Tuesday, July 16, 2013

California Finale - June Part III

Day Two on the Monterey Peninsula turned out to be just as fabulous as Day One. We started out the morning with an amazing breakfast -- see below. 

We had a perfect spot for the eight of us over by the window in the corner.  We didn't have the fancy tablecloths and chair covers but the ambiance was wonderful.  There were several breakfast buffets and two chefs for made to order breakfasts.  The kids were in heaven and so were the adults.   Our faces were beaming with delight.  What a fun breakfast celebration.,  We kept ordering and ordering.
Tanner kept going back and back and would come back with a huge grin on his face with a plate full of food..  So cute.  Who knew breakfast could be so much fun!  We were treated royally.

 We were all just astounded at how much we enjoyed the wonderful treatment at the Sequoia!
We headed toward Pebble Beach and drove through here on the way.

I was already secretly excited to see Cannery Row and see if Lee Chong still had his store or if Mack and the boys were still there trying to do something nice for Doc.  Didn't see them, but it had already a thrill to drive near Salinas where John Steinbeck was born and get a feel for the areas where Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men and Cannery Row were penned.  Very interesting for me!  I'm a nerd, I know.  So fun to be on Cannery Row!

Steinbeck like most authors always included  a big share of his political views and I never taught Cannery Row, but remembered there wasn't much of a plot.  I remember as a 20 something feeling sad for him because he didn't believe in a hereafter.  Too fatalistic for me and I think that can be seen in all of his works.  However, I did love Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath and taught them when I was a 20 something.  Just like any good pieces of literature, Steinbeck could put you right in the scene.  And that's what I felt on Cannery Row.  I imagined him right there on the street.  Of course it wasn't called Cannery Row  until he wrote his novel.

I should also tell you that Mark Twain penned his Notorious Jumping Frog of Calavaras County near here.  Ha Ha!  I am so full of wonderful information, but before I embark on an English lesson, I need to get back to Monterey. The town was very interesting and inviting so someday I will be back to really explore.  Lots of shops to poke around in.  Sounds fun right!  Well not to four children and two husbands.

                                 We drove by this lighthouse, but it wasn't open.  A small lighthouse in comparison to some I've toured.  Very quaint.
 The Monterey Bay Aquarium is along this area.  The kids have been to the famous aquarium with school trips.  The aquarium is world famous.  Shelly went with two of the school trips and said it is well worth the visit.  We will get back to that also.

Then we headed south to Pebble Beach.  The 17 mile drive was beautiful and captivating.  We stopped at a beautiful scenic view pull out to let everyone explore.

                             Rich and I with Emery.  I couldn't explore.  Look at the shoes
I wore.  Not good for rocks.  It didn't stop Em tho'.

                                  Jeremy, Emery and Tanner

Emery and Jeremy ran into a swarm of  bugs, but no bites!

                 Tanner and Carsen

The Crowley Gang spent lots of time exploring the rocks.  We moved the cars down to where the explorers had moved.  It was quite a ways.  After about an hour I asked Jeremy if we should go and he looked at me quizzically and said, "Already"?"  Some things never change so I said, "No, keep exploring with your kids." And he did.

So they finally pulled away from the exploring and we were on our way again.

Rich noticed an RV in the turn out that was parked and  had its solar panels sitting on the ground getting juiced up.  It was a funny sight.  Only in California.

We passed several sets of golfers at the golf courses in Pebble Beach.  I thought we were in Scotland with the knee britches, argyles, sweaters and golf hats.  I did check the green fee.  Hmm $500.  That includes the cart of course,  I have a great picture of Dad, Mike and Darryl playing at Pebble Beach.  It's really fun to see.

The homes along both sides of the road were spectacular to see.  A lot of money along 17 mile drive.  We pulled out to go into Carmel.  I was expecting a welcome from Clint Eastwood, but he was no where to be seen.  Carmel also looked like a place that would be fun to explore.  Lots of fun shops.

This is the Carmel Mission.  We didn't go in, but the outside was beautiful.  It is one of the oldest
 missions in the US.  It was built in the 1770s by the Spanish and still has services today along with funerals and weddings.

 I'll be back to check out these interesting places.  There was so much to see, but that's another trip.  This is the area where Uncle Kenny did basic training at Fort Ord and was one of the Presidios along the California coast. 

 Then back to Fresno and only one day left of our visit.  What a great weekend we had.  Fresno is a fun town.  I think I could live there.  Rich says I say that about every place  I visit, but Fresno has my kids and grand kids!  And no humidity.


                                     We flew out early Tuesday morning and had a layover in Salt Lake.   Here is the sun setting in the West as we head East.
Back to Virginia. We got stuck in the Atlanta airport with a delay, but finally got home to Charlottesville with our chauffeur waiting at the curb. Thanks Matt! 
 Then, the next morning we awoke to these beautiful flowers.  Yes, I'm now a gardener and was a little bit excited to see how the flower beds were doing.

