Fathers Day on the 17-Mile Drive – Day 76

Fathers Day on the 17-Mile Drive

Day 76 – June 15, 2003 – Sunday

We spent a wonderful Father’s Day with son Ryan in Carmel, Monterey, and Santa Cruz, California. We had great conversations with PaPa in Dallas, Texas and Great Grandpa in Orlando, Florida. We also spoke with daughter Brittanita (aka The Beetmeister or Brittany) and son-in-law Ace (aka Robert).

We started the day at the Marin Headlands. The Marin Headlands side of the Golden Gate Bridge is a great place to take photos and watch freighters and sailboats cruise under the bridge as you enjoy a view that stretches from Golden Gate Park and Twin Peaks to the Bay Bridge and beyond.

Boz, Ryan, and I drove from San Francisco to Carmel to take the 17-Mile Drive and have lunch. We planned to return via Monterey and Santa Cruz. We had planned to see these sights on the way to San Francisco, but nightfall caught us. We lived in San Francisco for a year back in the early 80’s, and Ryan has lived here for several years, but it had been 20 years or so since any of us had taken the scenic 17-Mile Drive.

We grabbed a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and hit the road. They weren’t hot, but they were excellent. As donut experts, we can tell you that the quality of a KK will vary from location to location. These were as good as we’d had, and I’d probably been to as many as 30 KK locations around the country.

17-Mile Drive is a scenic drive through the Del Monte Forest, along the rugged coastline of the Monterey Peninsula in Carmel, and by the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links. It is one of the most famous drives in the country.

17-Mile Drive was originally navigated by horse-drawn carriages back in the 1880’s. Folks would drive through the Del Monte Forest and along the spectacular coastline usually ending up at a picnic spot at Pebble Beach. Samuel F.B. Morse was the property manager of the Del Monte Forest who is credited with taking the steps necessary to maintain the unique beauty of the coast and forest. He must have been a golfer. In 1916, he contracted with Jack Neville and Douglas Grant to design Pebble Beach Golf Links. Construction began in 1917, and the course opened to the public in 1919. The first national tournament was held in 1929. Over the last 30 years, four U.S. Opens have been held at Pebble Beach. Jack Nicklaus is quoted as saying that if he had just one round left to play in his life, he would want it to be at Pebble Beach. It’s a stunning golf course. Barbara Gray Windsor said that if she was a golf course, she would want to be Pebble Beach.

The drive is a loop, and there are 21 stops; we managed to stop for photos at almost all of them. There are five golf courses along the way — Pebble Beach Golf Links, Poppy Hills Golf Course, Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and Peter Hay Par 3 Golf Course. The drive goes through the Del Monte Forest and includes native pine and cypress trees as well as huckleberry bushes. The Lone Cypress is perhaps the most recognized landmark along the 17-Mile Drive. The tree has survived on its rocky perch for over 250 years. The coastline is rugged and very beautiful.

It wasn’t the most beautiful of days. Hazy blue sky. We enjoyed the drive, but to be honest, it wasn’t nearly as impressive to us as it was 20 years ago. We weren’t sure if our perspective has changed (having seen a lot of beautiful places in the last 20 years), if the weather was just much better when we were there before, or if construction over the last 20 years has changed the look and feel of the area. There were some gorgeous homes along the drive, but there were also some places that didn’t fit. It’s a beautiful place. I’m sure we were just on sensory overload at this point after having seen so much beautiful scenery all across the country.

We walked around Carmel — a quaint community filled with art galleries and beautiful shops. See www.carmelfun.com. Clint Eastwood was mayor here, and he owns the Hogs Breath Inn, among other things. We took the kids to Hogs Breath 20 years ago, so we stopped in for a late lunch / early dinner at 4 pm. The Dirty Harry Burger is one of the best hamburgers you will ever eat anywhere. We put a penny on top of a beam in the patio when we were there in 1983, but it was no longer there.

As with most of our days, the day was just about over, and we still had Monterey and Santa Cruz to visit.

We just drove through Monterey. We saw Cannery Row and the Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf. The water was a pretty blue in Monterey Bay. We saw the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

In Santa Cruz, we stopped and saw the Santa Cruz Boardwalk — a Coney island-type amusement park. We walked up and down the Boardwalk. I tried a newfangled ice cream called Dippin Dots. Tiny little dots of ice cream. It was REALLY expensive, and there just wasn’t much there. I’ll stick with regular old ice cream and frozen yogurt.

We missed some sights we wanted to see between Carmel and San Francisco, but it was far more important to enjoy a more leisurely Father’s Day with The Dude.

The thought for the day: Sometimes things aren’t as special the second time around.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this website. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest, and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today:
San Francisco California — Marin Headlands — Carmel California — 17-Mile Drive — Hogs Breath Inn — Monterey California — Santa Cruz Boardwalk