Monterey Peninsula personal reflections

Google says I am trending in 2014 Summer Staycation

Google says I am trending in summer 2014 staycation. Google analyzed hotel searches and year-over-year searches for ‘staycation’ to find a 10% rise for local travel in summer 2014. I am trending this July with summer staycation in Monterey, California.

The month of June started out tough as I resisted my enforced staycation mode. The fog days of summer in Monterey darkened the sky along with my mood in a gray mist. My eyes were on a PointBreaks excursion to Holiday Inn Express Gold Miner’s Inn Grass Valley, California, 250 miles away in the northern Sierra foothills. That hotel lasted longer than I expected as a PointBreaks award considering average room rates were about $175 per night for all of June or $35 worth of IHG Rewards Club points.

Getting away in June was impossible with wife-the-teacher in the last two weeks of the school year ending and all the associated kids and parents present shopping. Then, wife-the-patient had foot surgery and I became a nurse maid for the second half of June and first week of July.

Google search for 'staycation' saw 10% year-over-year rise for summer 2014
Google search for ‘staycation’ saw 10% year-over-year rise for summer 2014


FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil and Tour de France 2014 saved me.

In a way I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to watch more than 150 hours of soccer and 90 hours of Tour de France this June and July. The past month has been full time TV viewing staycation work.

One day I pondered whether soccer fans from Chile would drive or fly to Brazil for the Chile World Cup matches. I had no idea the distance was so great at 2,400 miles from Santiago, Chile to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The treacherous Agua Negra Pass over the Andes between Chile and Argentina is 4,765 meters elevation. That is an amazing 15,633 feet and higher than any mountain peak, let alone any road in the lower 48 States. I found photos of Agua Negra Road on TravelingCanucks blog from a 2011 trip. Currently, there is a project plan to build two 14-kilometer tunnels through the Andes mountains to link Chile and Argentina by underground roads.

Chile Argentina road
Agua Negra HIghway Tunnels is a project to link Chile and Argentina underground and bypass Agua Negra high Andes mountain pass.

I learned this while watching World Cup matches.

Curitiba, Brazil

One of the primary complaints about World Cup 2014 was the cost to the Brazilian government for associated expenses to host the one month tournament that could have been spent on infrastructure and social welfare projects for citizens.

How is the tourism effect quantified for Brazil? I read reports regularly from the U.S. Travel Association citing statistics and figures for how vital tourism is to our U.S. economy.

From my perspective, World Cup 2014 motivated me to research Curitiba, “Pine Nut Land”, the capital and largest city of the Brazilian state of Paraná. The stadium there seemed to be the coolest temperature environment of stadiums hosting the World Cup match games.

Curitiba sports one of Brazil’s highest Human Development Index readings at 0.856, and in 2010 was awarded the Global Sustainable City Award, given to cities and municipalities that excel in sustainable urban development.[9] According to US magazine Reader’s Digest, Curitiba is the best “Latin American Big City” in which to live.

Curitiba – Wikipedia

Nickname(s): Cidade Modelo (“Model City”); Capital Ecológica do Brasil (“Ecological Capital of Brazil”); Cidade Verde (“Green City”); Capital das Araucárias (“Capital of Araucarias“); A Cidade da Névoa Eterna (“The City of Eternal Fog”).

Curitiba, Brazil botanical gardens in fog

Curitiba, Brazil Botanical Gardens in fog. Photo: Wikipedia.

Curitiba, Brazil sounds like it should be the sister city of Monterey, California where we are surrounded by Monterey pines, the sea and the fog.

Tour de France 2014

Is Tour de France the world’s best annual travel video?

I think it is a serious contender. This year’s three week cycling race started July 5 in England. And NBCSports has extended coverage of the race this year with far more hours than seen in the USA previously. The aerial coverage of the Yorkshire moors brought to mind a vivid picture of a landscape so vital to British literature story setting. The Hound of the Baskervilles is more frightening with a realistic image of many square miles of desolate moors with no roads and few trees. Yorkshire is not Devon of western England in the Sherlock Holmes story. Even so, the helicopter camera flying over the north England Yorkshire moors gave realistic imagery to the descriptive word ‘moors’ that I have never seen before.

Riders in the Tour were greeted by Prince William and Kate, ended a stage in London near Buckingham Palace, rode across cobblestone roads in northern France and yesterday climbed mountains in the Vosges, the mountain range you likely never heard of in France. Today is Day 11 and the Rest Day for the Tour de France after 10 days and more than 1,100 miles of cycling. Cycling the Alps this week and and Pyrenees next week will be my summer virtual mountain staycation.

Three hours a day viewing the French countryside through Tour de France is a relaxing staycation. DVR is vital to bypass all the commercial interruptions to the travel imagery. After watching the tour every July for more than a decade, the cycling sport itself is less confusing to me than World Cup football rules.

Google research reassures me I am trending now on my Summer 2014 Staycation in Monterey. My wife-in-recovery from foot surgery is able to walk short distances around town with a protective boot. She might even have time to squeeze in a getaway from Monterey with me before the end of summer.

I am waiting anxiously for the next set of PointBreaks hotels.

Still, a staycation for us in Monterey is like a vacation for tens of thousands of other people coming to Monterey and along central coast Highway 1 this summer. I have settled into the rhythm of TV sports with an occasional couple of hours at the beach some days. Tour de France takes me virtually away on my summer European trip and at the end of July I will be virtually in the UK for the British Open.

For real life I still have the beaches and real vacationers of California.

Pfeiffer Beach Big Sur
Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur – Loyalty Traveler photo, July 2014.

California Staycation Monterey County style, Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur

My left coast view this staycation summer is not too bad.


  • Joe July 15, 2014

    Why is boarding suddenly ask for my “current location”all the time — VERY ANNOYING!!!

  • Ric Garrido July 16, 2014

    @Joe – I have been annoyed by the pop-up too this week.

  • The Masked Poster July 16, 2014

    Did you, or did you not, make it to the Gold Miner’s Inn? I caught it early on for a couple nights, then have another two nights coming the very end of this month. Very nice hotel, good breakfast, and the happy hour wine and appetizers is very well presented. Very good restaurant, Milano(I think), right across the street, but don’t bother with the local Mexican place, the name of which escapes me. Food was forgettable, service OK, prices high.

  • Ric Garrido July 16, 2014

    @The Masked Poster – I did not make it to Grass Valley. I have been my wife’s nurse maid for the past six weeks as she recovers from foot surgery.

    Now that she is able to walk again, I am waiting for the next set of IHG PointBreaks to see if there is a California hotel or some other place we can travel before she starts school again next month.

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