I’ve done my time on the Left Coast. From Vancouver to Portland to SF to LA, I’ve done them all. Being a Middle America kind of guy, I have to say they’ve each got something to offer. They’re big cities and big cities do the whole multi-cultural, multi-faceted cities do best: they give you more than you could possibly do in a weekend.
Ok, so driving through the Central Valley can be a total nightmare. I mean, there is the persistent odor of manure wafting through the air. You smell it no matter where you are on the 101 or the 5. And don’t even think about stopping long enough to listen — you might catch the sounds of the slaughterhouses at work. My advice: stay in the car until you get to Monterey. That also goes for Salinas — avoid it at all costs.
I can’t lie: I dig the scene in San Francisco and LA. They’re alpha-type cities and when I’m stuck on the Left Coast, nine times out of ten I’m in one of these metropolises. But, I think a healthy does of Chuck D is in order. Don’t believe the hype. Yeah, they’re cool cities, but here’s a little secret: instead of gunning the engine north or south, aim dead for the center. Pull out your laptop, find some hotels in Monterey, CA and call it a weekend.
So, I bet I know what you’re thinking now: Monterey? So it fancies itself “the Cradle of Civilization” around these parts, so what? Look, I’m all for the underdog. Any place that has got its sights on taking down the big dogs, I like. If Monterey has got anything, it’s got guts. That means a lot.
Yeah, you could charter a boat and play at being Hemingway, but this is Steinbeck’s land after all. A few miles out to sea will put you above the yawning Monterey Canyon, the deepest underwater canyon in the Pacific. Scared of sharks? Yeah, me too. You’d be better off heading to Juice & Java with your favorite Steinbeck novel in tow and calling it a day.
Some of the finest hotels in Monterey CA can be booked in advance. Doing this can save you a pretty penny. Have at it.