Fireworks Shows In the Monterey Bay Area.

Where Are They Having Fireworks In The Monterey Area

Okay as many of you know not too many cities are actually having a real live fireworks show this year. You know pyrotechnic. Bombs being shot into the air to explode in all their glory. Basically what we all did as kids on Fourth of July. A lot of things have led to this but mainly the cities got out of it due to cost and drought and fire danger. So where do you go if you actually want to see a real fireworks show in the Monterey Bay Area? 

New Hostel Coming to the Monterey Bay Area

There is A New Hostel Coming To The Monterey Area
Monterey Youth Hostel by Vineyard AdventuresHostelling International is building a new Monterey area hostel. They have all ready had the open house and are just waiting to retrofit a group of previously used military buildings on the former Fort Ord to be used as the the latest Monterey area Hostel. This hostel will be located in a great spot near the 8th and Giggling trailheads which is great for cyclists and also not too far from the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail which is great because you can easily get to Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, or Carmel on the Recreation Trail. 

Hostelling International 

Hostelling International currently has 27 youth Hostels located on the California West Coast and the Canadian West Coast so it is possible to basically Hostel hop your way from San Diego California to Whistler in Canada. If you time it right you can start out surfing and finish your trip Snowboarding in Whistler. In a future post I will list all the Hostels and their locations to help make a trip like this possible.
I am very happy to see another youth hostel in the Monterey area because the one in Monterey gets filled up quite often. Youth Hostel is kind of a misnomer in a name because people of all ages are welcome to stay in Youth Hostels around the world.
Monterey Youth Hostel, a photo by Vineyard Adventures on Flickr.


The Monterey Jazz Festival Is Back

The Monterey Jazz Festival is Back
sax2 by Daddy0hThe 2013 Monterey Jazz Festival is the 56th Annual Monterey Jazz festival. So needless to say the folks at the Monterey Jazz Festival have been doing this for awhile and know how to put on a good show. The Jazz Festival dates are Sept 20 - 22 2013. The Jazz Festival will feature over 500 artists performing on 8 stages nonstop for 3 nights and 2 days. These aren't just any old jazz musicians either they are the best in the business. 

 Book Your Jazz Festival Hotel Now At Bookit

What I like about this venue is you have all these Jazz greats in this small area so you are guaranteed to get a chance to see the artists that you want to see even if the schedule is pretty tight since the venues are so close together. 

Voted Best Jazz Fest
This event was voted the World's Best Jazz Festival By JazzTimes Magazine readers in 2006, 2007, 2008.  What more can you ask for these are the people that know their jazz. 

2013 Musicians At Monterey Jazz Festival

 Diana Krall
 Bobby McFerrin

Omara Portuondo

George Benson

Dave Holland

Joe Lovano

Gregory Porter

These Are Just a Few of The 500 Artists at The Monterey Jazz Fest.

So as you can see this is a pretty eclectic bunch of artists from several different generations of Jazz all in one place over one weekend in Monterey what can be better than that?


The Best Place To Have a Bonfire On The Beach

Carmel Beach Bonfire

Gathering around the bonfire by asmythieThe Best Beach in Monterey County to have a Bonfire is Carmel Beach. A Carmel Beach bonfire is truly an experience that every visitor and local should experience. Whether that is a romantic fire at the beach with your husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend or a group of friends that get together to enjoy the sunset at it drops into the ocean as your kids eat smore's by the fire. 

Rules For Carmel Beach Bonfires

UPDATE Carmel has updated it's rules for bonfires on the beach READ THIS

The City of Carmel has updated the rules governing bonfires on the beach. The new rules were put into place to help with air quality south of Carmel beach as well as to alleviate the problems of ash left of the beach after the fires.

  Hotels Near the Monterey Bay Aquarium 

Rules For Carmel Beach Bonfires

  1. The Hours for wood or propane fueled beach bonfires are from 4pm to 10pm.
  2. No Reservations are required to use the fire pits.
  3. Sharing of fire pits is highly encouraged. This just makes it better for everyone.
  4. Stairways and pathways must be used for entering and exiting the beach. No climbing up or down the bluff.
  5. Free Parking is allowed along Scenic Road and Del Mar parking lot until 12 midnight.
  6. Wood fueled fires are only allowed in fire pits supplied by the city of Carmel.
  7. Propane fueled fires are allowed at least 25 ft from the base of the bluff, from 8th Ave. South towards Martin way. 
  8. Do not burn driftwood.
  9. Charcoal fueled briquette fires are not allowed.
  10. Do not use water or sand to extinguish a bonfire let it burn itself out.
  11. Temporary structures such as tents canopies or similar enclosures are not allowed.
  12. Smoking is not permitted on the beach or scenic pathway.
  13. Consumption of alcohol is permitted only on the beach but not on the scenic pathway.
  14. Dogs on the beach must be on a leash or under voice command. Dogs on the scenic  pathway must be on a leash. Always clean up after your dog. 

