Monterey, California – Big Trip 2019

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Wednesday 31 July – we left fairly early and headed to Monterey, California. On the way we stopped at the Hearst Castle, we were there about six hours. They have free parking and then you go inside the Visitor Center.  You have a few options of what tickets to purchase.  They have four tours and each tour costs $25 a person. We bought two tours , one for the upstairs of the mansion and one for the downstairs.  You aren’t allowed to drive up the mountain to the castle, you take a bus.   The road going up to the castle is very windy and steep and you go up really high. This place is incredible and cost app 10 million to build.  It was built between 1919 and 1947. We did the downstairs tour and there were about 40 people in our group.

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View from the Visitor Centre, you have to take a bus up to the Castle

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When we went on the upstairs tour, there were only seven of us. This place is magnificent.

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One of the many, many bedrooms

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We decided to do the cottage tour which was another $25 each. But hey you’re only here once. We only got to do two of the three cottages plus the kitchen and the winery.

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One of the guest cottages

The pool, the view, everything is incredible and there is an outdoor and indoor pool.

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Beautiful Indoor Pool
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View of the Outdoor Pool

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Back in the day, he even had a zoo. And there are still approximately 120 zebras running around loose and some kind of African deer. Sadly we did not see any of them. The tours each took about an hour.

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Then you hop on the bus and head back down to the Visitor Centre.   When we got there, we went in and watched a movie.  We wanted to get something to eat but the restaurant closed at 4, which we thought was odd.

After we left there we kept driving to Monterey and we took Coastal highway 1.  And was Hwy 1 ever exciting, more like nerve wracking………….. very high and steep, hairpin turns and very narrow. This was a white knuckle drive. Clint’s relatives told us it would be no problem towing the trailer but they lied.

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This part wasn’t too bad except for the hairpin turns

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A view from the truck window

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We got to Monterey and we wanted to stay at the fair grounds but they were already closed for the night. We ended up driving way up a huge steep hill, in Monterey,  to Veterans Park which was $30 a night. There was only one site left, with no power. It’s fine if we don’t have power, we are used to that.   It’s a small campground and not a great site.  We had to maneuver around some tree stumps, this is mostly a tent campground.  But it’ll do for one night.  Thankfully we have a small trailer.


We set up then drove downtown and parked and walked around trying to find a place to eat.  We ate at a restaurant and I can’t remember the name but it was very expensive and not very good.  The photo below was possibly the place or why else did I take the photo? lol

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It’s very cold here it’s about 15 Celsius.  I thought we were in California?

Thursday 1 August.  In the morning we parked and walked around Cannery Row. If you click on the link, the history is interesting.  It is an area right by the water and it’s very cool.   John Steinbeck wrote a novel called Cannery Row, set in this location.  He wrote a lot of great novels.  If you read and haven’t read his books, check him out.

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Down by the water in Monterey
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Down on the beach by the waterfront

We went back in the truck and drove to a café downtown and had a breakfast bagel and coffee.  Cute little place and very busy.

Then we went home to pack up the trailer and leave for  Monterey Fairgrounds where it was $55 for one night. She gave us a site on the top level but Clint didn’t like the slope so we moved down to the lower parking lot. It was just a huge big parking lot all fenced in but was very private.  We liked it, no one else was down there.


We set up and left to do the scenic 17 mile Drive they call it.    You have to pay to do this drive,  $11.20.  Most of the drive was along the water.

At one point, we saw a small herd of deer which we parked and photographed.  We also saw some seals, birds etc.  We made a LOT of stops to get photographs and see the sights.




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We made lots of stops along this highway
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Whatcha lookin’ at?
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I need to be heard
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Am I a boy or a girl squirrel?




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Golf Course
Another view of the golf course

We wanted to stop at the Carmel Mission in the area but it was closed for the day.  We looked around as much as we could anyways but we could not go inside.

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After that we drove to Dust Bowl Brewery and sat at the bar and shared a taster tray. They had a wonderful outdoor area with comfortable chairs and games and a food truck, it was really nice. So we got a glass of beer and went outside to sit. We ended up playing corn hole with a couple from South Carolina. Got our asses kicked.  It was a fun afternoon though.


We left there and back down to Cannery Row Brewing Company. You walk into the bar which is nice, but you go out to the back and they have a really terrific outdoor area with a nice big fire pit. We sat at the fire pit and there were three young guys sitting at another table and when they heard where we were from, they asked if they could join us. Heath, Robert and Mikey and all three are glazers and temporarily in Monterey to work a job.  We all drank too much (except Clint as he has to drive :-((  )    but we had a lot of fun.   It was fun sitting there talking to the guys.  There was a big group behind us at another fire pit celebrating a birthday.  We talked to them off and on too.  Then a family from the Netherlands came and they sat with us but they couldn’t get food as the kitchen was closed so they ended up leaving. That’s too bad, they were nice and we had a nice group going.   I think if I worked there I would have gotten them something to eat. We got home very late that night.

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The people all came later!

SIDENOTE:  As I was writing this Blog Post, I read that this brewery shut down November 2019.  They have no plans to reopen at this time.  

Tomorrow we are off to San Francisco !

4 thoughts on “Monterey, California – Big Trip 2019”

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