Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 16, 2014 - Monterey CA

Incredible Monterey!  Wow, what an awesome week, and it seems I say this with every new location.  We stay in these port towns for 5-10 days and get to experience so much but still we miss some of the items on our to do lists.  Monterey is a place you should not miss.  With bicycles aboard, we were able to go near and far.  Of course there are bike rentals here that for sure could give the cruisers without a bike a way to go a bit further than walking. Monterey is a town that is excellent with bikes.

We were able to explore much of the town, and waterfront along their excellent bike path that must run at least 20 miles.  We found a grocery store just one block off the trail, and also found a
trader Joe's several blocks away from the marina.  Between those two stores we were able to restock the boat at the tail end of  a couple of bike rides.

We did and saw quite a bit of things here, so we won't cover each one.  The highlights include seeing a friend of Steve's from college and her family.  We had dinner with Heidi and her husband Ken and son Kevin.  Heidi works at the Monterey Bay aquarium and she was able to get us in there for free.  Thanks Heidi!  The aquarium is fantastic.  We also rode out to to the Monarch Butterfly sanctuary where thousands of these butterflies return each year.  We rode our bikes along the coast bike trail well past Lover's Point, and the views were spectacular.  The kids and Steve played on the stairs (on their bikes) in a very nice commons area almost every time we passed it.  Cindy and Kevin are gaining a lot of confidence on their mountain bikes and are now willing to ride down stairs, and even managed to conquer riding up a 3-step challenge.  Good job kids!  We also meandered through the old fisherman's wharf and out the Coast Guard Pier to observe hundreds of sea lions on the breakwater.  We spent some time walking around Cannery Row, the setting for John Steinbeck's famous book "Cannery Row".  We also visitied Dennis the Menace playground, named after the creator of Dennis the Menace who lived in Monterey and donated the park to the town.  We can't forget about some beach time on a lovely sand beach adjacent to our marina where the kids boogie boarded for hours.

The marina was very nice, but like San Francisco the sea lions were quite noisy, and smelly!  There was some wave action in the marina and we were on a mostly commercial dock so at first light the tour boats/fishing boats would get ready for work so we could hear them fire up their big diesels and motor past us before we were ready to get up.

We have put a lot of miles on our bikes so far and they have proven to be a great asset so far.  As a family we like biking and the freedom the bikes give us from tour buses, the public transit system, taxis, and the slow pace of walking.  But we are seriously contemplating how much use they will get once in Mexico, where roads are not as nice and bike paths are likely non-existent.  The kids will enjoy rough paths and trails, but the bikes will be almost useless on a sand beach.  We have heard from a few cruisers that their bikes got almost no use, yet others have told us their bikes were in use a lot.  So, maybe it depends on if you were a biker before you went cruising, or not?  If that is the case, our bikes will continue to see use, as we got out biking quite a bit back home before we became full-time cruisers.  Cindy and Kevin have been enjoying the "urban jungles" they have been conquering; riding over curbs, riding off the cement paths into the dirt, skidding and sliding almost constantly, riding up and down stairs and even off some substantial ledges.  They certainly want to keep the bikes onboard.  They consume precious space on deck, and make getting to our kayaks all but impossible.  Perhaps if we change their storage location once we are done with coastal cruising (and the need to have everything extremely lashed down) we can figure out a better solution.

I (Steve) did some required maintenance changing engine oil and filters while in Monterey.  It's a messy and time taking job, which I really don't like.  The engine oil needs to be warm to get most of it removed, and to make sure the junk is suspended in the oil, not sitting on the bottom of the oil pan ready to mix in with the fresh oil.  So, the engines have to be warm, which means working for hours in a 100 degree engine room.  It's just not very pleasant.  Now it's done and we shouldn't need to do it again until La Paz, Mexico.  I also changed the engine-mounted fuel filters.

Whales off the port bow

A stop at Lover's Point

Sea wall waves and fun

Dennis the Menace Playground - just one of the many things in it!

Beautiful coastline. Point Pinos shoreline
Fixing a flat tire.  Homeschooling isn't just books!
Ken, Heidi, Steve, Kevin, Kevin and Cindy on our way out to dinner.  Yes, two Kevin's is correct.
Steve, Cindy, and Kevin at the Kelp Forest tank

The Living Ocean tank at the Aquarium

Cindy and Kevin at one of the Jellyfish tanks
Cindy and Kevin at the Living Ocean tank

Sea Otter Mom and baby in the marina

Sea Otter Mom holding her baby, again in the marina

Monarch Butterfly on a Bottlebrush plant

Hummingbirds also.......

Monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains migrate to Pacific Grove CA for the winter.  It has a perfect climate.

Another Anchor picture at the favorite bike riding place for step practice

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