Monday, June 1, 2015

"Lions and Tigers and Bears"...by Jim Terry

While surfing the net the other day, I noticed a picture from a famous movie known to most of us…”The Wizard of Oz.”  As you recall, Dorothy, the main character in the movie, is swept away by a tornado only to experience a remarkable journey in a world very much different from what she was used to.  While there, she met and conversed with munchkins, saw flying monkeys and followed a yellow brick road to the Emerald City.  During her adventure, she also had many different experiences with people, fictitious characters and even encountered “lions and tigers and bears”…well maybe not all of those animals, but certainly a cowardly lion.  And since it is now OFFICIALLY the travel season and we all like to be swept away and experience our own journeys known as “family vacations”, I wanted to provide you with a suggestion of something to do.

I recently took a trip down the California coast to a sleepy little coastal town known as Monterey.  Monterey is located about two hours south of the San Francisco area.  If you have the time and are an adventurous personality, I would HIGHLY recommend forgoing the major freeways and take Highway 1 south instead.  It will definitely take you more time to reach your destination but then you will be able to see the lighthouses that are frequent along the coast, smell the salty air, gaze at the cliffs that plummet into the Pacific Ocean below, andif you want to stopcan even experience the sand on your feet and in between your toes.  

Once you finally reach Monterey you can then head to the aquarium, stroll along cannery row and head over to their version of “Fisherman’s Wharf.”  As you meander down the boardwalk you will notice all of the traditional gift shops and restaurants that one may expect in a “tourist trap,” but at the end of the pier is where I found the “diamond in the rough”…Monterey Bay Whale Watch. I had seen photos, watched videos and heard the stories about whales breaching the water, but now I was ready for my own journey to begin.

As I boarded the ship for my four-hour tour, I must admit that I was bursting with excitement…I seriously was like a kid in a candy store or definitely like a kid on Christmas morning.  I had experienced plenty of nature before since I grew up by Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, but never in my day had I experienced, let alone anticipated, how exhilarating it might be to see a FORTY TON mammal leap from the water. 



The seas were a bit rough and cold that day but each person that turned yellow and threw up, each crash of the waves on the bow of the ship that tried to drench my camera and its lens, and every cold splash of water that was lanced against my face from the piercing wind, only made me more determined to get what I paid for…”an EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME.”

So without further adieu, I will let the collage associated with today’s blog speak for itself in whether or not you think I saw anything or got what I paid for.   I will say just one thing though, “I, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, did have an experience in a world that was foreign to me but definitely turned out extraordinary, impressive and remarkable in the end.  And even though I didn’t see ‘lions and tigers and bears’, I did see…sea lions and dolphins and whales!”

“Some Journeys Take Us Far From Home.  Some Adventures Lead Us To Our DESTINY!”  ~C.S. Lewis~