Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The 17 Mile Drive - Be jealous, be very jealous!

It all started with an email. "So do you want to walk the 17 mile drive?"

When Jill asked, I didn't hesitate saying "Of course!"

And then, life and work started throwing road blocks in the way, like a grand test to see how much I really wanted to go. The truth is, I REALLY wanted to go. I needed to go. And I was determined to go, and off I went. On Tuesday after signing up a new listing and getting all my work ducks lined up, I packed my car and headed down to Carmel, where Jill had reserved a room for us at the Cypress Inn.

The Cypress Inn is an old time Carmel institution owned by Doris Day. As you may know if you are old enough, Doris Day is quite the animal lover. In this Inn dogs are welcome. (I didn't see any cats, but they may be welcome too). There were dogs of varying sizes from a huge Canary dog to a tiny yorkie. One thing was true of them all, they were very well behaved. Dreams of having my doggies come to the Carmel Inn, were dashed, as I noticed each and every dog sitting quietly at their owner's feet in the bar.

Jill's folks have a home in the area, so she has spent a lot more time in Carmel than I have. She suggested Le Bicyclette for dinner. This tiny little restaurant was just around the corner from the Inn. Maybe 20 tables in all in the restaurant. I have to say that wine list was quite surprising...check out some of those prices!

We got a nice little bottle of Bandol and enjoyed our dinner of pork cheeks.

and Heirloom tomatoes, grown at the local middle school garden.

When the sun woke us, and the day was laid in front of us, I was ready to take a walk. Jill had some preparation to do. So, I decided to walk around the block.

Carmel in the morning, with the streets nearly empty, is a pleasure to explore. Window shopping is definitely less expensive than shopping during store hours!

But I certainly would have liked to take home a blue dog.

The Tuck Box, is a fine little tea room, that my Mother used to take me to. I took my daughter Allison there when she was in Middle School. I seem to recall asking Katie to come to Carmel with me for a Mother daughter day, but she wasn't much interested at the time. (I think she was 13). I still remember eating my first scone there, my first crumpet and enjoying mile high lemon merinque pie! I guess that is pretty typical for me, I always remember the food. But I also remember my Mom. She loved Carmel. And as I headed back to the hotel, I thought about her and how she would be smiling thinking of me walking with Jill on the 17 mile Drive.

When I came back to the room, Jill was almost ready to go. It was down to deciding what to pack. She had brought a lot of food choices, p and j sandwiches, crackers, dried fruit of several types, fresh peaches and more. I suggested she pack it all.... but she did leave out a couple of things.

My pack was a little more.... compact!

We asked the concierge if he had any advice for walking the 17 mile drive. He said, "Oh you don't want to do that!" I gave him a look and explained we were walking in a 60 mile walk in less than a month. He told us it wasn't about the distance, but the danger. In his french accent he said "You see, the road is quite narrow and it is dangerous for you to walk there. I know of a lovely 2 hour walk you should walk." I gave him another look and he then went on... "Or... you could walk the 17 mile." I made him happy when I asked for a taxi's number in case we find it too difficult. With a smile he handed me a card with the phone number... and Jill and I defiantly strolled out to our cars. I believe I heard her murmur..."imbecile."

We parked down by the beach and began our walk at the Carmel Gate of the 17 mile drive, with no intention at all of taking any silly cab. Boldly we walked where cars have gone before, through the gate and onto the famous 17 mile drive. In short order we were at Pebble Beach and in front of the old Del Monte Lodge. Now, since the course's sale years ago, the Del Monte Lodge is simply "The Lodge." It is the last public course we would see in awhile. Of course, Realtor that I am, I loved looking at the estates, cottages and homes that grace the edges of the road. Your mind wanders and imagines what it would be like to live the life behind iron gates, rose trellises with the ocean breeze waking you to the sound of the waves at the beach below.

How about this one... or

This one?

Or this one....

You know I don't think I can decide.

Back on the road. Note the lack of a pedestrian lane.... Jill kept warning me that the drunks would soon be out.

Maybe we could hid from them here...

Or here......

The water started taking on deep blue hues as the sun began clearing the fog from the sky.

