It's not just my eyes; I think my whole brain is nearsighted. When we got here, we complained loudly about not being able to find the commissary, not realizing it was two minutes from the house. Now, after being here most of seven months, and driving twenty minutes through downtown Monterey to get to Lover's Point every time I wanted some sand and sun, I was tipped off by the neighbors about Fort Ord Dunes State Park. I went to check it out this morning, and it's pretty awesome. Oh, and it's just five minutes from the house.
I had to drive through the ruins of Fort Ord to get there. Something about those buildings make them creepy even in broad daylight. It must be all the overgrown bushes, graffiti, boarded-up doors and broken windows. Just when you think you're hopelessly lost, there are signs posted pointing the way to the park. Not a very picturesque drive, but the beach itself makes up for it.
If Lover's Point is the pretty little beach for moms and kids, Ford Ord Dunes is the he-man beach with sand cliffs, canyons, and roaring waves. I definitely classify it as a "shoes on" beach, just because of all the crap that washes ashore, mostly seaweed tangles and copious quantities of deceased crustaceans. But it does yield a greater quantity of shells for picking, and even more exciting, sand dollars! Finally, after years of wishful thinking, I've finally acquired a sand dollar that has never seen the inside of a tourist souvenir shop. It's a little small, and a little dirty, but I don't care. There were also a few more unorthodox finds today, such as a child's plastic pail and shovel, some of the usual offensive garbage, and . . . broccoli. I'm guessing a seagull made off with someone's health-conscious picnic lunch.
The best part about it by far is that the beaches go on for miles in both directions, and almost NOBODY bothers to go out there. For a few hours, I was the only person on earth. I brought Dave out to see it this evening; there were more cars (three) but it was just as deserted as before. Just us and one solitary otter just offshore, riding the waves and beating a clam.