Friday, July 15, 2011

If we blink we might miss him

"I smell onions...." sniffed Mr. Hall. The little rental was whizzing down the highway as the GPS directed them to breakfast. "Um.. you're almost right," corrected Mrs. Hall, and she pointed to the flags lining the main drag. Gilroy, the peaceful little villa where they had bed down last night, was avidly advertising their greatest claim to fame. "Have you ever heard of the Famous Gilroy Garlic Festival before?" But Mrs. H. shook her head. "It's too bad, but I'm afraid we won't be in town to check it out." said Mr. Hall. Happily, the breakfast menu at Mimi's did not include garlic with their delightful lemon poppyseed pancakes. Scraping off the last sticky bits, they hit the road again.
The Halls were on their way down the coast to the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio in Monterey. Because of scheduling difficulties, they only had a few hours to see Master Ian before he had to board a plane off to Miramar and Mrs. Hall was determined to make the most of that time. But since he wouldn't be getting out until the afternoon, Mr. Hall wanted to show her the Monterey coastline and Cannery Row. A pleasant breeze blew along the winding paths. While the hotels looked lovely and inviting, most of the streets seemed given over to the usual touristy teeshirt and tschotske sales. A cursory effort was made by the local historians to inform visitors, but it seemed a little lame; ice cream shops and shot glasses bearing John Steinbeck's visage hardly seemed to bear any relation to the area's gritty early history.

Freedom for Ian came at 3:30, and after all the hugging and handshaking was over, he took them over to his quarters and showed them around for alittle bit. Marine Corps life agreed with him and to Mrs. Hall's delight, he looked healthy and happy. They had just enough time for a quick bite and a trip to the airport; they delivered him into the arms of the Canadair Regional Jet and he was off.
Mr. Hall wanted to stay and watch a few more light aircraft take off; he was in the middle of relating an old work story about having flown into this very airport when Mrs. Hall theatrically stifled a yawn and mentioned they still had very far to go. Firing up the rental they resumed their trip down the coast.
The hour was late, and a marine layer was trying to come in. Mr. Hall worried the view would be compromised along Highway 1, but he needn't have fussed. Racing along at a healthy clip, Mrs. Hall could clearly see the road clinging to the side of the jagged rocks and mountains, and the shoulder on the right falling off into 1000 foot cliffs along side the car. "Big Sur is beautiful, even in this weather," remarked Mrs. Hall, admiring the beauty of the rugged rocks and surf. "But if you're going fast just to impress me, that's okay. You can take the highway a little more slowly if you like." He noticed she never took her eyes off the side of the road. "Are you worried about my driving, my dear?" he asked, and even though she waved off the suggestion as preposterous, she still managed to keep a deathgrip on the swing handle on the door of the car.
By the time they had run the course of Highway 1's spectacular drive, it was getting dark. They pulled into their hotel in San Luis Obispo, exhausted. "That's some of the most dramatic coastline you'll ever see, " remarked Mr. Hall, as brought in their luggage, but as he caught her dozing on the bed already, it was clear the only landscape Mrs. Hall was going to be seeing was the insides of her eyelids. Next episode: Slumming on Rodeo Drive. Stay tuned!

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