Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Seeing is Believing!!

June 2, 2015

Loren's license came up for renewal.  He studied hard and he passed the written test with flying colors.  It was the vision test which posed the problem.  Loren has macular degeneration.  A friend of his, who has worse eyesight than Loren, had passed her vision test at the DMV in Marin, so Loren sneakily made his appointment in Santa Rosa.  Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be, and his license officially expires on June 9, 2015.
  This is a BIG deal...  loss of independence, facing limitations, recognition of physical decline...  But Loren has a way of making lemonade out of lemons:  We live in a fabulous city where it is very easy to get around using public transportation;  his car is almost twenty years old with a whole bunch of dings and dents;  it will save money being a one-car family;  for every door that closes a new one opens;  it may be the end of driving, but it's not the end of living!!

When he was telling his oldest son, Sim, about the loss of his license, Sim said, "Why don't you rent a red convertible before your license expires and go out in style."  WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!!

So that's what we did this past weekend.  On Saturday, we rented a red Ford Mustang Convertible!!

 And set out on an adventure.  We had no destination in mind, but decided to head SOUTH in search of some sun!

We headed down highway 1 along the coast.

First stop was the fishing boats at Half Moon Bay.  We talked to some of the fishermen who sell salmon and dungeness crab directly from their boats.  We found out the dates for the season, and plan to go back to get some fresh salmon!!

The fog was thinning a bit and some blue sky was beginning to poke through, so we stopped at a state beach to put the top down!!

 At some point I was expecting Loren to say, "Why don't you drive..."  But that never happened.  This guy was behind the wheel and loving every minute of it!

I wrapped my scarf around my head and Audrey and Gregory were ready for their "Roman Holiday!!"

We got to Santa Cruz where we had frequented while Dave was in college.  

One of our favorite places for lunch was Gilda's, so we stopped there.  I had a bloody mary because I WASN'T DRIVING!!  

We stopped to visit the sea lions, and walked along the boardwalk.  The sun was coming out in full force and if was good!

We kept going down the coast stopping off from time to time to check out the little towns.  Capitola was thriving with beach goers.

 Moss Landing was interesting with its big PG&E plant framing the fishing marina and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Center.

The coast was so beautiful and the beaches were full of surfers and hang gliders and picnickers.

We decided to look for a place to stay.  Siri on my iPhone was able to let us know all the available motels in the area and the cost for each.  We first drove to Pacific Grove which was a darling town, but we ended up at the Oceanview Inn in Monterey.  It wasn't exactly an ocean view, but it as a great location, and the fog had moved back in, so there wasn't going to be much of a sunset anyhow.  After settling in briefly, we set out again for Carmel - specifically to visit Clint Eastwood's Mission Ranch.  It is quite a spread; there was a wedding going on, sheep grazing in the field, a piano bar, and a great vibe.

A friend of Loren's had told him about another great place in Carmel called The Cypress.  Because it had been owned and run by Doris Day it was very dog friendly.  It seemed as if Loren and I were the only ones who hadn't brought their dog!!  They had live music on Saturday nights, so we listened to Brenda and a fabulous piano guy  put on a show for the dogs and their owners.  One couple actually ordered a hamburger for their dog!!

Sunday morning we got up and decided we wanted to go on the famous 17 Mile Drive.  There is a tool booth at the beginning of it and it costs $10.00 to drive it- but it is SOOOOO worth it!!  There was a muted red line interspersed between the dotted yellow line down the center of the road that demarcated the 17 Mile drive.  It was a bit like following the yellow brick road - but we were following the dotted red line.  Loren couldn't see it very well so he deigned to let me drive these special 17 miles!  

We started out with a thick layer of fog which lent a magical feeling to our drive - at one point I said I felt as if I were were in the middle of Tolkein's Middle Earth and a Hobbit would appear at any moment.

