Friday, June 27, 2008

Central California Trip Report - Day 1 (Monterey)

Russell and Punky just finished school, and with a week off before the start of summer school, we decided to get away for a long weekend trip down the California coast. Our destination was Hearst Castle and the Paso Robles area, approximately halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles (a 3.5 hour drive). Logistics were very important, since we brought Jenny's mom along for what would be our longest road trip since our Disneyland excusion back in February 2007. This meant we would have to stay at places which offered both a sofabed and free breakfast.

We weren't originally planning to go to Monterey, but since I was able to get a room at the nearby Embassy Suites and get free (!) tickets to the aquarium, we ended up staying for one night at what is now the Brewster Boys' favorite hotel chain. Our overnight stay turned out to be much fun. Russell and Punky especially enjoyed the hotel's indoor pool and checking out the koi and turtles in the atrium ponds. I enjoyed it because it meant that I didn't have to drive the whole way down to Hearst Castle in one day.

The next morning, we checked out and headed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium--our home away from home, it would seem. Once again, the Brewster Boys went ga-ga over the displays of fish and wildlife. However, Jenny was bored, so we left after around 2.5 hours and had lunch at Bubba Gump's. Before heading south, we browsed the newly-constucted Intercontinental Hotel on Cannery Row. Jenny was impressed and indicated that she wouldn't mind staying there the next time we come to Monterey. Since I am not a member of their Frequent Guest program, I don't think that will happen.

On the 2-hour drive down to our hotel in Paso Robles, I found the scenery of farmland and rural towns along Route 101 to be exhilarating and a refreshing change from the Bay Area's suburban sprawl.

Russell and Punky are all smiles as they get ready to head down to the pool

For the first time ever, Russell actually enjoyed playing in a pool

In a giant clam at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Russell checks out the penguins in the newly-renovated Splash Zone

Punky: "Check out my blue tongue!"


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