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Friday, April 12, 2019

April 1-2: Monterey

When I first started planning the trip, I'd planned to be in Monterey for one night, and Big Sur for another, and then hit Lucia Lodge. I figured that Lucia Lodge would be the bottleneck, and so went with that for Tuesday, but then discovered that Big Sur was too expensive. I made the mistake of then going for Monterey for 2 nights thinking that we could ride the Big Sur segment, then get a van ride back to Monterey, and then do the rest the next day. Instead, of course, Bowen decided that he'd rather go play in the sand dunes we saw yesterday!

Given a choice of riding or taking the van, even my intrepid kids preferred the Van, so we drove down to the dunes and spent most of the morning there. Running and jumping on the dunes was surprisingly exhausting, and by 11:30am it was time for lunch. We chose to drive to Trader Joe's, buy some lunch items and sandwiches at Ike's next door, and then travel to Lover's Point for a picnic lunch.
After lunch, we headed over to the famous Cala Lily Valley, which exceeded my expectations. I'd somehow passed by it often in the past, but never stopped. It's well worth the short drive from Monterey and the 30 minutes it takes to explore it.
After that, we even had time to take the kids to the Monterey Aquarium, where we had a season pass. When given a choice, it's much better to go there in the late evening than in the morning, because the crowds would have thinned by then. Nobody pays to go in after about 2:00pm, so only members would saunter in that late.

We finished up with dinner at the Fishwife, which was under new management. While the food was as good as we remembered it in the past, the new staff was a lot more pushy and a lot less tolerant of kids, which is disappointing.

The next day, we started the day by packing everything into the car. The forecast was for rain, and we did indeed feel a few raindrops. I dropped by the Aquarium again in the morning on request from the kids. After that, we had lunch again at Lovers point and drove South to Lucia Lodge, where we checked in, moved our luggage in, and then took a hike at Jade Cove, where apparently you could find real Jade. But I didn't know that at the time, so treated it as a random hike.

While we felt sprinkles all through the hike, it never really rained, leading me to doubt all the forecasts about rain hitting the area the next day. The sunset from the Lodge was nothing short of gorgeous, and I looked forward to riding the next day. "No excuses," I said to the kids.

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