We stopped at the Poppy Hill Golf Club for a wonderful breakfast of home cured bacon and home made corned beef hash.  We sat at the first Tee and watched as the early golfers got their start.

There were overlooks all along the way - most of which we stopped at because the views were so amazing.  

Seals and cormorands could be seen from the overlooks.   And majestic vistas were everywhere.

Perhaps the most famous sight on the 17 Miles is the Lone Cypress which is really quite spectacular.

Then of course we had to stop off at Pebble Beach Golf Course.  It was bustling with activity, and if we hadn't just had a delicious breakfast, we might have succumbed to their Sunday Brunch which looked amazing!

As soon as the 17 Mile drive was over, Loren took back the wheel!!!... and he wouldn't relinquish it for the rest of the trip!  He was in his glory.  I had never seen him drive so fast on the open road, and when we hit the mountainous climb through Big Sur, he was in total control!  

We stopped for lunch at a wonderful restaurant called Nepenthe- which means something capable of inducing forgetfulness of pain and sorrow!!   A tuna fish sandwich cost $19.50- but I'd pay that with no tuna just for the view!!

Unfortunately the fog had attached itself to the side of the mountain, and we were engulfed in mist.  But again, Bilbo Baggins was not far away and we felt we had come across a secret, special hideaway.  Nepenthe for sure!

Nepenthe and Big Sur were as far south as we were going to go.  After lunch, we drove north and decided we'd like to go back through the mountains, so we headed in land.  

Whereas the coast was expansive, the mountains were embrasive.  Thick glades of redwoods created tunnels that we sailed through.
We found a very nice motel in Ben Lomand, nestled below some towering redwoods and were asleep early - it's amazing how driving around in a convertible in the fresh air can tire one out!!
Monday- our last day of our adventure, we set out to find Alice's Restaurant - the very same Alice's restaurant that Arlo Guthrie sang about.   It's hidden on a windy road in the mountains and is known as a haven for bikers  - Harley kind of bikers!  It was a beautiful drive and we finally did get there. 
 I had a BLT, but Loren said he wasn't very hungry, so he just ordered apple pie ala mode!  Well the pie was MUCH bigger than my BLT, and he at almost all of it!!  A great way to end a fabulous memory.

I was so proud of Loren.  He was a magnificent driver and we had so much fun that we have decided we might just do it again!!!

 "When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade!!"

Here is a Selfie we took as we arrived home!

The Mustang was terrific...  but maybe a Porsche might be fun to try next~~


Opiedog said...

Write a screenplay! I would pay to see the movie. What a perfect time you had. Thanks for sharing. I almost felt I was there too. I wish.

Mary said...

You both are such wonderful examples of living life to the fullest! What a great adventure! Can I join in on the next road trip?

Charlie said...

Kudos to you both! What an inspiration to all. Now that's the way to plan an adventure. Sounded terrific! Here's to many more! Any chance you are for hire?

Essie said...

Yes! Do another. Those last few pics of you and Loren exude happiness. Love the 'Roman Holiday' one also. What a wonderful memory for 'the bank.'

Essie said...

Yes! Do another. Those last few pics of you and Loren exude happiness. Love the 'Roman Holiday' one also. What a wonderful memory for 'the bank.'

Simeon said...

Sweet ride, awesome pictures and great fun. When are you coming to Asheville

Shirley said...

Definition of Soul Mates: Nancy and Loren.
You two know how to live and have enough memories to keep a rocking chair at top speed. I expect that day will be in the distant future. Until then keep enjoying.

Glorita Jucá said...

I remember being at some of these places with you, Arthur and Juliana, a long way back. I hope we still have time to do something like this together in the near future. You and Loren have a very creative imagination, and - what's more important - put the wheels to roll apparently without any effort. You just pick yourselves up and go. The red convertible mustang was a great idea, each one of us, back in the sixties, was in love with this iconic item and wished at least a ride on it. Great pics, Nancy, and OH, what a wonderful little trip!