Quaff, oh quaff this kind Nepenthe
And forget the lost Lenore.
– “The Raven”, Edgar Allen Poe
On Sunday, we enjoyed a family outing, where Dad, Chris, Anne and I all drove south along Route 1 from Monterey to Big Sur. Our destination was the restaurant, Nepenthe. It was a beautiful day, if a trifle warm at 89°. In Saint Louis this kind of heat would be sweltering, but out here on the left-coast, with only 20% humidity, it is merely warm and not too hot, if you are in the shade. Still on such a day, hundreds of residents of the Golden State flocked to the coast, almost like lemmings, inching ever closer to the highway’s cliffs, which are situated high above the sea. It is a beautiful drive that features a twisting and swooping road that has been featured repeatedly in almost every auto manufacture’s commercials. While driving, I took note of the unusually high percentage of convertibles on the road. More than a few of my fellow drivers were wishing that they could duplicate the same kind of freewheeling driving style that is featured in those ads. Unfortunately, I was in front of them. I may be slow, but I’m in front of you! Also of note were the tell-tale signs of this summer’s Soberanes fire, which is still ongoing. We saw smoke from the fire in the distance, when we turned back onto my Dad’s street. On the drive south, we saw burned spots high up on the hills that occasionally had crept down to the road. Both Molera and Pfeiffer state parks were still closed. They are operating as firefighting camps. The Soberanes fire is now the most expensive fire in US history. This cost is primarily due to the inaccessibly of the Los Padres National Forest. Firefighters are hoping for containment later this week. We arrived at Nepenthe early enough to not only get a parking spot, but also rather quickly a table. Mom and Dad have been coming to this restaurant since the mid-fifties and Chris and I not too much later. In honor of this, our waiter handed us each a sample of the original 1949 menu. Back then, today’s $17.50 Ambrosia Burger was only 60¢ – “Like a Phoenix bird’s egg in a nest, it is served in a basket with shoestrings [French fries] (not including the one we started on).”
Today, we head to Yosemite. We’ll be staying in the park, but outside the valley floor, in a motel. We could watch the big debate tonight, or we could watch the sunset on Half Dome. Decisions, decisions… 😉