Monterey has pines unlike any others. They are hundreds of years old, and have been sculpted by the hands of time. Granite boulders peak their heads out of the sandy soil. Then in the midst of this dramatic landscape man has made his mark, in the form of golf courses, gated estates and googly eyed tourists.

In an effort to keep the tourists safe, there are signs at regular intervals warning of imminent danger.

Art ... artist ... one in the same.

More warnings.

It's too bad this camera can't capture how perfectly this stone house moulds to the granite that surrounds it. It is just about perfect and looks as if it grew there. Unlike some other ill conveived homes that look like they would be better suited for the Sonora Desert.

The pure drama of the scenery can leave you breathless.

Well, there you go.... a walker.

What a place to take a walk!

The lone cypress is 250 years old. It is the iconic symbol of this 17 mile drive.

How many tourists have taken a photo here? The sun has come out!

The water is clear and beautiful.

The beaches pristine.

There are MANY golf courses on the drive. All I believe are private with two exceptions.

Jill on the road. I am thinking right about now, why are all these clubs private. I would really really like to find a public rest room!

I think Jill is breaking some sort of Cypress Point law.... PRIVATE means PRIVATE. Jill they could throw you into jail. Unless we join the club, and frankly I don't have a several hundred thousand lying around. Cypress Point is one of the most exclusive, if not expensive clubs in the world. Jill knows stories about a certain Football coach who was refused the use of the club, even as a guest, because he wore shorts... Don Shula.
Jill's Dad played here with Bill Banker (of Coldwell Banker). I thought that might give us entry rights (especially since I was looking for a ladies room). Especially considering I used to work for CB. But..... Jill assured me, they would call the paddy wagon if I tried to use their facilities. Jill's Dad says a busy day on the course is 3 -4 foursomes.

Don't feed the mammals!

Look carefully, on the rock is some sort of squirrel.

There it is!

Seal are perched on the right side of the rock, while pelicans hold court on the left. You can hear the seals barking out before they take a dive into the blue waters.

This home with the turkey buzzards in the tree, make this mansion look a little like the Munster's house.

These world class golf courses are a budding Tiger Wood's dream.

By this time in the walk, I am feeling like I own this road!

Except for maybe the bikes, and the cars and the buses and the trucks and ... and.... and....
Actually, I was happy that we were there on a Wednesday. The weekend might have been a little nerve racking. And THAT would have been a shame. This is a place where you should let the glory surround you, transport a peaceful escape. It is almost impossible to imagine a more beautiful place on earth.

The deer on the course think so too.

See what I mean?

Too perfect to be anything man made.

We asked a German tourist to take our photo.


More beauty.

Ok if man is going to add something, at least its green....

This stretch of the road has been known for a LONG time dating back to turn of the century tourist days. This point is named after a Chinese man named Joe, who had a shack here. He sold souvenirs in the 1890s.

Finally a golf course that would welcome us!

And look at the view from the deck. We chose to eat outside on the deck where we could enjoy the view and the breeze.

We asked our cute waitress to take a picture of us eating lunch. After walking so many miles, this is one of the few times you feel like you can order and not think of calories!
Check out those pants.....

This section of the 17 mile drive is not along the coast. It winds through the Del Monte Forest and by ranch style homes. As we made the turn toward the Carmel gate, we walked alongside a creek were there were native fuschias growing along the edge.
At the end of the road, we walked 17 miles +.
We took one wrong turn and as luck would have it got to talk to some pretty fine looking firefighters, who were quite impressed that we mid century modern women had walked the whole 17 mile drive. As we headed down the last 1/2 mile Jill looked to me to be a lot like a thouroughbred heading home to the stall. She was flying down the hill. I started feeling my calves cramp up and said to myself... "Nope... I am not screwing this up in the last 10 minutes!" and slowed my pace to that of a human being.
Added to our total, of course there is the walk to and from the cars, and down to the beach in Carmel. I am guessing .... we are just about THE most buff chicks on the planet, not to mention the luckiest. I am so glad I took the challenge of #1 taking the time to take the best walk on the planet aand #2 Not letting other competing things trip me up and finally #3 just completing this. Now we both can say we have done it...we walked the 17 mile drive... And isn't that just amazing?!
NOW jealous people.... donate and let's end cancer.