Each year my Sister-In-Law Nicki and I celebrate our birthdays which are on the 11th and 12th of January in Monterey. You might think that Monterey is cold in January, but it actually offers beautiful days with warm sunshine. The four of us have our traditional path starting out on the wharf, then getting soups and sandwiches to enjoy at one of the Pacific Grove beach turnouts on Ocean View Boulevard just south of Cannery Row. Then we would head to a small shopping district on Lighthouse Avenue where Nicki and Sandi visit a yarn shop, while Rich, my brother, and I enjoy a coffee and Diet Coke at a small coffee house. In recent years we have skipped the lunch on the beach, and have been enjoying lunch at Rosine’s on Alvarado Street Monterey; NOTE lunch is followed by a piece of cake from Rosine’s that takes days to complete (here is a pic from five years ago of Nicki and I enjoying a slice at one of our favorite turnouts on Ocean View Boulevard).
Guy Fieri visited Rosine’s years ago, I’m sure to try the cakes. All the food here is GREAT as is the service!!!
In years past we stayed at the Thousand Trails in Morgan Hill, which is about 45 minutes from Monterey. This year we stayed at the KOA Moss Landing RV Park. This is a small, very clean and well kept park at the small Moss Landing Marina. Moss Landing is a great place to stay as it is only minutes from Monterey and Pacific Grove.
Since this year was my 65th Birthday, I asked my entire Family (we are small) to join Nicki and I for our Birthdays!!! Some of us enjoyed the wharf before lunch, and we all enjoyed the beach turnouts on Ocean View Boulevard; followed by some of us taking in Cannery Row. We all agreed that we need to include the Monterey Bay Aquarium in our next visit….can’t wait!!!
We’ve been coming to Monterey my entire life, as have our kids….now in their 30’s. In the early years we spent countless hours at Dennis the Menace Park located within El Estero Park in downtown Monterey. Dennis the Menace Park is fantastic with jungle gyms, slides, Southern Pacific steam train and more!!! In those days, and still today, we also enjoyed the tide pools at the beach turnouts along Ocean View Boulevard
After our visit to Monterey we headed approximately hundred miles south to Paso Robles. We stayed in the Paso Robles RV Ranch, a smaller very clean park. This is our second time at this park, which is not only clean the staff is extremely friendly.
The Paso Robles, Morro Bay, Cambria and neighboring towns have so much to offer from nature, to art, unique restaurants, wineries, breweries and a lot more. We had visited the area the week before Thanksgiving as Sandi was attending a fabric art retreat at the Ocean Pines Retreat located along the shore of Cambria. During our visit in November, we visited the Elephant Seals on the beaches a long the coast just north of San Simeon. Yes, San Simeon is also home to Hearst Castle State Park…..another trip.
Elephant Seals were fun to watch in November, ok they were pretty neat but boring. They come on to the beach in November not returning to the water until about March; they live off of their bubbler for all hydration and nutrients. Adult Elephant Seals range in weight between 1,200 pounds for the average female up to 5,000 for a mature male. The males actually don’t attempt mating until they are about eight years old and have developed their elephant trunks (hence the name) and a leathery chest to ward off someone that wants to make a move on one of their females.
Gestation takes eleven months, and the birthing occurs in mid January…..so do the math the beach is FULL of activity mid January through February. The males were fighting for their females, the females were fighting each other for beach space for them and their pups. The pups are born at between 60-80 pounds, but wait in just ONE month of nursing their average weight is 300 pounds!!!
The main lookout just three miles south of San Simeon offers parking, information, docents on weekends, and a board walk for better safe viewing. Don’t think you’re going to get on the beach, as it is against the law!!! As you can see we saw many pups, in fact one was birthed down the beach and we got to see it just minutes old.
Beer anyone??? We visited the Firestone Walker Brewery in Paso Robles, which is the home of many popular tables such as “805”. The air is full of the smell of hops, which I’m sure some don’t like and some enjoy….for me it was ok. We didn’t take in the tour today saving it for our next visit to Paso Robles area.
This is a modern brewery fully taking advantage of technology…..so that computer nerd you made fun of might just be assisting the brewing process. Here is a look into the brewery and computer control room from the Visitor Center. Down the street from the main brewery is the “Brewery Emporium” filled with wearables, bar and clothing accessories, and of course a beer cooler full of all the Firestone Walker names including their popular “805”.
We enjoyed a great lunch at the brewery’s restaurant “Taproom” to end our Firestone Walker experience. By the way, the lunch, dinner and dessert menus are full of fun and fantastic tasting entree’s, appetizers and desserts.
If your looking for a unique place to stay, have a meal or get a piece of cake, then San Louis Obispo has the place for you…….The Madonna Inn!!! The Madonna Inn is just a few years younger than me, it opened in 1958. My parents always talked about the Inn, as they had visited several times on their little journeys.
The outside is as ornate as the inside….which in some ways is over the top!!! There are small gardens tucked in all around the buildings, inside and out. You better like pink, as it is through out the property.
We enjoyed a slice of their famous cakes……Sandi REALLY enjoyed the Pink Champagne.
Needless to say I REALLY enjoyed my 65th Birthday Mini Road Trip!!! I can’t wait until my “Route 66th Birthday Road Trip” in 2021!!!