The Holiday never stops
It was a day that had much promise. The town of Larkspur that morning (where we are staying) was like me: a slow starter. The pacific fog that normally engulfed the Golden Gate had moved north lingering in it’s whispering cold over the appropriately titled “King Mountain”. It told of promises and commitment, smiles and shared joy; and with that, as I sipped the Americano French Roast and stared up at it’s majesty, I saw the sun bathing us all again and this confirmed that yesterday really did take place. The plan DID come together. We really did sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and prove that marriage is an ever changing enchantment that you can never take for granted.
Yesterday was a world apart from when we walked up the aisle in June 1992 feeling young and impregnable. You don’t really know what you are saying then. Don’t know what life is or what ‘for life’ actually means.
In essence it’s a few heartbeats, a million anxious moments, untold worry and incredible joy, and even though our last trip to SF was 25 years ago, it feels like we haven’t lived at all since then, and yet by the looks of us we’ve changed enormously. I’ve developed a ‘Prince Charles’ crown, a beer belly and a great love of coffee. Michelle, to me, looks exactly the same but I’ll never convince her of that. It’s not going to get any easier is it? We will soon become entrenched in what we like and don’t like, turn insanely stubborn and then all our conversations will be how good the world used to be. You don’t hear many people say it’s better as they get older.
In 1992, we were slim. I didn’t bother with scales, (always 10 stone 8) and I could eat anything. Life was simple ( or maybe we were), we didn’t have smartphones or the internet.
Celebrities were superstars: untouchable and elusive.
The American airwaves were full of Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie and Celine Dion. We didn’t know about Oasis or Blur, Radiohead or Coldplay, 24 or Game Of Thrones.
We definitely didn’t have Sat-Nav.
And so armed with all the information from the World Wide Web, a Tom-Tom and 4 smartphones, we set off principally to drive the pacific coast Highway 1 to Monterey and then onto the famous 17 mile drive around Carmel and Monterey.
In 2017, Simple, right?
Later on that night (as we attempted to keep each other awake by trying to guess the real celebrity name behind the number plate we spotted with the letter “SS” that sped past us on Highway 101), we knew that the problem started when we changed the plan and headed for the Redwood trees in Henry Cowell’s state park (no relation to Simon – at least we hope not).
The trees were amazing by the way. Huge, thick and tall Redwoods that many UK Housing companies might actually think to build a house inside. The state park itself was huge and set deep in a valley. As I look at the photographs now, I realise just how incredible they were.
So, what was the problem? Why wasn’t the day as good as everything that had come before?
The problems began at the Redwoods when we tried to walk to a lookout (this was my fault – I do love a map) and realised that the scale of the map provided was a little suspect (or my interpretation of it was) and, having already eaten up much of the day getting to the park, meandering through the marked tracks, standing in hollowed out trees and earwigging a special help group that were supporting one of its members as they spoke tearfully about a trauma that occurred in their life, we thought we were running out of time. Would we actually make it to Pebble Beach?
Time. We aim to escape it on holiday. Forget about it, but like the 25 years that have whistled past us, it always gnawing at us. It defines everything we do. We think it gives us structure, but apart from catching flights there is no place for it on holibobs. Ultimately, we didn’t have to be anywhere but the thought of a very late return on unknown roads in the dark, abroad, did not appeal to any of us.
We should have stuck to the plan. At least this is what we thought after the next part of a very long drive became even longer due to a traffic jam. And, when our bellies began hollering at us we knew we needed to eat.
Sound decisions are not made when one is hungry.
With all the technology that we had we couldn’t choose an appropriate restaurant. One was 4.2 on Google but we saw a review we didn’t like; another was 3.9 – that can’t be good, move on. We drove into a mall, stepped in and out of a Starbucks (empty shelves) a Bagel shop (unwelcoming) and a Mexican fast food place (not really what we wanted). As that proved unfruitful, we drove on and parked at Monterey pier – resplendent in its Brightonpierness – and couldn’t find an eaterie there either. We then headed into town and tried a sandwich shop and a Taco Bell (urgh) and still came up with zero. An hour later having negotiated nearly all the 17 mile drive, we finally came to Pebble Beach Golf Club. The last place we expected to eat.
For those that have read these blogs before, you will know I am an internationally recognised golfer, (If snap-hooking your opening tee shot 50 yards into the scrub at the prestigious and very expensive Gleneagles PGA course qualifies me for that honour) and that my mere presence at the British Open a couple of weeks ago following Jordan Speith, guaranteed him the Claret Jug (the other 275,000 people that attended that weekend did not count).
So, in a manner of speaking Pebble Beach, for me, is like coming home … think John Wayne riding back into town.
We found a Deli right next to the course (hurrah) and didn’t care that we were served by the worst person in the entire history of customer service and sat down to eat, nay gobble, our food: miserable, by the way, would have been a compliment for her.
Re-charged. We could smile, talk, walk even. In short, we could begin to enjoy the day again.
We strode around the grounds like we truly belonged there thinking that at any moment we would be turfed orf!
We observed a impromptu game of Crazy Golf set out on a putting green with Champers and Caviar for the participants. Then, we searched for the famous 18th and sat watching the golfers come in.
And I thought that I couldn’t play the game!
It seems that nearly all the players we saw coming through couldn’t either.
Balls were being hit all over the place. Did they allow any riff-raff to play this famous course?
Er yeah, they do… it’s all about the money, of course. Show them the money.
So what names did we come up with for our celebrity number plate on the way home?
I came up with Steven Seagal
Glenn (he who has taken all these magnificent photograph’s) chose Steven Spielberg
But Kim came up with a real pearler: “Sylvester Stallone!”
He never gave in, and neither did we. We were determined to cram in as much as we could in the limited time we had.
And somehow, we drove in the dark, on unknown roads, abroad, all the way home. We barely looked at the time.
Larkspur was well and truly tucked up when we pulled up outside our AirBnB.
Tomorrow, a wine tour. Oh, you need to read this one!