  The main rule is you can only have a bonfire South of 10th ave. Anything North of 10 ave. is off limits for bonfires on the beach. Another thing is use firewood not old lumber or pallets etc. Simply because these have nails and metal debris in them that long after the fire is over kids and dogs  get stuck in their feet as they are playing on the beach. The size of your fire can only be 3 feet by 3 feet by 3ft. anything larger than that is not legal. All Fires must be put out by 10 pm. All fires must be further than 25 feet from the bluffs. All fires must be put out by water not just by piling sand over them. That is a big one. You want anyone running or walking their dog in the morning to be able to see where your fire was last night and if it's covered with sand possibly it could still be very hot. Nowadays the crowd having bonfires on Carmel beach is usually groups of family and friends so it is a very quiet crowd with lots of little kids running around skim boarding and playing in the water. The parents of these little kids are probably the same teenagers who used to have huge bonfire parties on the beach when they were in high school. So to say the least the crowd on the beach has mellowed over the years a lot. This is really a great experience whether you are just visiting or have lived here forever.

Carmel Beach Bonfires Rules List  I'm Here On Vacation How Do I have a Bonfire On the Beach.

If you are here on vacation and you want to have a bonfire on Carmel Beach there's a few ways you can do it depending on you accommodations. Now if you are staying in a Vacation Home Rental then it's pretty simple you can get firewood from the wood stacked up where you staying if your rental has a fireplace. Now if you are staying at a hotel this is a bit more difficult you simply need to go to a convenience store or grocery store that sells firewood in a box. Now while your at the grocery store pick up marshmallows, Chocolates, and graham crackers for smore's. you also need a 5 gallon bucket of water to put out your fire. Oh and get some of those metal marshmallow roasters that extend to roast your marshmallows on and you and your loved ones will have the best Bonfire on Carmel Beach.


California Artichoke Declared State Vegetable

The California Artichoke Declared California State Vegetable
dainties (CC) by marfis75     How did this come about? Well the Artichoke was declared the California state vegetable stemming from a contest that started on KGO 810 radio in San Francisco they were talking to the Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom about declaring a state food. So they decided to have a little contest each of the nominees which were California Artichokes, California Avocado's, Crab, Wine Grapes, Sourdough Bread, and California Wine Grapes each had a spokesperson come on the radio and give a passionate speech about why there selected food or wine as it were should become the new California State Food. Then KGO Radio started taking votes on their Facebook page for each of the entrants. Well it turns out that the Mighty California Artichoke beat them all I think mainly because of the passionate speech of it's spokesperson I don't know her name but she certainly expanded my horizons about Artichokes. 

Gavin Newsom's Proclamation

The lieutenant Governor being the politcian that he is not only proclaimed the Artichoke as the state vegetable but also the avocado as the state fruit and the almond as the state nut and rice and the state grain. This was all kind of tongue in cheek as hey what are you going to do to exercise your power while the Governor is out of the country and you have the full power of the office of Governor. This will be a great thing for Watsonville which is already the Artichoke Capital of the World. But now it's truly official. The California Artichoke is The California State Vegetable.
dainties (CC), a photo by marfis75 on Flickr.


Take A Hot Lap Around Laguna Seca On Your Bike

Laguna Seca Twilight Rides Are Back

Twilight ride by zr750The Twilight Ride program is back in full swing again. If you have never heard of this it's basically you bring your bike out to Laguna Seca and you get the thrill of riding the same track that normally your are only a spectator for. If you have someone in your family that is a cyclist this might just be that little something different they could try or if they are a die hard racing fan this is definitely a good thing to try out. A lap around Laguna Seca on a bike is great a gentle uphill around the front part of the course till you get to the world famous Corkscrew that is truly a blast. You will definitely do this more than once. 

What to Bring to Twilight Ride at Laguna Seca

Your bike basically any bike will do for this I have seen a lot of kids and adults on Mountain Bikes and a lot of road racing bikes and they are fast all the way down to I have seen a kid on a bmx bike do the track. Bring your Helmet this is a must. The cost is $10.00 and bring some food and drinks. 

