Monterey to Big Sur

We had happened on this area on the “Memorial” day weekend – the equivalent of our Anzac Day – so everywhere was busy .So our next lot of accommodation was in Prunedale , only about 8 miles away from Moss Landing but – the middle of nowhere somewhere near Salinas ( where there are protests currently due to some recent police shootings –  – some of  you will have heard of the recent shooting rampage – by a mentally deranged guy –  in Santa Barbara also). So we drove south to Monterey and got lucky with some free parking next to a section of lake. We walked towards the aquarium . This took us first past the Monterey harbour which in beautiful treed and garden surrounds.  On the beach next to this there was an outrigger kayak racing event . There were also loads of rental kayaks out and stand up paddle boards. We walked out on the commercial jetty which is a very active place , there were a few people fishing(not catching ) from the jetty. In the harbour there were a lot of sea lions some making their raucous noise. Our route continued on the well constructed shared biking/walking track busy with tourists and walkers and runners to Fisherman’s Wharf .On the way we went past some ocean rowing vessels which will be used in a race to Hawaii.  The wharf is full of eating places – and all have their own version of clam chowder besides whatever there specialty is . We decided to continue on to the aquarium. This took us through the hub of the waterfront and past a host more eating places  and beautiful stately buildings. On sighting the aquarium   we realised this was a very busy day with the queue extending outside and round the corner.
We walked back the other way but only got as far as one of the pubs and went in for lunch . We both ordered fish on salad , Lily – Ahi Tuna , and me Sandabs( a local bottom feeder a bit like a flounder) . Both meals were superb , and the local beer was good too – except I had 2 16oz glasses – looks like we were gonna need to walk for a while before getting behind the wheel !
We walked again out past the aquarium intending to head for Point Cabrila , but got only as far as the tin cannery outlet stores .  Lil was trying things on left right and centre ,in a Van Heussen store with a 70% off sale , but I wasn’t really thinking straight so I said  wouldn’t bother getting anything . Anyway in the end Lil bought one shirt and I bought 2  shirts,a tie  , a pair of trousers , 2 belts and 6 pairs of socks and shoes in  different store! ( You all know I need a new wardrobe , right? ). $210 US for 13 items – good deal . We walked back to the car to drive to Prunedale which would be back the way we came , north out of Monterey.
The RV place seemed OK , and was clean enough and well maintained – but the water tap leaked ( so after informing the manager I used our stored water – California is in drought so we don’t want leaky taps)  – there was no cable connection for the TV(as promised) and the wifi was slow and kept disconnecting    ( I was impressed that a plumber actually came and fixed the taps the following day )
Now the next day , there really didn’t seem to be much to do in Prunedale , but we didn’t want to drive into Monterey either and fight the crowds. We asked the RV staff about walking tracks in the area and she said they were far to far away to walk to  but we found walking tracks 1km away.We were trying to get to the shops and could see Safeway about 250m away as the crow flies but even out in this neck of the woods you would have to cross busy freeways to walk there ! Anyway about one kilometre down the road there was another group of shops and a back entry to Manzanita Park. We walked up the very steep entry track which then met a wider track which circumnavigated  the park . For a while we thought we were back in Australia as in places we were walking between eucalyptus and there were large strands of them on a couple of the ridges. When we reached the main entrance of the park there were playing fields, where there was a little league softball and baseball tournaments in progress . We took a few detours on some other tracks and eventually came out of the park and went to the shops for supplies . We saw poison Oak several times but luckily didn’t touch any as it can cause a rash for weeks. Later I went for a run on some of the tracks we’d walked on and went for quick dip in the pool and dinner was fresh tuna from the Monterey Deli  cooked on our gas stove in the  RV with salad.
The next day we left Prunedale and drove back into Monterey , found a spot big enough to park the RV though this time we had to pay.  Arriving at the aquarium, around 930 am  – there was no queue . The aquarium is well done with many displays of local marine flora and fauna in gigantic aquariums. We just caught the end of the feeding of the tuna and mahi mahi , and I just can’t understand how most of the 13000 sardines get away . After a coffee and snack we got on our way back down highway 1 . The highway heads along some spectacular coastline  where the mountains meet the sea and the road is carved trough the mountains or on sides of cliffs but unfortunately the roads were full of traffic it being the Monday of the long weekend . We continued over the famous Bixby bridge and  then the highway turns slightly  inland to the Big Sur . We called into  the first campground and to our surprise they had a spot . The area is famous for its tall coastal redwoods – I believe the tallest trees in the world ( the tallest of them being north of San Francisco ) . After a bit of a walk , I went for a dip in the currently rather shallow waters of the Big Sur river – but it delightfully refreshing . So I’m sitting here on a very pleasant evening under the redwoods typing this – as the micro-climate here is just that tad warmer than where we have been the last week  .

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