After picking up our rental car, it was time to begin mobile touring! Order of the day: head south on Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway. Moving right along, to the Pigeon Point lighthouse.
This lighthouse was built in 1871, to guide ships on the Pacific coast of California. It’s the tallest lighthouse (tied with Point Arena Light) on the West Coast of the USA. And, it’s still an active Coast Guard aid to navigation. Pigeon Point Light Station is located on the coastal highway (State Route 1), 5 miles south of Pescadero, CA, between Santa Cruz and San Francisco. The 115-foot, white masonry tower, resembles the typical New England structure.
Then to Monterey, CA,, site of Cannery Row, and the Cannery Row Information Center.
The following info was retrieved from various online sources, as my knowledge of the western rails is unfortunately sadly lacking.
The Monterey Branch was built in 1879 and opened to traffic on January 1, 1880; it linked San Francisco to the Hotel Del Monte and Pebble Beach. It branched from the Southern Pacific Coast Line main line from a wye at Castroville, just north of Salinas. It extended generally south and west, and served the (now closed) US Army’s Fort Ord, the canneries and packing houses of Monterey and Seaside, and a lumber yard in Pacific Grove.
As the line began to fall into disuse, starting in the 1980s as the sardine industry contracted, and into the 1990s, operations along the track were cut back over time. By the latter part of 1980s, the condition of the track had deteriorated considerably; today the track remains, but is buried underneath the bike trail.
The last train that ran on the line was in 1999 when TAMC (Transportation Agency of Monterey County) ran a Talgo trainset on the line for demonstration purposes. However, the demonstrations were cut short due to the poor condition of the track. While the tracks are still in place into the town of Monterey, the line was officially severed in November of 1999, when Union Pacific removed the switch at the junction with the Coast Line at Castroville.
This green 50-ton Railway Post Office car, built in 1924 and eventually retired, served as a post office until 1990, then a restaurant, and finally the Welcome Center for Monterey. And it was in decent shape when we visited. But in 2012, it left the Cannery Road siding and was transported by flatbed truck from Monterey to Salinas, where it will be fully restored as a permanent exhibit at a museum next to the Amtrak station.
Remember “back in the day”, that boring old book you had to read in school, by John Steinbeck – called Cannery Row?
Cannery Row is the waterfront street in the New Monterey section of Monterey, California. It’s the site of a number of now-defunct sardine canning factories. The street name, formerly a nickname for Ocean View Avenue, became official in January 1958 to honor John Steinbeck and his 1945 novel Cannery Row.
Courtesy of Goodreads, there is a short review of the book, for those who may have forgotten about it: Cannery Row is an attempt to capture the feeling and people of a place, the cannery district of Monterey, California, which is populated by a mix of those down on their luck and those who choose for other reasons not to live “up the hill” in the more respectable area of town. The flow of the main plot is frequently interrupted by short vignettes that introduce us to various denizens of the Row, most of whom are not directly connected with the central story.
The “story” of Cannery Row follows the adventures of Mack and the boys, a group of unemployed yet resourceful men who inhabit a converted fish-meal shack on the edge of a vacant lot down on the Row.
Enough…it’s time to move on. But, still in the general area of Monterey, is this beautiful area called Cypress Point Lookout, and this view shows the “Lone Cypress.”
The Lone Cypress is a Monterey cypress tree in Pebble Beach, CA. Standing on a granite hillside just off the 17 mile drive, it’s a Western icon, and has been called one of the most photographed trees in North America. It’s located between Cypress Point Club and the Pebble Beach Golf Links, which are two of world’s best-known golf courses. Possibly as old as 250 years, this cypress has been scarred by fire and has been held in place with cables for 65 years. Monterey cypress grows naturally only in Pebble Beach and Point Lobos.
A drawing of the tree was registered as Pebble Beach Company’s trademark in 1919. The company said the trademark protected not only the logo but also the tree itself.
Onward to Carmel-By-The-Sea on the Pacific Coast Highway. A fun stop was the Doud Craft Studio, with a lot of nice gifts to see – and buy! Fortunately we didn’t have a lot of space in our suitcases, so not much new was purchased.
And then there’s quaint fire station #15, also in Carmel-By-The-Sea:
This beautiful fire station dates back to the mid 1930s and sits in the heart of downtown Carmel. Three members staff Engine 15, while Carmel Fire Ambulance has an additional two employees on the same shift schedule. The two ambulance employees per shift, while not officially part of our department, are trained in the Monterey Fire Academy and respond along with Engine 15 to all calls, as well as mutual aid to the greater Carmel area.olores.
From Carmel, it was time to move further south along the PCH. Not far from Carmel is this historic mission:
Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo was the second mission founded of the Alta California Missions. It became a critical building for the success of the missions and, ultimately, the headquarters for the expansion of the ministry under Father Serra. The mission was founded in 1770 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1966
But wait, there’s more! Volume 4 to follow soon!