Destination: Pacific Grove and Monterey, California

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I’m nearing San Francisco, but first, I’ll pass through Pacific Grove on my way north. It is here that monarchs, the most widely recognized of the North American butterflies, gather each winter. Thousands travel from southern climes to settle in this small coastal area, migrating as per the season as birds do. The monarchs are such an icon of Pacific Grove, it is against the law to cause them harm and the fine for doing so is $1,000.

I’m here in Pacific Grove, separated from the freeway and winding my way through stop-and-go streets to see the sights in person. Half wandering and having not paid attention to where or how far I’ve driven, I suddenly arrived into downtown Monterey.

The two cities are adjacent to each other and meld more subtly than I’d imagined. There was no sign to officially welcome visitors; instead, tourist traffic near the famous Monterey Aquarium told me where I’d landed. So did the inability to park. Anywhere. I bypassed the tourist district and drove along. There would be no butterflies today.

Timing is everything. In an hour I had driven through two small cities I’d always wanted to see, but had not been able to experience the reasons I’d wanted to see them; the butterflies were out for the season, and the aquarium was a madhouse.

I have little to say about these two cities because I barely touched them. I’ve been on the road a while and am tired, and my spirits are a bit low; it’s a fine match to the gray sky. I have other drives to think about now; following this stopover, I’m headed up the western edge of the peninsula, through Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay and several small communities I’ve never seen before as I approach San Francisco.

I have little to no images of Pacific Grove or Monterey, so enjoy a preview of my next post to come:

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Learn more about Pacific Grove here and Monterey here.

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