Saturday, August 13, 2011

17 mile drive

I knew about CA1 highway that runs along the Pacific coast and I finally got a chance to drive a part of it - Monterey and 17 Mile Drive.  From Sunnyvale it was an easy drive, take 101-South and keep driving south until you see the Monterey peninsula ramp continue driving along the coast.  Anyway I'm not giving precise directions to get there, Google maps and GPS serve that purpose better. 

We started early on a Saturday morning, by 7:30 we were almost out of Sunnyvale city limits, the weather was pleasantly cool and misty.  I reckoned it to be a bad day for photography and it indeed was except for the evening we spent in Monterey downtown.  The first break we took was at the entrance of Monterey city for a desperate coffee in one of the gas stations.  We also ambled around the beach just on the other side of the road, the water was freezing cold.  Except for few dogs that were getting trained to fetch the ball in sea not a soul entered the water.  The shoreline had naturally decorated by beautifully eroded stones.  The garden overlooking the beach was crowded by bikers and joggers.

We then continued to Ocean avenue, a picturesque drive along the ocean where we found lazy seals on the beach.  It was protected area and it was hard to shoot from behind the fence, the light was bad for shooting as such.  We stopped at a couple of place on Ocean avenue before we turned to Monterey downtown, it was a lovely little town with colourful buildings that brought back to me memoirs of Mexican towns I have visited.  We then looked for 17 mile drive directions and with few minutes were at the toll gate.

17 mile drive is a private property with an entry fee of $9.50 per car (free for bikes).  The drive passes along the great Pacific ocean with numerous stopover points.  It starts off with Spanish bay, a calm and elegant beach with soft sand.  We wet out feet in the icy cold waters of the beach, guzzled a chilled clamato beer and continued.  We stopped at almost every point of interest marked like Lone Cypress tree, Point Joe, Bird Island etc.   At Bird Island point we broke for lunch on one of the picnic benches along the sea side and devoured Puliogare, chips and carrot salad that I had prepared and packed to save money.    

We exit 17 mile journey after Pebble beach and drove all the way till Caramel by the sea.  We stopped on one of the roadside beaches and guzzled another beer and returned from there to Monterey city downtown.  We walked around Canary Row, Fisherman's wharf, Montery bay aquarium sipping coffee and clicking pictures.  It was a super pleasant sunny evening to endlessly amble around.  The view of the sea from the pier is just splendid with various fauna and vivid hues of the water.  We were done with the city in like an hour's time and we started our return journey with a useless stopover at Gilroy.

One important tip:  Start late to 17 mile drive since most mornings will be misty and hazy, early evenings seem to be the best time for photographing.

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