Here are my daisies.  I love them.  I haven't planted black eyed susans yet, but will be looking for them.
This is my little hydrangea bush.  I didn't think it was alive, but look how beautiful.

                                             Day lilies!

We are already lonesome for the CA Crowleys, but are excited to see the rest of the gang here on the 4th.  Plus Ross will be coming!  What a great June.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Monterey Bay

Off we go to visit this for the weekend!
We headed west out of Fresno through the farm country and over the mountains to Monterey Peninsula.  The drive was beautiful -- and yes -- we ran into a CA traffic delay, but our excitment was not dashed.  We came for a fun fun weekend. 
By the time we arrived we were hungry so we parked and walked to Fisherman's Wharf.  Who knew there were two?  Well, this wasn't the one in San Francisco.  This was Monterey!  Lots of boats, lots of people and lots of offers for free clam chowder.  We were sold.  We had to find a nice place on the water to find clam chowder.  It was delicious!
Here's Emery at the restaurant just before she ate her clam chowder!  Ha Ha she had chicken fingers.  Tanner had the chowder and Carsen tried a couple of shrimp.  Of course Rich and Shelly, some of the non fish eaters in the Crowley Family had burgers.  The other two non fish eaters in the family will remain nameless, but they are my two other  daughters-in-law.  How do you not like shrimp?
Here's Emery.  She was watching the sea lions with her brothers.
Chase, Tanner and Carsen watching the sea lions

 Grandpa and Tanner on the pier

Jeremy and Em

 Grandpa with his hat by doctors orders.  No sun for you Mr. Crowley!
 Shelly is so darn cute in these pictures.  What a cute young mother she is.

Birds and kids
                                        Jeremy holding his youngest baby bird
Grammy, Chase and pirate
 Em and her cotton candy from the candy shoppe!
 We all had jackets.  The weather was 63 when we were walking around.

My hair does amazing tricks at the ocean!
Shelly and Tanner - Carsen on the edge
Jeremy with me and some other guy who is trying to get in the pix.
We left the Wharf and found our hotel.  Everyone changed and we headed for the beach.  Jeremy found the perfect beach.  There is a beautiful paved path along the beach with benches and lovely treed areas.  Lots of runners and bikers were on the path getting exercise.  I saw Shelly eyeing the path, but she had on the wrong shoes.
Here's Jeremy!  
Our Crowley Gang has been going to the beach since 1975 as a family -- even before Jeremy was born. He was the one we could never get to come out of the water to eat or do anything for that matter. He stayed in the water all day!. He would occasionally come up for a drink. 

 Here's the proof.  Rich the expert photo dad captured ALL childhood events in black and white.  He put together several scrapbooks for each of our kids.  What a great dad.  He sure loved his boys!
 These pictures are priceless to us!
Jeremy at the beach about age 8

See what I mean -- he loved the water -- his brothers did too but he was relentless.

 This pix is a little older.  I'm not sure how old, but what a handsome guy.
And here is Jeremy's Gang! 
Tanner looking like he was tip-toeing was running.
Carsen building a water trench to the surf.  Then he found a fish in the surf that he wanted to bring home. 
 Tanner holding the fish

 Some ladies at the beach who didn't know how to dress for the ocean.
Some regular beach bums or is that the big Kahuna and his son!

                                                      Cute family!
 By the time we left the beach it was dinner time.  Jeremy ordered pizza on the way home for delivery to the hotel and the kids headed to the pool.  Kids never get tired do they?
   It was about 65 degrees, but the pool was heated.  While the kids were swimming we sat around the fire pit and ate pizza You can see the fire pit in the picture above top left corner.
 And here are my feet keeping toasty warm while enjoying my piece of pizza
And here are some of the pizza eaters.  Rich with his mouth full of pizza, Jeremy with his eyes a little closed and Tanner munching down on his pizza and they all said I could use the pix on my blog.  Well, maybe Tanner wasn't asked.
After the pool all of the kids except Chase came to Grammy and Grandpa's room to watch a movie (Croods) and eat treats.  We discovered that the Kraft caramels (well we were going to Carmel) were mostly eaten in the back seat of car #2 by Tanner and Carsen.  When our boys were little we always had a bag of caramels for the drive to Nags Head.  We hadn't had those caramels for years.  And --oops -- imagine my surprise after I had looked forward to caramels at the hotel - Em and I each got one as we were in the other car.  Yes, I was a little bent over the situation, but then Shelly got none!  She had fallen asleep.   I could have given her mine, but hey, she was asleep in a different room.  Our car snack was Cheez-Its.  Not nearly as glamorous as caramels.
There's lots more of the weekend at the coast so stay tuned for the next blog!