Saturday, June 20, 2009

I had a really wonderful time with Ginny (Dwyer) who came to visit us in PG on her whirlwind California visit (SF, LA, PG, Oakland…). She stayed in downtown Carmel and drove to PG to pick me up (Sarah was out running) and we walked around Carmel and had coffee at Carmel Valley Roasting Company. We came back to PG and picked Sarah up, and, spontaneously (Ginny and I share a love of doing things spontaneously) drove to Big Sur. I managed to find the difficult-to-find turnoff to Julia Pfeiffer Beach, and we drove down the little, winding, 2-mile road to the parking lot. The road passes Beach Boy Al Jardine’s home. The lot opens from a patch of woods to the beach, which is littered with things like cliffs plunging to the beach, huge offshore rocks with holes that the surf blasts through. Big surf, sun, a few people, a stranded baby sea lion. We spread out a quilt and shared some food and drink and generally lounged on the beach. I took a walk up to the rocky hole, a little treacherous, and another walk further up the beach, taking a few photos (and leaving a few footprints). My jeans were rolled up but wet anyway. It was exhilarating. After, we dined at Nepenthe, overlooking the spectacular coast, at a wooden counter outdoors. We drove back along the coast, stopping every so often to gawk. I saw a lizard. Ginny tried to seduce some Mexican boys into dancing with her. We drove north into the spectacular sunset. The next day, Ginny picked us up and we drove along the PG coast, stopping at the rocky beach to watch the pelicans, the rolling waves, the tide pools. The three of us went to check out the Monterey abalone farm, which I had heard about. The proprietor, Art, was welcoming, showed us some shells, and the took us inside, where there was a slimy ladder down under the wharf. “Hold this, step here, hold onto this.” Ginny was close behind me. Sarah, in heels, stayed up top. It’s a fascinating dark, slimy world under the wharf, with Mexican men in slickers stuffing giant kelp into wire cages filled with baby abalones, Mexican music, slippery deck, darkness, glowing green water, a huge sea lion lounging on a beam nearby. Very cool. Ginny proclaimed it one of her best vacation experiences. We learned that they keep between 150 and 250 thousand abalones in their cages, which get lowered into the water below, and that the shell color depends on whether they are eating red or green algae. They live up to 50 years. Etc. We then visited the Aquarium for about half hour. Ginny wanted to see (or say she saw) the seahorses. She drove us home. More to come... 



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