the way home

The Way Home

the way home
Prologue
“Hang on to your knickers!” As I take the entrance to the interstate rather quickly. I hear Jack yelping in the back as he flies in the air and lands on our luggage with a thud. While Duke, sitting in the passenger seat, white knuckled and hanging on for dear life as the car hugs the turn of the on ramp to the freeway. I merge rather quickly, as sweat drips down my forehead. Looking at the rear view mirror, I see a big rig barreling down behind me. The driver looks mad and he is gesturing something obscene. He blares his horn and I swear all three us scream at the top of our lungs.
the way home
The Last Day
Waking up to the sound of Jack’s tail hitting the side of my bed as he furiously wags his tail, alerting both Duke and I that it’s time to feed him. It must be 6:30 in the morning. Duke, bless his heart, gets up without hesitation to feed Jack. Knowing full well that Jack will need to go outside after he finishes his meal, puts on his coat and his beanie. I grab my phone on the night stand and the brightness of the phone blinds me momentarily. It doesn’t take long to adjust my eyes to check the weather. “Damn it’s cold” I utter under my breath. Duke opens the door to wait for Jack to finish. A cold breeze enters our tiny hotel room mixing with the hot air coming from the wall air conditioner. Jack finally finishes and runs straight for the door. “Thank God!” Now I can get some more sleep. I smile to myself and a yawn escapes my mouth. I stretch my arms overhead and think of the dream I was having.
the drive home
Not a moment too soon, the door bursts open essentially ending my day dream. Jack is looking happy and is bouncing around. I pat the bed motioning for him to jump in bed with me and immediately regretting doing so. His paws are wet I notice. “OK Jack, get off!”
We pack our bags in silence. Duke and I look over the same nook and cranny twice, making sure that we have everything. I take one final glance behind me before closing the door and stepping out into a misty Monday morning.
Next door, a young lady in uniform steps out in front of me with her cart of cleaning supplies and a pile of clean white towels on top. She’s in her mid-twenties, right about my age, give or take (I jest). We exchange quick pleasantries. The look on her face is telling. It’s the look I normally have when I’m at work. The look that says I’d rather be somewhere else. I don’t blame her. I feel a slight guilt knowing I’m off to another adventure while she stays here cleaning up after strangers. I smile at her once more and at the same time stubbing my toe. I let out a loud expletive. Whatever guilt I’m feeling is gone. “Have a great day!” she tells me with a snicker.
We load the car with our stuff. We are proficient at this point. It is almost mechanical how our day starts. We get in the car, strap on our seat belts and we drive. Today’s plan is to drive through the scenic 17 Mile Drive. The entrance to this drive is between Carmel and Monterey. At this point, we need to get something to eat so we decide to drive to Carmel first.
the drive home
On the corner of Dolores and Sixth Avenue is a restaurant called Village Corner Bistro. A teenage boy in an over sized black button up shirt (probably his dad’s) leads us to the covered patio. We find a table next to the round fireplace in the middle. The patio is decorated with several art pieces on the wall. The brick planter boxes along the sidewalk have Vines wrapping around the four columns supporting the roof structure. Pink and white flowers in the planters are in full bloom. We seat ourselves and to our dismay there’s no fire.
17 Mile Drive
Our server greets us and asks if he could give Jack a treat. Duke and I both nod in agreement. He hands a couple of menus to us and asks if he could get us something to drink. We both order coffee and iced water. Looking over the menu, I see different kinds of omelets, pancakes, the usual sides of bacon and sausage. Today, I’ll have the steak and eggs over medium. Duke is getting the breakfast special which includes pancakes, sausage, bacon and eggs over easy.
the way home
While we wait for our food, we admire the beauty of the patio and the people that walk by. One of the workers asks if he could ignite the fireplace next to us. Thinking it would just be a soft flame, we all let out a dramatic gasp as the flame shoots up and comes alive. “Don’t worry, you still have your eyebrows,” I reassure Duke. I get a chuckle out of him. Aside from the close call of third degree burns, the warmth of the fire feels comforting.
the way home
The table next to us must be locals. We can’t help but eavesdrop on the latest gossip in town. Apparently, there have been some recent car break-ins along Ocean Avenue, the locals attribute it to rising drug use. Duke and I look at each other and make a face. Another table close to us is happily chatting about a vineyard and chateau, you know, rich people talk. Finally, our food arrives. Everything looks scrumptious and we both dig in. I cut a piece of my steak, revealing a nice pink center. “Perfect, just the way I like it” as I take a bite. I take a sip of my coffee, the rich aroma emanating from this cup is intoxicating. The coffee is both dark and strong without a hint of sourness. Just the way I like it. I take another sip, trying to decide if I should add cream and sugar. I’ll take it black today.
