Hello Friends and Family,

1977 California Coast

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Perched on a cliff on the central California coast, 50 miles south of San Francisco, stands the 115-foot tall Pigeon Point Lighthouse — one of the tallest lighthouses in America. I believe this was my first visit to the area but my goal was a scenic trip down the coast so I did not stop for long on this visit. However, in 2019 I did stop to explore — you may recall my LAHP issue from that trip — if not, click here.

The coastal views from this area are spectacular if the marine layer stays away long enough to get a nice photo. That day, it did.

Note that the surf here is extremely volatile — this location is a dangerous spot for ships — a spot where the land juts out into the Pacific Ocean, offering vessels many rocky places to crash into, especially at night — thus the pressing need for a lighthouse.

I got back in the car and drove south on CA 1, past Santa Cruz all the way to Pebble Beach, home of the famous 17-Mile Drive. For those who don't know, this scenic road is the main road through the gated community of Pebble Beach. Non-residents must stop at one of the entrance gates and pay a toll, currently $10.75 per vehicle.

Once you have paid your admission, you can take a pleasant, leisurely drive passing the lavish homes of the rich and famous, superb (and very expensive) golf courses, a few exclusive hotels with equally expensive restaurants, and, of course, incredible coastal scenery. Most folks will stop at turnouts to get a better look and maybe a photo or two. Maybe you'll see one of the rich and famous residents.

From Wikipedia, "Chief among the scenic attractions is the Lone Cypress, a salt-pruned Monterey cypress (macrocarpa) tree which is the official symbol of Pebble Beach and a frequent fixture of television broadcasts from this area. In 1990 the Monterey Journal reported that Pebble Beach's lawyer, Kerry C. Smith, said 'The image of the tree has been trademarked by us,' and that it intended to control any display of the cypress for commercial purposes. The company had warned photographers that 'they cannot even use existing pictures of the tree for commercial purposes.' Other legal commentators have questioned the Pebble Beach Company's ability to invoke intellectual property laws to restrict others' use of such images."

This photo was taken before Mr. Smith's assertion — does not mean I am in legal trouble? Just to make sure, I'll set aside one penny to cover more than their share (which, of course, is actually zero cents since I don't charge anyone for my LAHP blog).

Here we see some working fishing boats. With the passage of so many years, I'm not sure if this is in Monterey or Moss Landing (halfway between Santa Cruz and Monterey) — it looks more like Moss Landing to me. It also looks like hard work to me.

Eventually, I arrived at Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf — one of my favorite destinations in the entire Monterey Bay area. It was originally constructed in the mid-1800s and has probably had many repairs and enhancements ever since. Compare these photos to the ones I took in 2019 — click here.

One of my first trips to the Wharf after moving to California was as a tour guide for friends from Minnesota. They traveled widely and had a tradition of purchasing artwork (usually small and inexpensive) from each travel destination. We found a small gallery down near the far end of the Wharf where they were delighted with a couple of small water-color paintings — they already had a place in mind back home where they would be displayed.

That gallery was owned by an older gentleman named Mr. Purdy — and with repeated trips to Monterey, we became friends — even being invited to his home once to see his art collection. I also became a customer — in fact, there are two prints and a watercolor from his shop adorning my home as I write today's LAHP. Sadly he passed away some years ago and the art gallery was replaced with another business — but Mr. Purdy and his art gallery are always on my mind when I return to that spot on the Wharf.

A quick jog over to Carmel brings us to what is, in my humble opinion, one of the nicest beaches in all of California. The sand is so fine and so white that you might think we were somehow transported to Hawai‘i. However, if you put your bare feet in the water, you will quickly know that you are experiencing water from the California Current — not mid-Pacific waters. I just checked and today's water temperature at Carmel is 55° — brr, that's cold! My feet ache just thinking about it.

But still, it is so beautiful here that a walk on the beach is a necessity. If it's cold, bundle up and keep your shoes on — a wonderful walk awaits you.

If you make it all the way to the end of the beach, you will be close to the Walker House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The original owner, Mrs. Clinton Della Walker, asked Wright for a house designed “as durable as the rocks and as transparent as the waves”. If you look closely, just to the left of the center of the photo, just above the ocean, you can see a green roof above a rock wall — THAT'S IT! If your eyes or your monitor are not that acute, click here.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com