What happened next…


After the hamburger at the 17th Street Grille in Pacific Grove, it was time to find a place to rest our weary heads, so I booked us a room at a Motel 6 in Monterey. As soon as I gave Vanessa the GPS gal the address, she had us there in less than 10 minutes.

Turned out later that we could have had a little nicer location at another Motel 6 on the other side of town, but that’s what happens when you just don’t know the locale. We were close to the airport, and for the first hour or so I noticed every plane that took off. After that, they either stopped fling (not bloody likely!) or I stopped noticing.

In addition, I had almost no bars on the phone inside our motel room, so I had to go outside to call my daughter and report in. That prompted a delightful walk through a sweet neighborhood of little California bungalows, all on quiet winding streets with mostly interesting landscaping.

The next morning, after we checked out I tried to find a local espresso place rather than rely on my old friend Starbucks. I found one, not too far away in Pacific Grove. It didn’t have an outside terrace for Max to be able to join me, so I got my double latté and a Danish to go, and we set off for the dog park.

What’s out there, boy? Max is ready to get going in Monterey…


I feel so grateful to my iPhone, and to whoever created that great little app AROUND ME. They have helped me locate so many dog parks, restaurants, Starbucks,… Monday’s experience was no exception.

I love this sign! Whose limbs are at risk? Do your arms feel weak? Ha!


We easily found the dog park, and there were a couple of little dogs inside when we arrived. Before too long, a few more dogs arrived – more Max’s size and energy level. Once again, Max spent a pleasant hour playing ball, and chasing other dogs before getting back in the car to go to Cannery Row before leaving Monterey:

In honor of Steinbeck and Charley – we HAD to go to Cannery Row and pose by the sign for the John Steinbeck Wax Museum before having lunch.


The only place that would allow Max on the patio while I had lunch was Bubba Gump’s, so that’s where we had lunch. I’ve resisted them since I saw the first one way back in South Carolina somewhere, but when it’s time to eat, and you want your canine friend to be able to sit with you…

Well, it was really good. I had a tasty fish sandwich, fries, Margarita, and key lime pie before we walked back to the car to head for San Francisco.

Vanessa had her idea about how to get there, and I had mine. I seemed to remember a nice route from Santa Cruz that wound through some hilly countryside, with eucalyptus and pine trees all around, and that’s how I wanted to go. So, once again, I had to deal with Vanessa telling me to “go 2.5 miles and take Exit blah blah on right.” Before she got it and let me have my way! Route 17 was just as I remembered it, but foggy in places – and I mean dense fog! Still, it was a beautiful drive, and not stressful in spite of the fog.

When we were about 40 miles from San Francisco, I called Bill to give him an update on our arrival. From then on, we were in pretty heavy traffic, and we finally arrived at his place on – surprise! – a steep hill.

He’s located in a great neighborhood, and I have an excellent view across the hilly streets near Twin Peaks. For now, I’m happy to be off the road for a while, and I think Max is too. I haven’t seen Bill for 2-1/2 years, so it was really nice to be here and have time to talk with him.

For the past three days, I couldn’t figure out how to get onto the internet here – no WIFI, and my laptop refused to connect through Bill’s Ethernet connection. I kept thinking I’d go to a WIFI café or hotspot and post to the blog, but it just never happened Then, last night I tried again and was able to get online!

So, what have we been doing for all those days?

Mostly we’ve been enjoying some downtime. Lots of dog park visits – two different parks on Tuesday. In the morning we went to Douglass Park which is only 10 blocks from Bill’s house. I was going to walk it, when I happened to look out the window – I could see the trees of the park not so far from us. But, this is San Francisco, and the hills between here and there are mighty steep. I’m not ashamed to admit that I bailed on that idea and drove over,

It’s been raining off and on in San Francisco since Sunday, so the dog park was pretty muddy. By the time we were through, the ball was a disgusting wet, brownish thing that bore no resemblance to the blue and red one we took in with us! And Max’s feet were pretty dirty too.

We had a plan to meet my friend Catherine at Mud Puppies at Point Isabelle in Berkeley at 4:15 for a great off-leash walk before she and I would go to dinner. Vanessa did another great job getting us there, but I misjudged how much traffic there would be, so we were 15 minutes late.

What a great place to take a dog – in a city – for an off-leash walk! I was able to unclip his leash within 50 feet of the parking area, and feel confident that he was safe. He took off down the path to greet some dogs, then came back to check in. After a “good boy!” and “Okay!” from me, he continued greeting, playing, and returning as we went along.

Catherine and I had a chance to catch up on news – she sold her house, had a yard sale, packed up, and move into a condo since I saw her in December. We had walked quite a way when Max spotted an Egret down an embankment in shallow water. He was set to go after it, when I shouted “NO!” and he actually listened!

