Our last morning in Yosemite we had “Coffee with a Ranger”. Campers from all over the campground gathered to drink free coffee or tea while chit-chatting with each other and asking questions to one of the park rangers. We were accompanied by our friendly camping neighbors, a family also leaving to go home that morning. They were a friendly couple with 4 kids living in a suburb of LA – but ORIGINALLY from Tuscon, AZ.
“If you have time, you should take a drive over to the Monterey and Carmel area. It’s absolutely beautiful!” they suggested.
Our plan was to drive straight to San Francisco that day and stay for two days in the Bay Area. Instead we acted on impulse and decided to take their advice. We adjusted our GPS and checked out Hotwire for a decent place to stay in the area. Within about 10 minutes we had a new plan: drive to Monterey and spend the evening walking along the oceanfront. San Francisco could wait till the next morning.
Once in Monterey our first stop was the hotel to freshen up. After two days camping in the wilderness with no modern conveniences, a long warm shower was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Cannery Row is the main walking/shopping district in Monterey Bay and the most obvious destination for our single evening of entertainment. The district boasts great food, good wine, stunning views and of course the token souvenir shop! We strolled along Cannery Row and attended our first little wine tasting! It was a charming experience – of course we ended up buying 2 bottles of wine! Next we had some seriously delicious oysters overlooking the water. The highlight of our Monterey adventure was seeing a seal swimming out in the bay. The night was rounded out by playing pool and singing karaoke in a local bar. *Super classy, I know.
All in all, the detour was well worth it! The locals were friendly, the food and wine were delicious, and the ocean was enchanting. The best impulsive decision we could have made.