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After a nice drive from Salinas we checked into the Otter Inn.  As you might expect from the name, otters are reasonably common around here.  The Otter Inn is older property but still nice.  It’s a short walk down to Cannery Row where all the restaurants and the Aquarium are.

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The next morning was a quick walk over to Coco’s for breakfast and a day at the amazing Monterey Bay Aquarium.  I always judge other zoos and aquariums against our own Vancouver Aquarium.  Particularly around quality of eduction over show.  As expected we were not disappointed.

 

Some plastic waste turned into art.

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Some of the locals

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And right out front in the actual wild, was an otter eating fresh crab.

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Dinner was at a local brew pub, great choices in libations and good food to boot.

Bright and not early the next day we drove over to Loulou’s Griddle in the Middle for breakfast.  It’s down at the wharf and lo and behold the locals were sunning.

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The Hubcap Pancake.  Must be a truck hub cap, had to be close to 18″ across!

 

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For context, Eric’s pancakes are normal sized.  Not small portions indeed!

 

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After we stuffed ourselves in was time to take a Coast trip – south to Carmel and Big Sur.

 

Carmel is pretty, I can see why Clint Eastwood lives here.

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Pebble Beach Golf Course in the background.

 

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We did a slow drive along the residential streets admiring the homes.  Then up to the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del rio Carmelo.

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Next up was a drive down the coast to Big Sur.  Point Lobos State Park had some nice trails to see the coast line.

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We got to see more otters feeding and  sea lions resting out on rocks.

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Here is a mom teaching the young one to hunt/fish.

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After the nice hike we continued south and the crowds prevented more hiking in parks.  They are hugely full of people!

 

However the Bixby Bridge is quite a view to stop and snap a shot of.

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Back to Monterey and off to the Hula’s Grill.  Great Mai Tais, and food.

And no, there isn’t alcohol in this one.  But Eric pretended.

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There was alcohol in this one however.

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Or maybe there was??  Fun night indeed.

 

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Sunday morning was check out of the Otter Inn and head to Crepes by Brittany for breakfast.  Back at the Wharf part of town.  Great views and food.

After a excellent breakfast it was time to head back towards San Fran.  On the way we stopped at the Gilroy Premium Outlets.  It was almost back to school after all.  Hot, crowded but we got what we wanted.  Back onto the 101 to see the Golden Gate.

Kris has a picture of her Grandmother at the visitors center.  She wanted to recreate that shot.  But first we had to battle a few hours of traffic, construction and a gps that didn’t know the way.  You’d think that Google Maps, headquartered just down the road would know.  Guess not.  Good thing we can navigate and drive together!

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After a very long day it was time to check into our San Fran hotel, walk over to Pier 39 and find food.  Luigi’s Pizza it was.  The view from our window at dinner.

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Since we had planned on doing the cable cars our first San Fran day and ran out of time, it was an early start.  We did after all have to fly home today!

Quick IHOP breaky and walk over to Bay Street to catch the Powell-Mason cable up to Market street.

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We had planned on taking the Powell-Hyde back to the top of Lombard Street and walk down.  But the line for the cable car were 60-90 minutes long.  Glad we got on when and where we did!  So, snag a cab to the top of Lombard, and have him meet us at the bottom.

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We then got back to our regularly scheduled holiday.  We booked the Alcatraz Tour for 1030, thinking we’d have slept in and had a nice breakfast.   With the super sunny hot day it was an amazing trip over.  The tour is well worth the time.  All in all a great experience.

 

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Kris in “the hole”.

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The accommodations may be lacking but the view is phenomenal.

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The boys decided a sleep over program as offered by the Rangers was not to their liking so back we went.

A quick ride on the carousel at Pier 39.

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Then lunch at Wipeout Bar and Grill.

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Once lunch was done, it was time to zip back to the airport.   Uneventful flight home and Back to School!

A great way to end Summer Vacation!

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