Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this as much as we did taking the journey.
This past week I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Monterey, California (MRY) to watch the Practice Rounds for the AT&T Pro Am held each year at Pebble Beach and the to El Paso, Texas (ELP) to visit family over the weekend. The event is played on three courses (Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula Country Club) over three days with a PGA Pro and their Amateur or Celebrity Partner, so each group plays each course once. If the team makes the cut on Sunday they return to Pebble Beach with an attempt to win the Pro-Am part of the tournament that is contained within the PGA Tournament. It is a very fun event to watch and the scenery isn't too bad along the coast either.
Famous 18th Fairway looking toward the tee box.
My best male friend (wife is best friend hands down ) and I opted to fly from Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and rent a car for the 90 minute drive to MRY. We flew on a pre-merger United (UA) B763 which was surprisingly upgraded to lie flat Business First seats, Audio Video On Demand (AVOD), spacious overhead bins and the new UA meal offerings which debuted this month.
I decided to upgrade for the 3+50 flight and was very encouraged with the options for breakfast:
I had the Quiche which was very yummy along with a variety of potatoes like Sweet and Yukon, Chicken Applewood Sausage, very fresh Fruit and to top if off I couldn't resist the flaky Biscuit with Strawberry Jam. I know, UA right.
The flight arrived on-time into the International Terminal at SFO, so a quick walk to the AirTran stop and a short ride to the Rental Car facility and off we were to MRY with some gorgeous weather. We sighted ole Snoopy as we got into downtown for our stay at Monterey CA Hotels | Hotels Near Monterey Bay | Monterey Marriott Hotel which has always been a very nice hotel that always takes good care of us to include upgraded rooms.
This trip was no exception as we got upgraded to a larger room with a view of Monterey Bay.
They must have wanted the other guests to realize just who we were.
Heck Insiders, we even got mouthwash!!
After a few Happy Hour stops at spots like The Britannia Arms of Monterey Pub & Restaurant - Monterey, California, London Bridge Pub - Monterey California and Sandbar & Grill - Home we determined we would head back to a little spot we enjoy right across the street from the hotel called The Crown and Anchor |. The ole joint did not disappoint in the least with a lively atmosphere, excellent drinks and a fine selection of food. I selected Sloats' Chicken Pot Pie.....WOW was it wonderful, seasoned perfectly with a very light pastry on top.
Tuesday morning it was off to walk around Monterey Peninsula County Club (oh so private) and watch the practice round on that course before heading over to Pebble Beach to look in on the SF Giants and SF 49er's Chevron Shoot Out. No pictures and you'll find out why later.
They had some of the hardware on display so I got to see my first ever World Series Trophy and Super Bowl Trophy on display, pretty cool.
My buddy and I met up back in MRY with some Houston pilot friends who flew into MRY so the CEO could play in the tournament. We agreed on and early dinner at Cibo Italian Restaurant: Fine Dining & Live Jazz in Monterey a very nice Italian place. Rosa the owner was gracious as always and we all enjoyed a very tasty meal of assorted Italian Specialties. Since they had flown from IAH to San Diego then MRY that day they were a bit weary so the two of us had to visit the Anchor and Crown for a night cap.
As we sat at the bar two guys sitting next to us asked if we were golfers to which I replied "not the kind you're thinking of" and my buddy said "no just spectators". Well they offered us two tickets for the week of golf, but since we already had our tickets we said we can't use them yet know of some guys who don't have any as yet (the pilots) and we graciously offered. As it turns out as the pilots got to their hotel they were offered a private shuttle to the course and sky box tickets from the manufacturer of the airplane they flew out to MRY so know we had extra tickets.
Wednesday brought another spectacular day of weather with the highlight being the 3M Celebrity Shoot Out. On the shuttle bus ride we discussed what to do with these extra tickets when an Army Staff Sergeant and his young wife boarded the bus. We both knew instantly who was going to get those tickets when we got off the bus and sure enough, they did not have any so we presented them with tickets.....they were elated and it made our day.
Just like the Chevron Shoot Out the day before and due to possible copyright issues seen previously on Insiders, I won't post any pictures of the likes of Billy Murray, Clint Eastwood, Andy Garcia and others.
I did however; get a shot of who was playing.
In true Pebble Beach style the players were met on the 17th tee box with Screwdrivers, Bloody Mary's, Sushi Shrimp Cocktail and who knows what else!!
Just had to visit the 7th hole before leaving as it was time to say bye to Pebble for 2015. Had to fly home Thursday to get my wife and get on a plane Friday morning to ELP. I hate leaving this place.
We left the pilots who wanted Mexican food in order to enjoy another repeat Happy Hour from Monday afternoon and a have some seafood for dinner. We selected Old Fisherman's Grotto Seafood, Steak and Pasta Restaurant in Monterey California and were very happy we did as I had some of the best ever Seafood Stew (Cioppino) that was filled with Calamari, Shrimp, Crab, Mussels,Clams and much more in a rich Marinara Sauce.....incredible. My buddy had Abalone with Pasta which looked good, but I liked mine much better.
After dinner it was far too early to hit the sack, so back to Anchor and Crown where we met up with a interesting fellow who had his Spaceship hovering nearby.....OH MY is all I can say to this character , yet we also ran into some Marines, Army and Navy kids who we thanked for their service and bought some pitchers of whatever it was they were drinking. All were great kids filled with passion, each with a bright gleam in their eye, very very smart and personable with huge desires to provide the United States with future leaders. The last few hours that evening made every penny spent on this trip of so worth it.
This concludes Part One, Part Two will get us back to IAH on Thursday, catch ya there soon. A Week Out West, Part Two