This place - America - is enormous. I did know this before. I've seen maps. But you don't take it in until you decide to head off somewhere for the day and drive much much further than you would ever think of if you were still in the UK. I know there are people in Britain who drive 3 hours each way for a day out but I've always thought they were a bit daft. But here there seem to be bigger gaps of not much to look at or do between the bits you want to visit.
It's Spring break and we headed down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Monday in an enormous Zipwagon - one of those people movers with rows of seats. The drive down was straight down the 280 and 101 freeways past the suburbs of the peninsula and in drizzly rain so not much visibility. I don't think we really saw Monterey. We headed straight to the Aquarium which is on Cannery Row - yes the Cannery Row of Steinbeck fame - which is now a very touristy tacky stretch of buildings offering the usual souvenirs. The Aquarium itself was excellent which is a good thing as I joined the family as members before we went so we have to go again. Pictures below. Looking at sealife is fascinating and strangely also made me feel travelsick - I think it's all the movement behind glass with nothing to ground your vision. Or something.
On the way home we headed up the coast past small strawberry farms and huge fields of globe artichokes. The 1 is a lovely road curving north with views of lighthouses, small valleys, cliffs and beaches. We stopped for dinner at Half Moon Bay - a small and upmarket resort just south of SF - and then headed inland to the 280, again passing small farms, green fields, nurseries of plants. So it turns out there are lovely things to look at in the gaps but you have to take time to find them, and until you've been here a while you may not know they're there.