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To Monterey and Return

I want to go back.

There is so much of significance in the area, that I am now–merely a few days from being there–wanting to return to Monterey, Ca., for I tell you frankly; I did not get my fill of the place. In particular I want to leisurely walk about and visit:

Cannery Row

The bountiful museums in the city

Fisherman’s Wharf (again)

Thomas Kinkade National Archive

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The history of Monterey boasts numerous artists and writers who have resided there, the most notable being John Steinbeck who fairly immortalized the town with his novels Cannery Row, Tortilla Flat and East of Eden.

Monterey had long been famous for the abundant fishery in Monterey Bay. That changed in the 1950s, when the local fishery business collapsed due to overfishing. A few of the old fishermen’s cabins from the early twentieth century have been preserved as they stood along Cannery Row. The famous Cannery Row has now been turned into a tourist attraction, with restaurants and shops in the historical site. It is also the location of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Many of Thomas Kinkade’s original works can be viewed at the archives in the delightful town.

Taken from city promo

Last week, our tour of the Pacific, the bay, and the peninsula area both began and ended in Monterey. On Saturday we traveled from Oakley with Don and Abby O’Keefe, had settled into our motel room, and then met with Jim and Bobbie Shoemake for a great meal at Fisherman’s Wharf.

We poked around a bit then after the Shoemake’s left us, we scrambled into the O’Keefe’s car and raced away to a spot where we thought to observe the sunset on the Pacific. We were too late, for the sun had dipped below the horizon.

We were not too late, though, to take in the twilight scene, including the bed and breakfast facility Seven Gables where once the O’Keefe’s church had sent them for a mini-vacation. Through each of its numerous wide uncurtained windows could be seen a glowing lamp.

On Sunday we took the magnificent 17-Mile Drive, then returned to Monterey for an early dinner before we would head back to the O’Keefe’s home in Antioch. We were scheduled to fly back to Ontario on Monday morning.

El Torito is a chain of modestly-priced restaurants which feature Mexican food: I have eaten in many of them throughout the years, but I don’t recall any sporting such a view as did this one. The booth to which we were led looked directly into the Pacific ocean, where as we ate our delicious meal, we viewed birds, sea lions, scuba divers, sail boats, canoes and other sailing vessels. It was a spectacular ending; a too-short visit to the Monterey Peninsula.

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A Day on the 17-Mile Drive

The gate through which we entered the 17-Mile Drive was the nearest one to Monterey, and is called the Pacific Grove Gate. The twisty roadway winds through the spectacular Del Monte Forest and poses such scene as to draw out a litany of superlatives. Bounded by the wave-scrubbed Pacific, around each curve is a magnificent scene as land and sea meet in premiere exchange.

They say it is the most photographed tree in the world, and it is considered so precious that it is now guarded by a fence. No longer may casual visitors approach the Cypress tree which for centuries has stood in defiance of storm and raging sea. Understandable, but a bit of disappointment, for Don and Abby on their honeymoon had carved in their initials on the ancient Cypress, and it would have been fun to try to find those marks.

It is golf, though, that commands the area now.

The crown jewel of the golf world, Pebble Beach first shimmered with the completion of the Pebble Beach championship golf course in 1918. The Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Cypress Point Golf Club soon followed. More recently, Pebble Beach Resorts developed The Links at The Inn at Spanish Bay.

We prowled around the grounds, did a bit of window-shopping, then because we were thirsty, and had seen a deli down the way, we walked down to the market, where we drank cokes and ate snacks.

Others were hungry, as well. At one of our stops, from Abby’s well-stocked snack bag came chips for the squirrels. Soaring and swooping birds were prevalent, and numerous sea lions lay about.

At a hard lean toward the land, Cypress trees abound, their shapes testimony to fierce prevailing winds. Immense mansions line the highway, their windows and doors strategically perched for splendid view of the sea and its bounty.

It’s an ancient, somewhat mysterious land. The brochure handed to us at the gate gives a brief history.

Before the automobile had become a way of life, 17-Mile Drive was navigated by horse-drawn carriages from the famous Hotel Del Monte, now the site of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. It was 1881 and excursions through the Del Monte Forest and along its spectacular coastline usually ended up at a picnic spot at Pebble Beach. A couple of landmark dates in the rich history of Pebble Beach are:

1602–Spanish explorers discover and map Monterey Peninsula.

1880–Hotel Del Monte opens and buys the Del Monte Forest Land.

We finished up the drive, roamed around the streets of Carmel for awhile, then headed back to Monterey. We were hungry and would have dinner there.

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Flowers at Pebble Beach

Located along the 17-Mile Drive between Monterey and Carmel is beautiful Pebble Beach and The Pebble Beach Lodge which was built in 1919. In the lobby last week, I gazed at this majestic floral arrangement.

Pebble Beach Floral Arrangement by you.
I set down my camera bag, took out my long lens and spent some time here.
Of Reds and Purple by you.
These flowers of a dark burgandy hue must be a variety of lily.
Burgandy Trumpet Lillies by you.

….and a final shot.

Closeup of Trumpet Lily by you.
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World’s Worst Photographer

In our recent travels to the Bay Area of California, six of us ate delicious meals in a restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. I asked the very friendly waitress to snap a picture of us. She did: took three to be sure they were good shots.

Bless her heart: (That’s why they say in the south when they want to criticize somebody, but stay sweet at the same time. 🙂  )

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O’Keefe’s Fiftieth

Jerry and I flew into the Oakland airport on Wednesday, spent a couple of days with our friends the Robisons and now are in Oakley, Ca., where Friday night we were part of the beautiful celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary of our very dear friends, Don and Abby O’Keefe. Jerry and I went to Bible school in Tulsa, Oklahoma with Abigail before any of us were ever married.

The church they pastor hosted this splendid event, which was exquisite, and tastefully done. Brownstone Gardens, a spread of more than three acres that is owned by one of the families in the church Rev. O’Keefe pastors, was the site of the festivities.

More than 150 persons joined to honor this exceptional couple who have given their lives to the ministry of Jesus Christ. They founded the United Pentecostal Church in Antioch, now pastor a church in Pittsburg, California, and for more than 25 years were missionaries to the continent of Africa. Rev. O’Keefe is currently the Foreign Missions director of the Western District of the UPCI.

In a light manner, Jerry presented the renewal of their vows, while two of their sons stood with them.

Fish swam in the centerpieces. (Problem loading pictures. Will post them later.)

Jerry and I are the designated chaperones for our friends who are celebrating their anniversary; Saturday we drove with them to Monterey, where last night for dinner Jimmy and Bobbie Shoemake joined us.

We’re staying at a very modest Howard Johnson motel, with a very immodest price. Out front their sign says free wireless internet. When, last night, I tried to get on and couldn’t, I called the front desk.

“Could you please tell me how to get on the internet.”

“Uh, are you bringing up Comfort Inn?”


“Well, their password is…… Just type that in. It’s good for both user name and password.”

“Excuse me. You don’t have internet service here?”

“Well, yes, we do, but it’s cable. You must use the cable.”

“…but your sign out front….”

“Oh, does it say that?”

Anyway, I’m using the internet from Comfort Inn well up the street, and I’ve been hours trying to load pictures, so I’m giving up. Check back later. 😦