Thursday, May 29, 2008

Big Sur and Monterey

After 6 months of yoga teacher training for Cortney, 4 months of technical certification courses for Dan, and a brief break in teething for the little guy, we finally found a hole in our schedule large enough to accommodate a grand Monterey adventure! With not much more than a few internet searches and a map at our disposal (after all, we were completely out of room in the Jetta. edit: Dan says to remind people we had FAR more stuff crammed into the Jetta on our cross-country adventure. Duly noted, Daniel!), we headed out Saturday morning, bound for Monterey. Memorial day weekend. At the Pacific Ocean. Wildfires blazing just north in Santa Cruz County. No reservations. No room for food. One large dog. One baby. Two parents. A carseat, a tent, a hula hoop, and some gear. And miles and miles of dramatic ocean vistas, breaking surf, perilous precipices, and hazy skies from legendary CA Highway 1?

What could a trip like this possibly hold in store???

Saturday, May 24, 2008

With Mason firmly at the helm, we knew our journey would be like no other. Actually, our first clue this could be an interesting outing was when we discovered Mason has 4 incisors and 4 molars coming in simultaneously. Poor baby!

Add ibuprofen to the packing list, and plan to spend plenty of time making sure pumpkinseed has attention in spades, ample breaks, and more love and patience than he's able to handle. Here's a pic to illustrate how daunting the prospect of having his every whim catered to really was for our Buggie:

The voyage from NorCal towards the Big Sur coastline took longer than expected, mostly due to traffic between San Jose and Watsonville, a small coastal town serving temporary double-duty as the staging area for the region's wildfire efforts. Watsonville's airstrip butts right up against the highway, so many motorists had slowed to gawk at workhorse tanker helicopters taking off, landing, and refilling, and all the other sundry emergency vehicles coming and going.

We didn't get pics of any of that drama, but here's a nice hang-gliding man we found at Marina Dunes instead.

Mason explores at the beach.

Spin spin, mamma!

Because it was Memorial Day weekend and we'd bet on being able to find at least one camping site somewhere along the coast, we cut our time at the beach Saturday and set off down legendary Pacific Coast Highway for a place to rest our weary heads.

110 miles later, and this is all we came up with.....

There was a place well off the beaten trail, a primitive campsite at about 3000 feet of altitude in the Santa Lucia Range. Seeing as we'd packed for beachfront camping though, where did our industrious Glauser clan stay instead??

Motel 6
Reasonably priced, comfortable, pet-friendly, nationwide!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008:

Well-rested and no worse for the wear, Sunday broke with the roar of jet engines overhead? Somehow none of us noticed our accommodations' unfortunate location directly beneath airport approach, but hey, engine patter or no, the Glausers still whole-heartedly endorse Motel 6!

Our first agenda items for this new day?
Breakfast - Beach - Boardwalk

Mason had a blast discovering an entire world just like his sandbox. He toddled and dug and crawled, made friends, sampled, and reveled in this amazingly familiar yet alien landscape. It wasn't the first time he'd been to the beach (North Coast whale-watching @ 3.5 mos old, Labor Day Weekend 2007), but it was the first time he'd been big enough to explore it on his own terms.

After a brief stop-off at the beach, it was on to
the very "touristy" Fisherman's Wharf to find a bite to eat. Cortney'd been jonesing for a sumptuous creation from the Old Fisherman's Grotto Restaurant for breakfast, but their late opening combined with Mason's impatience and Dan's tourist willies determined it just wasn't meant to be. So a yummy breakfast of fish, chips, and calamari scarfed away, it was time to make our way back to the beach for some extended low-tide playtime in the sand and surf.

It's not a trip until somebody makes the baby cry.

Can you spot the hungry Glausers in this photo?

We took a great little harbor cruise before heading back out to Big Sur. This wasn't the actual boat; ours was a small family-friendly glass-bottomed wildlife-watching tour, chock full of colorful sea life, sea lions, seals, sea otters, surf birds.... all of which Mason slept right through!

Oh, buoy!
One of Dan's lovely marina minxes strikes a pose.

It was a wonderful day at the shore, but by midafternoon we were ready for something a little more arcadian. Time to pile back into the reliable old Jetta, and with just a little over 50 miles behind us, we'd smooth-talked our way into a rugged seaside campground where ancient redwood rainforests bowed gracefully down sloping mountainsides, snuggling their roots into the sand of a secluded beach.

It couldn't have been more picturesque-- or perfect for us.

Dan giving it a whirl where the sand and forest collide.

The view from Lucia Lodge's deck, atop towering Big Sur cliffs, where we dined Sunday night. Our dishes were average, but how could an evening someplace this breathtaking be anything less than memorable?

Monday, Memorial Day 2008

As luck would have it, a decent little postcard-perfect whitewater creek fed by a 100' falls, cut through our campground, tumbling all the way from perilous limestone cliffs through the brush and wilderness before freeing itself with a final rocky pitch into the sea. Our campsite was perched right on its banks, where the constant rush of busy water lulled us to sleep Sunday night, waking us sometime near dawn the next morning with its familiar urgent whisper.

Dan and Mason ham it up in front of the falls.

Mason discovering more of the world on-trail.

We capped off our trip with hikes alongside the rushing water through verdant redwood forests, to destinations striking and unforgettable. Mason loved every minute of it, soaking in the textures, colors, and sights, and intermittently exerting his independence by crawling down and tactilely feeling his way through the experience. He's absolutely fascinated by rivers and beaches and sealife.... neither of us have any idea where he could've gotten that?

Our weekend wrapped with smiles all around, a scenic drive back up the Pacific Coast Highway, and a delicious, panoramic brunch at Cafe Kevah at Nepenthe, Big Sur. We're already looking forward to our next family odyssey-- wherever that voyage may take us!

It's an unspeakably amazing honor to be a part of our son's journey as more and more of this big, fascinating world reveals itself before his eyes. . . . .


tim said...

I can see you've been busy. I think I know what "hungry Glausers" sound like Will talk to you again soon. Cheers.

Ray said...

I like it -- now, maybe I can keep up with the Glausers! You guys managed some great photos (of course any photo of "the little guy" constitutes "great,") and, as usual, "Mamma Hula Hooper" exhibited her excellent writing skills. We'll look forward to future updates.

notteeangel said...

Very cute site luv. Miss you already. So you ready for a river trip Thurs? I plan to go, so gimme a call if you wanna join us. I'll probably call you tomorrow to make sure you get the message. You should totally answer that phone once in a while yo. muah!