After driving through smelly cow farms, attempting to learn new road trip games, learning that Hollister, CA is now a motorcycle town, and an unsuccessful stop at Target in an attempt to finally get shower towels, we made it safe and sound from snowy Yosemite to Carmel by the Sea! We arrived at the Carmel by the River RV Park pretty late and were exhausted from the drive so we fell right asleep, ready for the next days adventures. Our first stop the next morning was to Point Lobos State Reserve. This place was filled with nature trails and gorgeous views and it is definitely worth going to if you’re in the area. We first hiked the Cyprus grove trail which Sarah informed me is one of only two natural Cyprus forests left in Monterey. If you do visit here I definitely recommend stopping by the ranger station at the trail head and trading your car keys for a pair of binoculars! We did this and were able to get a much better glimpse of the countless seals, sea lions, otters, and occasional whales in the distance. Before heading out of the park we wandered around a bit more and did the short bird island trail which was also full of beautiful views and wildlife. While we were exploring Point Lobos I couldn’t help but stop and reflect on the fact that we were playing in the snowy mountains of Yosemite yesterday and standing on sandy trailheads looking out over the Pacific Ocean today.After exploring Point Lobos to our hearts content our next order of business was to hunt down shower towels asap. None of us had showered since San Francisco 4 days ago and being able to freshen up was at the top of our agenda. Who knew it would be so difficult to find towels!? We even joked about opening our own chain of stores that only sells towels since they were proving to be so difficult to track down. We stopped at a Safeway (which brought back memories for me since the last time I was ever in one was when I used to live in South Dakota) to pick up some groceries and then stopped at a CVS in hopes of finding beach towels or something we could dry off with. Long story short, the only towels we could find were a package of 6 microfiber hand towels that we decided to just make work because we were tired of striking out on the search. The showers at the Carmel By the River RV Park were actually really nice, the only inconvenience being you had to keep pushing a button to make the water come out constantly. We made the tiny towels work and soon we were ready for the next adventure!Once we were all refreshed and ready we drove the van to downtown Monterey to spend the night exploring Cannery Row. We all loved this area from the second we arrived, it was full of festive decorations for the holidays as well as little bars, restaurants, and shops. We started off at the Bargetto Winery tasting room where Sarah did a full tasting and I had a glass of Chaucer’s Raspberry Mead which was one of the best wines I’ve ever had (second to Napa of course). Once we were done enjoying our wines we rushed outside to try and get a glimpse of the sun setting over the ocean. We ended up just missing the sun set but still soaked in the views of the city meeting the sea in the dusk.From here the night turned into a bit of a bar crawl which we thoroughly enjoyed. We first stopped at a bar called Cooper’s Pub for some fries and beers. I chose one called the Big Sur Blonde Ale which I thought was fitting since we were going to be in Big Sur the next day. Next we checked out the Monterey brewing company since it looked awesome from the outside but it was definitely a hot spot and just a little too crowded for us. Instead we ended up at a bar called Sly McFlys still in time for happy hour. Here I tried Firestone Walker’s 805 beer which ended up being a favorite of mine on the trip and is named after the area code of San Luis Obispo which was where we were going to be in a few days. I was loving trying all of the local California things I could and wish that this beer in particular was available back home in Florida.Before heading back to the van we stopped at a Giradelli store for some chocolates and also hit up the Cannery Row general store for some souvenirs. Sarah found a huge bin of T-Shirts for 2 for $10 so we spent a ton of time digging around in them before deciding on our favorites and saying bye to our adventures on Cannery Row. We made it back to our RV park safe and sound, enjoyed another dinner of Cup ‘O Noodles, and knocked out for the night!I loved everything about this day, it was the perfect mix of nature at Point Lobos and city life in downtown Monterey. Here are each of our overall favorite parts:
Myles: doing the hikes in Point Lobos and seeing all of the seals and sea lions.
Sarah: the cypress grove hike and winery we stopped at downtown.
Hana: bar hopping in downtown Monterey and trying different local beers and wines for the first time.