We settle our bill and walk to the car. I tell Duke that I’ll drive on the way back. He tosses me the keys and remembering my short lived days of playing short stop, I almost fumble the catch. Rolling my eyes and taking a deep breath, we get in the car.
Taking one final look of the streets, the stores, the art galleries as we drive past them on Ocean Avenue, I can’t help but feel nostalgic. We had a great time here.
17 Mile Drive
Once on the highway, I follow the signs to 17 Mile Drive. I take the exit and it takes us to a fork in the road. I don’t see any more signs. I panic and I take a right turn. I look in my rear view mirror and see the cars behind me are taking a left turn. Damn it. I tell Duke that we should see a kiosk or something because we have to pay to get in. After driving a hundred yards or so, we decide to make a U-turn or bust a bitch as I like to refer to it. We see the sign again and feel relieved at once. The entrance to the 17 Mile Drive is divided in two, one for the residents and one for visitors.
The Entrance
There’s a $10.50 fee to get in. They also give you a map. The attendant tells us to hang right and follow the sign. You’ll notice that there are red lines on the road. We finally figure out that it’s sort of like the “red line tour”. Follow the red lines and that should take you all the way around and back to where you started. Think of it as following the yellow brick road.
The first four miles of the drive is not that exciting. Both sides of the road are lined with old trees. You’ll see multimillion dollar homes here and there. We are just trying to get to the coast line at this point. The first notable stop is Spanish Bay. Stop and take photos. The sand is white and powdery. You step on the soft sand and you feel your feet sink a little. This beach is dog friendly. I’m not sure if you can keep them off leash but just be mindful of your surroundings. There’s ample parking here. You’ll see joggers, surfers and picnic tables for all to enjoy.
You can spend hours here on this scenic drive. It all depends on how much time you have and how much traffic you encounter. Being early doesn’t hurt either. Be patient and enjoy the drive. There are scenic markers along the route. If it looks good to you, stop and discover. If not, move on along, there’s plenty to see. Now if you get hungry during this drive or need to use the restroom, stop by the Pebble Beach visitor center. They have a small market with a deli, a huge wine selection and a gift shop. Buy a souvenir shirt or a hat. Although they don’t come cheap.
We are near the end of the drive. I think it’s time to get home and say see you later to Carmel and Monterey.
The Drive Home
We decide to use Waze to find our way home. We had success in the past using the app but today is different. The app is taking us to these weird turns bypassing the highway and going through residential areas and then back tracking to get back on the highway. We laugh at the irony of exploring the road less traveled.
We finally decide to ignore Waze altogether and use the built in GPS in the car. “OK this is more straightforward,” Duke tells me. “We just need to get to the interstate and it’s a straight shot from there.”
Easy enough, we finally see the sign to the interstate. Realizing that I need to get over one lane. It’s now or never or I’ll miss the entrance. I step on the gas hoping to pass a line of cars to my right. I cut off a white Volkswagen Jetta in the process and zoom right in the entrance. I realize I’m still going fast at this point, faster than the recommended speed on this curve ramp. “Hang on to your knickers!” I yell.
Blood pumping all the way to my ears as the big rig passes us by. We finally calm down after a few minutes. “Let’s find the nearest rest stop and use the bathroom,” I tell Duke. “Or somewhere where they sell pants!” He replies.
Santa Nella, Andersen’s Pea Soup Restaurant
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I try not to say pit stop when describing a small town. So I won’t. I would say there’s a huge truck stop area here. Like they’re having a trucker convention or something. We make our way to Andersen’s Pea Soup. Andersen’s Pea Soup is a restaurant off Interstate 5. It’s worth checking out, if you have your kids with you they’ll have fun here. They have a huge windmill in the front adding to the Dutch vibe inside. They sell pea soup kits to go if you don’t have time to eat here. They have a bakery and also a gift shop. They’re rated 4 Stars according to Google.
We still have an hour and half left to go. Hopefully, we’ll have enough time to check out Chalk-it-Up Art Festival in Sacramento. It is their 27th year of putting it together and they serve as a fundraiser to support local youth art grants.
Here are the links to Day 1 and Day 2 of this 3 day weekend. I hope you enjoyed your time with us. Until then. Off to another adventure!
Here are the links to Day 1 and Day 2 of this 3 day weekend. I hope you enjoyed your time with us. Until then. Off to another adventure!
#carmel #monterey #travel #labordayweekend #3dayweekend

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