Discussion in 'West, Alaska and Hawaii' started by Swadian Hardcore, Oct 18, 2015.
Hey guys, I might get to do a quick trip to Monterrey/Big Sur. Never been there before. Should I go?
It is a beautiful area this time of year. Don't miss the drive along the ocean. There is a fee to drive the 17-mile drive in Monterey itself (note: just one "r"), but the Poor Man's drive along the coast in Pacific Grove is free. And the Aquarium and lighthouse in Pacific Grove, and the white sand beach and shopping in Carmel are also worth a visit.
I always mistake it for the Mexican Monterrey. Is it OK for me to just take transit? The MST 22 goes down to Nepenthe. I don't know where to get off, though. Just ride all the way to Nepenthe?
There's a little village before you get to Nepenthe, although Nepenthe is very nice. From just before the Village to Nepenthe, you're off the coast, though. The Point Sur light station on the way down is a good stop.
Wait, I'm not sure which locations you're talking about. I found Point Sur, but it appears to be deserted.
Info about the Point Sur light station is here:
Unfortunately, it's now closed for public tours. It's only by group reservation. Sorry about that. I've been down there on a group tour with my Rotary club -- didn't realise that's the only way to do it. My recollection is that it's pretty loosely wrapped, if you just wandered in with a group no one would probably care, but that's not realistic for planning purposes, particularly if you're on the bus.
If you want to just see the coast line as it goes by, the bus is a good way to do it. It's a very pretty ride. If you want get out and soak up the scenery, though, you might think about going to Pt. Lobos state park. The bus stop is right outside the entrance. Locals just park out on the road anyway and walk in. It's a nice way to get up close to the Big Sur kind of experience, and it's close to Carmel, so you're not on the bus all day. But it is a nice ride.
One thing about MST -- they change schedules a lot. Always check just before you go.
Enjoy the trip!
I guess I have two options:
1. Ride 22 all the way to Nepenthe, stay there for 4 hours, and ride 22 back to Monterey. But I don't know what to do at Nepenthe.
2. Ride 22 all the way to Nepenthe, ride it back immediately to Point Lobos, stay there for 4 hours, and then ride 22 back to Monterey.
In October, the 22 only runs two turns a day from Monterey to Nepenthe and back.
Should I go to the Aquarium? Everyone says it's great, but I'm not really interested.
What about Garrapata State Park?
Or you could get off in Big Sur village, hang out there for a little bit, catch the 22 on the way back, and then stop at Pt. Lobos. Or Garrapata -- that's a good choice too. Pt. Lobos is pretty much all (very pretty) seashore, Garrapata has beach and hills access. One advantage to Pt. Lobos is if you don't want to stay the whole 4 hours, it's a 2 - 3 miles walk back to Carmel, or at least other bus routes and restaurants and stores. It's a mile or two more to downtown.
Nepenthe is basically a resort. Not much to do there except spend money, IMHO. It's a very nice place to spend money, though. The village has more to it (but not a lot), and less expensive options for food and stuff.
Yes, everyone says you should go to the aquarium . It's a cool place, but if you're not interested in marine life and ecology, there might not be much interest. Some of the exhibits are pretty dramatic, though. It's at the far end of Cannery Row, which has been turned into Tourist Town USA. Other places to think about, if you're interested in historical sites, are Custom House plaza, Colton Hall and the cathedral, all in the general downtown Monterey area. Renting a kayak is fun, they give everyone a lesson before you go out. Adventures by the Sea is in Monterey on Del Monte Beach and at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove. It's fun to just hang out and watch the boats. You never know what's going to be there.
Do you have a particular interest in anything? Besides trains and buses, of course. Not much to see in that respect, although there's an old train line that goes along the coast, and through Cannery Row. One or two cars are on display, but never had much interest in them. The old Monterey station is a shop/deli now, not much to that.
Argh, I'd typed up a reply, but got logged out somehow.
So, anyway, Google Maps says I can't get off at Garrapata?
Edit: Is the Days Inn Monterey OK? Seems overpriced. How about the America's Beat Value Inn Seaside North?
Days Inn Monterey is fine, so is Motel 6, and everything in Monterey is overpriced. America's Best is a step or two down from Motel 6, which I have a high regard for, FWIW. Seaside is okay, just not the best neighborhood.
Check out accommodations in Marina. The 20 bus goes non stop on the freeway for the 5 miles between Marina and Seaside, through the former Ft Ord. Much nicer in Marina, so long as you're not in the immediate vicinity of Mortimer's, our premier local card room.
When will you be here?
If I go, it'll be in a few days.
How do I get from Reno to Marina? Or maybe Salinas? I know that if I go to Monterey, I'll take Greyhound to San Jose and the 55 to Monterey. But the 55 doesn't stop in Marina. Google Maps says I have to get off in San d City and transfer to the 20, essentially backtracking.
The CS has a bus connection at the Salinas station (ticketed through the Amtrak website) which travels to several stops in Monterey and Carmel. I have used it several times myself, both for a short day in Monterey and to get to a scientific conference at Asilomar.
But nothing from Reno connects to the CS.
Santa Cruz transit bus 17 from SJ to Santa Cruz, then the MST 78 to Marina, or MST 86 from SJ Amtrak to Salinas, then the 20 to Marina. Those are the other options via MST.
If you go to San Jose or SF airport, there's a shuttle that stops in Marina, it's $40 to $50 each way tho.
CS is the only train to Salinas, but there are thruway connections from Emeryville and SJ.
You can get to SJ Amtrak via Caltrain. If you're coming from Reno, the Zephyr (or thruway plus Capitol Corridor) will get you to Richmond, where you can walk across the platform to Bart, then xfer to Caltrain at Milbrae. Or go to SF and take a nice walk along the Embarcadero to the Caltrain terminal.
Another option from Sacto is to take the San Joaquin to Stockton, then the ACE train to SJ. That would be a pain to do because of scheduling, tho.
Duh. Forgot the obvious in my stream of consciousness answer:
CZ to Emeryville, Capitol Corridor to San Jose, 86 to Salinas, 20 to Marina (or Seaside or Monterey). If there's a chance to get on the Capitol Corridor before Emeryville, that's fine, but the reason to book through to Emeryville is in case the CZ runs late, like it did the last time I tried going from Reno to Marina. In that case, Plan B is to get off the CZ in Richmond, then take Bart to SFO, and the Monterey Airbus from there to Marina or Monterey. There's a late thruway to Salinas, but that arrives after the 20 is done for the night.
There is also an earlier thruway that'll get you to Sacto, and you can take the Capitol Corridor all the way to San Jose. Some day, the Capitol Corridor will extend all the way to Salinas, but I don't know if I'll live that long.
When I have the choice, I take the SCT17/MST 78 from San Jose to Marina, because it usually gives me a stop over in Santa Cruz, which is nice, and the ride down the coast is nicer than the ride down US 101, even if you don't see all that much of the ocean.
BTW, if you take the 55, you get off at Sand City, and then it's a 10 minute (or less) back track to Marina, once you're on the 20 bus. That's the catch -- sometimes it's nearly an hour wait for the 20. Depends on which bus and what day. Check the MST website -- they radically changed the 55 and 86 schedules in August and September, and there's no longer a late 55 from SJ Amtrak.
If you come down, let me know. If I'm in town (50/50 chance most weeks) I'd be happy to introduce you to a local brew pub or two.
Argh! The hotel sold out. Sorry, I guess I can't go. Thanks for the help, though.
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