Route 66 - 2 Germans on Mother Road

Highway 1, Catherine & Barry, 4th of July, Whale Watching, Coppola´s Vineyard

After a pretty expensive night in beautiful Carmel we drove further up the coast northbound to see Monterey and it´s famous Cannery Row. After a few miles on the road at the gas station I recognized that I had forgotten my credit card at our Dinner restaurant the night before. So a little detour back to Carmel was necessary to ensure our future solvency….Feeling a bit stupid I went back into the restaurant only to find out that they had a staple of at least 30 credit cards that people had forgotten. Good to know you are not the only fool… In our second attempt we made it to Monterey and enjoyed the afternoon on Cannery Row (see John Steinbeck´s famous novel) We decided to drive further north and spent the night at Santa Cruz, ended up in a rather filthy hotel (Trip Advisor…). However, at least we found a fantastic restaurant for Dinner, a classical BBQ place with huge smokers right in front of their door and had another Pulled Pork Sandwich. Yummeeee ! The next morning we could not wait to see the Redwoods again north of Santa Cruz and had a wonderful walk, enjoying those majestic, old trees that have a very special aura. Unbelievable that many of them where already standing there when Christ was born. I uploaded a few pictures in Flickr but it is practically impossible to get a really good shot of those trees as they are so extremely tall. Quote: “The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It's not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.” John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America. The following day we went on to Berkeley to spend the rest of our time in California with my cousin Catherine & Barry. For the last 50 miles in the car, Karin talked about a spectacular Meatball Sandwich that she had three years ago in a small shop on downtown Berkeley so I had to go there first. Fortunately we found the shop and the Sandwich was still on the menu ! And it tasted just as good as three years before so with a super happy Karin onboard we drove up into the hills where my cousin lives. We had not seen each other since our wedding last year so it was great to meet again and spend time together. Freia their German Shepherd also seemed to remember us so we instantly felt welcome and at home at “The Buck” (insider joke). Thoughtful as they are, the two of them had a whole program already arranged for our visit, starting with an invitation at the home of friends in San Francisco to celebrate the fourth of July with fireworks, Pizza, Drinks and interesting conversation with the well selected guests of the evening. We enjoyed the very relaxed setting of the evening an decided to host a similar party in Munich after our return. One of the highlights of the whole trip followed the next day when we went on a Whale Watching Tour. Well equipped with Catherine´s Sandwiches the boat took us about 30 miles off the coast to the Farralon Islands where the whales are to be expected. And we were truly lucky ! We saw two Blue Whales and many Humpback Whales (Buckelwale) swimming close by, blowing, diving, breaching. What a sight ! Two naturalists on board were happy to explain behavior, species etc. I was able to take quite a few good pictures of the whales and I have posted some of them on Flickr. It was truly a remarkable day and it is good to hear that the whale population has begun to recover since the ban on hunting was implemented. Francis Ford Coppola´s Vineyard was another event on our program. Coppola has created a unique combination of movie memorabilia from his life as a director, a restaurant, a bar, a souvenir shop, a swimming pool – all in the middle of his vineyard. A good example of typical American creativity and entrepreneurship. Quite impressive. We ended the evening with the old movie “The Grapes of Wrath” (see John Steinbeck´s novel) describing the poor Joad family on their way from Oklahoma to California, travelling on Route 66. For our last evening in the US, C&B had arranged another invitation for a Dinner the home of friends in San Francisco. We had a great evening with David, a former Diplomat and his wife Pam, who had lived in Munich in the past. The two of them entertained us not only with fantastic steaks but also with memories and stories from decades of working as a diplomat for the US in many parts the world. Another great evening. The next morning unfortunately our time with C&B ended as we had to catch our flight back home. So our Roadtrip across the US, from Chicago to Los Angeles and then onwards to San Francisco ended. A trip towards the “West”. We enjoyed every single day of it. Almost five weeks of inspiration and pleasure. Much more than we had expected. Now the journey to find a new professional challenge will begin. I am eager to find out what this road will bring… Let me end this Blog with a famous quote from one of the greatest dreamers of all times, who put it in a much more elegant way than I could: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

2 Kommentare 14.7.15 18:17, kommentieren

Highway 1, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Carmel by the Sea

Dear All, after we completed our Route 66 journey at Santa Monica Pier, I allowed myself a short pause in writing this blog. In the meantime we have travelled along the Pacific Coast up north on Highway 1/101. Santa Barbara is one of Karin's and my favourite places in California, so we stayed there for two days. We both love the relaxed beach atmosphere, the small and really nice hotels and the downtown area with all the shops, restaurants and bars. It's a nice change from the monotony of the large chains that dominate so many US cities. Simply a great place to relax for a while. We found a super Sushi restaurant and had to go there twice as the Sushi was sooo good. The next day we went on to our next stop at Morro Bay, further north. Again a small town directly at the sea, where we found a good hotel with a pool to swim and relax. A bit further north Highway 1 again follows the coast line directly and becomes one of the most scenic drives that we have seen anywhere in the world so far. You can tell by the number of Rental Mustang and Camaro convertibles on the road that this clearly is one of the top tourist attractions in California. And rightly so. Karin and I have done this trip several times already but it never stops to delight you. What a road, what a landscape. After about 200 kilometers today we arrived at Carmel by the Sea, clearly one of the richest villages in the area. European-style in its appearance, nestled above a white sandy beach, Carmel is also a really charming place to spend some time (unfortunately it also sets your travel budget back significantly...) Tomorrow we will go on further north to Monterey ("Cannery Row / Strasse der Ölsardinen") and Santa Cruz and later this week we will get to the San Francisco Bay Area, where we will see my cousin Catherine and Barry. We both can't wait to see the two of them. Quote of the day: "It's good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end." Ernest Hemingway

30.6.15 02:06, kommentieren