Adventures in California: Introduction

burger

April 13th was a big night for sports. Just ask Anna, she’ll tell you. It was also the night before our last full day in California. The following night would mark a week, as well as the end of the trip.

I had been before. Twice actually, both times when I was in high school myself. Now, I’m married and all grown up and chaperoning a senior class trip. My wife and I, along with 4 of the other 7 chaperones, have a van full of kids to keep track of. You might think this was no easy task, but surprisingly, you’d be wrong.

By April 13th, we were neither worn out, nor entirely ready to fly back across the country and resume normalcy. Instead, we were watching Kobe Bryant play his last game against the Washington Generals (deftly played by the Utah Jazz) and rack up 60 points in the process (which you can easily do if you take 50 shots in a game). On an iPad, thanks to Watch ESPN, we were also watching the Golden State Warriors beat the Chicago Bulls’ single season win total.

Like I said, big night for sports.

We’re in Monterrey, in a Hampton Inn just off Pacific Coast 1. We’re within walking distance of Monterrey State Beach, a Starbucks, and more importantly, an In-n-Out Burger. I would take advantage of this shortly after the games ended. I am, how you say, a fan of burgers. They put an In-n-Out in Dallas right before we moved. It was my last lunch in Texas. It was my first lunch on this trip to California. And it was glorious.

It seemed like we were always eating. Lunches happened later in the day. Dinners had fixed reservations. Continental breakfasts were at almost every stop. And yet, no weight was gained, though far too many sodas were consumed. It was probably due to walking 5-9 miles every day. Love will find a way.

Earlier that day I had logged just under 9 miles. This was conveniently split up between a walk to Starbucks, up and down Cannery Row, inside the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, and then all over Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Don’t be deceived by the name, there are no actual “Lobos.” Rather, there are seals (lobos marinos in Spanish) and in our case, a very active couple of otters in a cove. For the better part of an hour, and realistically their entire life, they were busy doing otter stuff. You know, diving for a clam or something similar, and then using a rock to crush it on your belly before eating it. Enjoy. Repeat.

There weren’t as many seals as we had seen earlier in the trip. Our first encounter was on Pier 39 in San Fransisco. Then at Moonstone Beach. Then again just up the road at San Simeon. And now here. Although, it was baby seal season, or something like that and so you couldn’t get too close (according to Federal Law at least).

This had not stopped me back at Moonstone Beach when I noticed a mom and baby seal out on a rock and realized I could get within 20 feet. I successfully made my way out there and took several pictures and videos before promptly falling in the water on my trek back.

I imagine the Pacific Ocean is pretty cold when it’s only about 65 degrees outside. I don’t know for sure though because I didn’t feel much of anything during the 15 seconds I was in the water before clamoring out to begin resuscitating my phone. All the bottom ports had been sucked dry before I made it back to the beach to retrieve my flip flops where I was told I was bleeding profusely from the knee by some observant high school girls. I said “oh,” followed quickly by a “can you dry my phone off?”

The upside was that we didn’t really have cell service at that point of the trip anyway (AT&T users at least). The downside was that the sunset that evening was amazing and my phone was stuck in a bag of rice. It is the one gap in my fastidious chronicling of the trip from start to finish. Guess I’ll have to go back next year.

Author: Nate

I'm an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let's connect!

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