Pigeon Point

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The other day I left Monterey, CA and headed to San Francisco for a few days. This was the last leg of a 9 day summer road trip. Instead of taking a faster route, I decided to take California State Route 1 along the coast. I knew it was going to add extra time, but it would be worth it.

Along the way I saw a lighthouse in the distance. I had no idea which one it was, but I knew I was going to stop. As I got closer, I saw a sign that said Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park.

I turned off the road and headed toward a small dirt and gravel parking lot. There were about ten cars there and a few people walking around.

I got out of my car and was surprised at how windy it was. The sky was overcast along the coast, but there was a hint of blue to the east. The lighthouse had a chain link fence around it and was closed to the public. The white paint was showing its age and was in need of a facelift. The sign in front said the property was owned by the state and there were plans for a restoration.

There was a pathway from the lighthouse between two buildings to a cliff. I walked that way and was rewarded with a spectacular view of the rocky coast with its crashing waves and strong wind. It was truly an amazing place to be.

It turned out the location was named after an old ship that ran aground off the coast in 1853. The ship’s name was Carrier Pigeon and the area was named Pigeon Point in honor of her. The lighthouse was first lit in 1872 and at 115 feet is one of the tallest in the United States.

I’m glad I stopped. You just never know what you’re going to run across on a road trip. It’s not the destination that’s important. It’s the journey.

My vacation and Hurricane Carlos

A view of the ship from a water taxi in Cabo.

A view of the ship from a water taxi in Cabo.

I just spent a week on the cruise ship Carnival Miracle that left out of Long Beach, CA. The itinerary was for us to stop at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. It sounded like a good plan, right?

Well, Hurricane Carlos had different plans for my cruise ship when it decided to head toward two of my ports of call.

We left port last Saturday afternoon and by Sunday the cruise director made an announcement about a change in the itinerary. Our first stop was supposed to be at Cabo San Lucas on Monday morning, but that was all up in the air until they could figure out if we could divert to a different port.

By Monday afternoon, we were headed to Puerto De Pichilingue in the City of La Paz, Mexico.

Pichiwhat?

The Port of Pichilingue

The Port of Pichilingue

I didn’t even know where La Paz was until I saw it on a map before we docked. At that point anything was good because we had been on the ship for two and a half days.

When we docked, the skies were a rich blue without a cloud in sight. It was warm and the hills around the port looked like a barren desert. I was a little skeptical when I got on a tour bus to head into the “city,” which was about thirty minutes away.

Along the way there were beautiful beaches, which were untouched by development. Once we got to La Paz, I could tell this area had a lot of potential and was rich in history. All it needed was a few resorts and it would be a place where people would want to visit.

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Our next stop was Cabo San Lucas, which was everything it was supposed to be. If you’ve never been there it should be on your bucket list. It was hot and the water was perfect for our snorkeling excursion. One day is Cabo wasn’t enough.

A stop in Cabo wouldn’t be complete without some bargaining in the tourist area. My wife wanted a bracelet that was $25. I offered $10. The vender went down to $13 and then $12, but I held firm at $10.

Apparently my wife wasn’t paying attention to my bargaining skills because she said, “Thirteen dollars sounds good.”

The vendor smiled and acted like he won. I gave him a brake check and said,  “Twelve dollars.” He finally gave up accepted my money. That was the funniest part of the trip.

The last stop was in Ensenada, which the cruise director said was his favorite port in the whole world. Of course, he said it as a joke. Ensenada is Ensenada. There’s not much to say about it. I went there 15 years ago on a 3-day cruise with a couple of friends. We only made it to the bar Papas and Beer on that trip. Yesterday the drive in Ensenada showed the city is still torn up from the floor up.

As we left port yesterday, I reflected on my trip as my son and I looked across the bay from the Lido Deck (9th floor). It wasn’t the perfect vacation, but it was still nice to get away.

Hopefully there won’t be any hurricanes on my next vacation.

I need a vacation!

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  1.  Passports
  2. Boarding pass
  3. Luggage
  4. Sunscreen
  5. Hat
  6. Book
  7. Wife
  8. Kids

That’s what my list looks like for a seven day cruise to the Mexican Rivera. Everything is packed and I’m ready to go.

Will I miss work? Yes and no. I’ll miss the laughs with my friends more than some of the nonsense that happens every night.

I still have passion for the job, but right now I’d rather have the wind in my face and the sea air in my lungs as we watch the sun setting over the horizon from the highest deck of our cruise ship.

For seven straight days there will be no blood, broken bones, abrasions, car accidents, tow trucks, street closures or fatal collisions. There won’t be any liars, drunk drivers, hit and runs or complaining from someone who can’t believe they’re at fault for the collision. There also won’t be any code 3 driving or report forms to fill out. It will just be “John Time.”

So, back to the original question. Will I miss it?

Part of me will because the job is part of me as much as I’m part of it. But the other part can shut the police world away because I won’t have a care in the world.

So, when my ship sets sail on Saturday at 4:30PM Los Angeles time, I’ll have a strawberry margarita for you guys that still have to work. Who knows, I might even have another as we sail off into the sunset.

Stay safe out there.