Thursday January 5, 2012
Nice drive this morning down the coast to Monterey. I like this part of the coast for two reasons; one, Monterey and the Salinas area are the setting for much of the writing of one of my favorite authors, John Steinbeck. “Cannery Row” was set in Monterey in a section called, as luck would have it, Cannery Row. When Monterey was a major sardine fishing village, this is where they processed and canned the fish. During the time that the book was set, 1945, most of the canneries had already closed and Cannery Row had become a skid row where people who are down and out would go to live in abandoned buildings. Today it is a tourist attraction all because of John Steinbeck. A couple of the abandoned canneries turned tourist shops are named in honor of him. If you have not read the book, you should. It is a great read and a classic. It is also a movie and , unlike most movies made from books, it is at least as good or even better than the book. I have read many books and later saw a movie version and I cannot say that about any other movie. I recommend the book and the movie, in that order.
While we were on Cannery Row we stopped in at an Italian Seafood restaurant for a quick lunch. It was called Louie Louie Linguini’s Seafood Restaurant. We both had a bowl of clam chowder. Lucy and I are both connoisseurs of clam chowder. We once took a week long trip on the Oregon coast just to try clam chowder at as many restaurants as possible in an effort to find the best clam chowder. It turns out Lucy and I have very different definitions of “good clam chowder”. Lucy’s idea of good clam chowder is a very thick and creamy soup with a clam or two waived over the top of it. I like it creamy, but thinner and with lots of clams. We both found a favorite on that trip and I think Lucy’s is still at a restaurant in Cannon Beach, Oregon, but my favorite has just been replaced by a new favorite. We also liked our waiter, Alejandro. See photo.
So we pulled out of Monterey happy and satisfied, personally, historically and culinarily. It was 3:00 pm and the plan was to drive a couple of hours down the coast and find a place to park for the night. The plan was going well until we saw a sign that read, “hills and curves next 63 miles”. We were a bit concerned, but had not yet seen a good place to park so we kept going with the thought “we survived that mountain road north of San Francisco, we can survive a measly 63 miles of hills and curves” right? Right? Well what choice did we have? As it turned out that sign should have said, “Mountains, Hairpin turns, 700’ drops to your death below on the rocks”, or something a bit more descriptive than “hills and curves”. So we spent the next 4 hours, 1 of which was in the dark, cowering on the verge of certain death. At the end we discovered that some Walmarts will not allow you to park overnight in their parking lots. After some searching we found a K-Mart that allows it and here we sit. We are in a town called Arroyo Grande, just south of San Luis Obispo. It is warmer here so the furnace repair can wait. We will sleep well, knowing that tomorrow will bring a warmer and safer adventure.