Monday, February 9, 2009

Feeling It in Big Sur

Since I'm fairly obsessed with Clint Eastwood (see Gran Torino) and can't see any reason why everyone else wouldn't be, I thought I'd share this tidbit: Clint used to be the mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. This was in the '80s when Dirty Harry was pretty much the paradigm for cops across the country. As a result, nobody's stealing purses today in Carmel. 

Plus which it's pretty scenic with a goodly amount of diversions, like golf and whale-watching, so we left the wind and the rain in San Francisco on Friday night to find unexpectedly beautiful weather in Carmel on Saturday. 

We stayed at the Cypress Inn which is nice, particularly if you travel (as I do) with a pet dog. Cats aren't welcome, but dogs are pretty much insisted upon. In the lounges and bars of the hotel, about 25% of the crowd at any given time was canine and usually of a pretty aristocratic pedigree: great danes, standard poodles, English bulldogs.

The scene at the Cypress Inn is, like much of Carmel, pretty swinging for 50+ empty nesters who treat their dogs like human children, so be sure to check that out if I've just painted out a pastel of your particular fetish. (Don't forget to bring your dogs papers as the 'show quality' of your dog will certainly come up within the first 30 seconds of conversation with anybody and determine your own quality.)

Like I said the weather was beautiful on Saturday, so we headed down Route 1 south to Big Sur and had a pretty quintessential California kind of day. The surf was up and we were treated to soaring vistas with crashing waves all day long. We had artichokes and white wine for lunch and spent the afternoon hiking at Garrapata State Park, which I highly recommend for anyone planning a visit. 

The beach is spectacular particularly in what seemed like big surf. I wouldn't say I'm good at estimating wave height, but these were at least in the 15-20 foot range consistently, with the occasional monster being much larger and soaking the unwary and nearly sweeping our little dog out to a watery death. 

All along the beach, there's a 50 foot cliff separating the sand from the headlands above and several creeks make small waterfalls and pools as they tumble down towards the sea. Callow lilies were blooming along these streams and at the end of the day, with the sun lighting up the sea like a plain of molten gold we saw two gray whales making their way up the coast from Mexico.

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