The Dates for Laguna Seca Twilight Rides
  • Wednesday March 13th     Wednesday April 10th      Wednesday May 8th
  • Wednesday June 12th        Wednesday July 10th        Tuesday Aug. 13th
  • Friday Sept 6th                  Wednesday October 16th        
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Twilight ride, a photo by zr750 on Flickr.


Fort Ord National Monument A True Gem Of Monterey County

Fort Ord National Monument
In July of 2012 President Barack Obama designated Fort Ord as a National Monument. For the hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders who have been coming to Fort Ord and using this open space to enjoy nature almost since the moment the base closed  this is a wonderful thing. It protects this open space forever. Parts of the old Fort Ord will be developed however and it's nice to know that there are these open spaces that will remain open to enjoy your pastimes. So the most notable changes since Fort Ord became a national Monument is the signage and the new trail heads with parking facilities and bathrooms at hwy 68 which is much like the trail head at Creekside Terrace. Other than more construction to help more people gain access and improved trail maps that are in color instead of the old ones that were hand drawn, for the average user there is not much change. However at the Hwy. 68 trail head I have noticed a sizable uptick in the amount of traffic most notably cyclists which is a good and a bad thing. It's nice to see more people cycling but when it was just a dirt lot there were always only a few cars cyclists. Now when I say I am seeing more traffic you can still get away and be all by yourself. Fort Ord has so many trails and different riding areas that it's easy to spend a few hours and not see anyone else if you don't want to. 
Fort Ord sign by Conservation Lands Foundation 
Fort Ord Trail Map

There are always trail maps at all trail heads but it's always nice to just print one out and put it in your pack just in case you should get lost. 

How to Enter Fort Ord National Monument
The main trail heads of Fort Ord National Monument are Creekside Terrace off of Hwy 68 and Reservation Rd. Then there is the Hwy 68 entrance with all new bathroom facilities and a new parking area for cars and horse trailers. This side is probably the best to go if you have very small children on bikes simply due to the flatness of the trails and also how wide they are. If you come here with your kids once you enter the trails go to the right and you will go behind the houses in Toro Park and along the edge of Toro Creek. This trail is flat and wide all the way. You will come to a school and then get ready it's a downhill and through the creek and up the other side your kids will love this. If instead of turning right you go left you are headed into some nice uphills that will give you a very good workout.
Laguna Seca Entrance
You can also enter the Fort Ord National Monument at Laguna Seca. This is an area of steeper hills and faster trails but it's very fun. Many of these trails are where they hold the Sea Otter Classic which is coming up soon. So if you are entering the Sea Otter you might want to look at the old trail maps and get out to Fort Ord and practice and this can be the year you place at the Sea Otter Classic. 
From Hwy 1 
You can enter Fort Ord from Hwy one in the Gigling Road and Watkins Gate Road area. This is a really great riding area it seems to go on and on forever and it goes from flat to rolling hills but it will keep you busy with just the sheer amount of trails you can cover out here.

This is the place to go mountain biking if you are coming to the Monterey Area. I highly recommend all of these areas and I personally ride them frequently. 

Whats Your Favorite Trail or Trails on Fort Ord To Ride?

It seems well all have our favorites in Fort Ord what is your favorite trail or group of trails because people are always asking me what trails to go take on Fort Ord what are some that are favorite and some that should also be mentioned  leave you answers in the comments 

What Is The Future For Fort Ord?
The future for Fort Ord was largely sealed on approval by the President to make Fort Ord an National Monument. However many cities still hold right to hundreds of acres of open space and in the past they have tried to do things with this open space such as build a bus facility in an oak woodland when they have areas of Fort Ord that are all ready fully developed. That plan was ultimately stopped however other plans are on the drawing boards for this area such as a Horse Racing Facility on a few hundred acres of open space land. There are groups that are fighting this proposal as well such as the group If you support keeping Fort Ord as open space and not fully developed then check it out. 

What To Watch Out For At Fort Ord

Okay Fort Ord is an old Military installation and it was a training base so basically the military probably fired millions of rounds of ammunition at this base. Much of these old munitions have been cleared but many hundreds of acres are not clear. Don't worry they are very well marked with signage telling you stay away unexploded ordinance etc. So basically don't pick up anything at Fort Ord that you cannot identify because chances are it could be old ordinance no matter how cool it looks or even if it would look nice on your mantel it could explode. Note now I know this sounds like you will be finding bombs everywhere you look. I have ridden Fort Ord for years and haven't found any unexploded ordnance.

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