OCTOBER 26, 2012 – Monterey (misc last words – until the next trip)

October 26, 2012

On my trips to Monterey I pass by Mclintock’s (GCZ26A), a giant wooden cowboy statue on the sidewalk in front of a restaurant. On previous trips there was always something happening at GZ that stopped me from looking for the cache. This time the coast was clear except for a huge mixed group of monarch & viceroy butterflies at the base of the statue.

Free parking is in short supply around Cannery Row. A great feature of my hotel was underground parking, included.

Two blocks away I had to wonder. Was the candy store established before or after the public restrooms?

In town Lake Estero starts 1 block inland from the beach. There ARE caches here.

This stump in Jack’s Peak Park looked like a monstrous head, in the picture not so much.

To get to Moss Landing I drove through Castroville and passed by the famous virtual cache The World’s Largest Artichoke (GCHK3T).

There were 2 of these 12’ high 100 year old concrete artifacts on the road to Palm Beach State Beach. If anyone knows what they are, please leave a comment.
As explained in a previous post, dozens and dozens of pelicans flew overhead at Zmudowski State Beach.

Here’s a better look at the (power plant?) and exhaust stacks at Moss Landing.

Returning from a cache I almost tried to get into the wrong Prius.

Back on the peninsula I couldn’t get enough of the shoreline scenery.

There were even some caches left to find.

I’ll probably go back in a few years after enough new caches are placed to make it worthwhile.

Thanks for hanging out with me.


OCTOBER 24, 2012 – Pacific Grove, Alisomar State Beach

October 24, 2012

I’m OK with $45./night motels when caching in Barstow. In Monterey my standards are higher. For almost 4x the amount the rooms are 2x as good.

A breakfast buffet was included in the room price so I took advantage every morning before starting my cache run. BACON!!

The cache in front of the hotel was found 3 trips ago. I walked 2 blocks to the nearest unfound one, Jabberwocky (GC2DWXA) which has 57 “favorite” points. It was an otherwise ordinary cache in a highly unusual area. It’s visible ‘somewhere’ in the picture.

Back to the hotel & 2 blocks West is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This is a picture from the free part of the aquarium grounds, at GZ of Fish are Friends not Food (GC3P519). I DNF’d it but someone else found it the next day.

The City of Pacific Grove begins at the North end of the Aquarium. It’s counter intuitive for Southern Californians, but North here is LEFT while facing the ocean. Honest! Look at a map. Aptly named Ocean View Boulevard begins here.

There are pullout viewpoints, mostly unpaved, every few hundred feet. Most of them have a cache. One seemed to be hidden on the edge of the 2’ thick mat of decaying seaweed at the bottom of the picture. It was another DNF.

Yet ANOTHER DNF. It always seems to be high tide when I’m in the area.

I was called an “old timer,” by a young muggle who warned me (from afar) to be careful as I climbed on the rocks for a cache. I’d already cache/hiked for several days straight so I was moving more stiffly than usual. And it’s hard to balance a GPSr, camera and walking stick too. From a distance I probably did look geriatric. Somewhere nearby, the beach and road turned so that LEFT became South again.

Even with the perfect weather, there were very very few people. It’s hard to imagine. The locals must be used to and bored by the scenery.

I stopped near the Alisomar Conference Grounds. The famous 17 Mile Drive was just ahead but I turned inland at the point below and found some easier-on-the-legs caches before going back to the hotel for the final time.

OCTOBER 22, 2012 – Moss Landing

October 22, 2012

On my previous caching vacations to the Monterey area I wondered about the 2 gigantic exhaust stacks visible far off to the North. This time the gc.com map showed a cluster of 20+ caches in a backward “C” pattern, exactly where I estimated the stacks to be. And there was a string of isolated state beaches beyond, each with some caches. I started the day at Sunset State Beach and found my first Santa Cruz County caches there. There was no one in the day use section. The parking fee was $10. and the ranger explained that it was good all day at all state beaches. That fit perfectly with my plan to stop at each beach going South to Moss Landing.

The views at this beach were some of the best of the day. This is from GZ at Sunset View II (GC3AKFB).

I was there, really!

Mid October really is a good time to visit. Great weather and NO PEOPLE.

A drive through (mostly) strawberry fields led to a beach with an unusual name.

The vacant looking house directly East of the parking area intrigued. Too bad that no caches were listed there.

Looking West, Clumsy Pelican (GC2KV34) was at the top of this dune, 35’ outside of a roped off protected area.

The name sake pelicans flew overhead by the dozens as I signed the log. I was relieved that none of them dropped a bomb on me.

Another drive through more fields, and by an I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-Y smelly dung farm (a bulldozer was moving a fresh 15’ high mound) got me to Moss Landing. There’s a big cache just across from this sign.

On the way to the next cache I saw a sea otter floating on his back and chomping on a small crab. I stood only 10’ away but he ignored me.

Three caches later, at No Golden Retrievers Allowed…Apparently (GC23M1A) I saw 25+ sea otters floating together. Most of them faced the same direction and many of them were eating. The only noises they made were faint growls and food crunching.

I finally got to see the exhaust stacks up close. I drove right by them to reach the caches on the South end of the cluster.

Muggles won’t notice you at Betty’s 80th (GC20X6B) because they’ll be looking at the hundreds of sea lions on the dock next to GZ. Unlike sea otters, sea lions are very very loud. Their barking was deafening. Check the satellite map for the cache. The sea lions are clearly visible.

A little farther South and…Oh oh…no fishing licenses…

I walked past the hapless fishermen to Springfield (GC23JE1). It was an easy find. This wreck is 100’ away.

I ended the day with 28 finds and far too many DNFs. I sat on a dune to rest my sore knees and watched the surf before returning to my hotel.

OCTOBER 20, 2012 – Jack’s Peak Regional Park – (Monterey, CA)

October 20, 2012

On the first full day of my geocaching vacation to Monterey, I drove 7 minutes from my Cannery Row hotel to Jack’s Peak Regional Park. It’s only 2 miles inland from the beach but a completely different world.

It’s a full blown hilltop forest with facilities and 8 miles of hiking trails. There were no other cars in the 3 parking lots and I didn’t see another person during my 6 hour stay.

Maybe the rules keep people away. And apparently, geocaching isn’t considered a sport.

Except for a downed tree here and there, the trails were well maintained.

This was GZ for a ‘small.’ The dried out wood produced a cloud of dust every time I poked it with my hiking stick. I was worried about inhaling it. What if it contained mold, mushroom spores and/or rodent droppings? So I didn’t search for too long and moved on with a DNF.

Except for these berries, found in shady areas, there was very little color in the forest. Maybe it’s different during other times of the year.

The temperature never broke 70 degrees but it was very still and humid. The trees blocked most of the sun and kept me from overheating.

I didn’t find a single ammo can cache. The biggest caches were lock & locks and nut jars. Many hadn’t been found for months and were under ground cover.

A rare open spot gave me a clear view over the tops of the trees on the next hill.

Contrary to popular belief, this was not my lunch. It was a cache I found! The rolls are 35mm film containers.

I found 11 caches, DNF’d 3 and didn’t find the trails to a few others. Together with my finds from 2008, that leaves 10 more caches to find. On my drive out I stopped at the official viewpoint and looked back toward Monterey Bay.

After almost being run over a few times by crazed mountain bikers in recent weeks, the quiet empty trails here were a welcome relief.

Odds & Ends:
– now (mid-OCT) the park hours are 10am-6pm
– parking is $4. during the week and $5. on weekends & holidays