This is part 7 of a collection of diary entries by Dennis Fuller (Vikki‘s dad) during his holiday in Los Angeles (from London), January 2005. Links to earlier entries at the end of this post.
Changed my mind about staying another night, packed my bags had some coffee in reception, cancelled the reservation and hit the road. Drove back past the wharf on to Cannery Row. Apparently this is a very famous road due to the author Steinbeck writing a book about it. Discovered that I could park free for an hour so had a little walk around. Drove down to the other end of the Row and parked on a meter, 25 cents for 15 minutes must remember to keep my Quarters. Looked in a couple of souvenir shops and bought some bits for the girls Pat, Vikki and Yurbee. Could not see anything that the boys would like, but plenty of time. This is also where the Aquarium is but not for me today.
Drove on along the Pacific Road to Asilomar Point, there are some huge waves here so just had to park up and do some cam cording. As I am going south instead of north I turned inland and found the Pacific Grove Post Office. Went in and found the price for sending Postcards to England is or was 70 cents, noticed they had a stamp dedicated to John Wayne so I bought a couple for my father in law who is a huge fan. Less than a pound but he will be delighted. Started to feel a bit peckish but the Restaurants here looked a bit to classy for my taste. I drove on a bit further and saw some nice looking, so pulled over into a bay marked free for 90 minutes (handy for footballers I thought). Moseyed around a furniture come bric-a-brac store and spotted some nice bits and pieces but there was no way they would fit into my suitcase.
Found a great looking little Deli, must have just hit right because I ordered a roast beef sarnie and suddenly there was a queue out the door behind me. I sat down and after a while asked the guy behind the counter what had happened to my coffee. He pointed over to the side and I saw all the machinery to go and make it for myself, love the idea but it can take me ages to decide what I want. The range is unbelievable, the Americans really take their coffee seriously, I eventually settled on a half roast with caramel and sweetened with honey that keeps you going. Sandwich!!! This is like a half of a soft French loaf with God knows how much beef, mayonnaise salad and pickles, I swear the plate it came on (wooden platter) was 12 inches in circumference. Going to find more of these it must be better for me than the constant fry-ups.
Left the deli and had a walk up the road, found a fruit shop so bought some bananas, found a huge antiques shop it was crammed with stuff over three floors, full size brass horses, furniture and all sorts of gear. Shame though the stuff I liked and could buy was too heavy to carry on to the plane and the rest was over priced, I mean Lledo and Corgi boxed cars and trucks were like twice the price I could buy them for in the catalogue back home, I am sure that these guys have not been told about E-bay.
Made my way back down to Cannery Row, found a bay with 2 hours free parking, I am getting good at this, so I had a stroll over to Fishermanís Wharf, did some cam cording and perused the souvenir shops. I cannot understand why Model Boats are so expensive here, I mean I am no expert but I have bought (model boats) all over Europe and even taking into account the exchange rate, American prices are like twice the price. Came across another shop (Balisteroís) opposite the Custom House that just seemed to have a nice atmosphere, sort of more genuine, and the prices seemed more reasonable. Saw a great little ìTug Boatî for a $110 and a wooden relief of a Harley Davidson with a Route 66 background $55. The guy actually weighed it for me 7 pounds in weight but I will get it on the plane one way or another. Thatís my souvenirs taken care of I will treasure them. Laugh I was packing them into the boot of the car when I realised that I had left my shirts back at the Motel.
I figured that they would be OK and decided to visit Dennis the Menace Park first. I could not actually go in as it is for minors but it looked great with a proper Steam Train on a length of track with youngsters climbing all over it. I asked a passer by to take a couple of photographs of me with the train and the Park sign in the background. Hope they come out OK. As I drove away there was a demonstration against Bush, it is his inauguration day, on Del Monte Avenue so I tooted my horn in support and got a rousing cheer in response. Got back to the Motel to get my shirts, the maid thought it was hilarious that she had cleaned the room and missed seeing them. Turned right and hit the Freeway for Santa Cruz, worst scenery I have seen so far on the trip, very flat and boring. It was dark before I got there and I screwed up, took the wrong exit mainly because none of them seemed to be signposted for Santa Cruz. I had a little cruise around before I chose my Motel as I want to be able to walk downtown to the bars and not have to worry about the Stratus. Decided on the Travelodge as they are having a reduction. I wanted to stay for two nights so they charged me an extra ten bucks for the weekend supplement, so $90 in all. Hung up my shirts and relaxed on the bed with a couple of cans of Coors, woke up an hour later feeling really good. Had a shave and a shower and a stroll around the block, found The Hindquarter Steak Grill & bar. The Hostess seated me in the restaurant with a menu; I chose the Black bean & Sausage soup for my starter very nice and a Half Rack of Beef for my main course. Bit daft really as my upper teeth are all false, but much to the amusement of others I managed to cut it up and eat it with my knife and fork, washed it all down with two 12oz glasses of Bud and the bill only came to $24. Took my second beer into the Bar and had a nice chat with the barman Michael, he was celebrating his last night working behind the bar, I offered to buy him a drink, but he refused and then later when I asked for a bottle of Coors he served it and said it was on him. Also had a great chat with Jade Raum the Assistant Manageress she gave me some great tips on where to go in Santa Cruz and gave me her card with a free beer for the next night. Doubt I will use it as I would rather keep it as a reminder. All in all, a nice day.