Catherine suggested it might be time to turn around as we were coming to where it was pretty muddy, and he’d really get dirty paws. We were on our way back when the wind took a small black plastic bag over the edge of the embankment and Max was gone like a shot after it.

For me, the mud was the least of my worries. I was more concerned that he might hurt himself (it was probably 15 feet to the bottom), or keep going over to the other side – which would have put him way out of my voice control. Fortunately, when he started sinking into the mud about six inches, he turned back and came up to us again.

We took him to a hose and cleaned him up, then continued back to the cars. After he was in his crate – with his supper dish – I followed Catherine to Solano Avenue in Berkeley where we had dinner at a fabulous place called Fonda: a perfect Mojito for me, guacamole and chips, superb tortilla soup with smoky grilled chicken, and broccoli left us both sated.

Wednesday, Bill took Max, and me on a tour of his house projects. After I cleared out the front passenger seat for Bill, we were off for what turned out to be a wonderful day – mostly sunshine.

He’s been buying and rehabbing houses in San Francisco for as long as I’ve known him (15 years?), and he’s now in the finishing stage on two. The first one he took us to is in the Portola neighborhood, and it’s a lovely 3-bedroom with a nice backyard that he plans to terrace. He pays great attention to the period details, so when he finishes his rehabs, they are true to their history, immaculately done down to the last little bit of trim… If I lived here, I’d want to own one of Bill’s houses!

Next, we headed for the Bay Bridge to go over to Oakland to see his other two properties. The first one sits on a corner double lot with orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees as well as a rose garden, so that’s a plus in anyone’s book right there.

The house is a 4-bedroom, 1920s Edwardian, with really good proportions. It’s in the process of getting a kitchen update, needs painting, and some tile work in the bathrooms. The last house is waiting for the crew to finish with the others, and is probably in need of the least work to get it ready for rental or sale.

It sits about 15 steps up from the street, with large rooms, a decent back yard with deck, and three bedrooms upstairs. At some point, it had wall to wall carpeting installed, and we pulled up a corner to discover there are good wood floors underneath. He plans to refinish the floors, put in a new kitchen, tile the baths, paint , and it’s ready.

It was mostly sunny all the while we were in Oakland, but we could see that San Francisco was “in the clouds” and probably getting rain. Max and I were grateful for the sunshine!

Before we headed back over the bridge, Bill took us on a little driving tour around the Lake Merritt area and we stopped for frozen yogurt, sitting on a bench in the sun to enjoy them.

We planned to go to another dog park when we got back to San Francisco, but it was raining… Change of plans: Bill would get his car and go off to run some errands. By the time we got back to his house, the sun was out, so I took Max to the Douglass Street dog park again – where he had a great, albeit muddy, time!

Once again, my handy dandy app saved the day. I typed in a search for “self service dog wash” and was rewarded with Pawtrero Hill Dog Shop. I called to make sure they could take us, gave Vanessa the address, and 10 minutes later we were parking on Mississippi Street.

What a great place! Friendly, cheerful people work there, they have a white picket gate with a latch across the open front door so no four-legged guys escape, and the two dog baths are superb. Max was greeted right away with a treat – for which he sat without prompting!

The back room, where the dog baths are, is big, clean, and bright. The two tubs are stainless, with a ramp up, good spray hoses, and organic dog shampoos, plenty of towels and treats, a good doggie blow dryer, and (again) a white picket gate across the doorway. The hardest part was coaxing Max up the ramp!

Although he wasn’t thrilled to get a bath, he tolerated it, and came out soft and smelling sweetly. It was well worth $15 to be able to bathe him without bending over a low tub. I told them that if I lived in San Francisco they would be my go-to place!

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About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in California, Coffee, Eating out on a road trip, Friends along the way, On the Road, Puppy antics, San Francisco, sef service dog bath, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to What happened next…

  1. Sounds like you’re having a nice relaxing, albeit “doggy” time in SanFran, Mom! Keep up the enjoyment and relaxation! xoxo C

  2. Ellie Adams says:

    Loved your “limb sign!” I had all sorts of visuals in my head!! You are so thoughtful about meeting all the needs of your little (?) traveling buddy! And he doesn’t even need to verbalize them! Must be love!! Thanks for your descriptions!

    • Maureen Farr says:

      Thanks for your comments too! I feel like I owe it to him to make sure he gets to do some fun stuff. Otherwise, it’s just a boring life in the car every day

  3. Evelyn Hannah says:

    Bree would LOVE this trip, what a dream come true for Max visiting all these doggies from all over the country oh yes and for Mom too !! Sounds like you are having a ball!
    Safe journeys
    Evelyn and Bree

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