, and a Short Film Summing Up My Road Trip

  1. Pingback: Jay Cooke State Park: Rugged River Trails and a Swinging Bridge | Molly's Journey to the West

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