Summer Of Love
The Weekly's annual Summer Fun guide looks at our favorite outdoor pastime
Thursday, May 22, 2003
How does that popular old poem go? Something like, "Hooray, hooray, Memorial Day! Outdoor showing-of-intense-affection-while-naked begins today." Or something like that.
Summer is a time for love. It isn''t just a California thing, although we do it well here.Tis the season for tanned, oil-drenched bodies at the beach, grassy picnics by a stream, cradling a lovers head, leisurely evening strolls when the sunset glow makes the touch of the beloved''s hand electric. It has been said and sung in verse and song for centuries.
There''s that great song, from Grease, how''s it go? "Took her bowlin'', in the arcade. We went strollin'', drank lemonade," etc., "He got friendly, holdin'' her hand; she got friendly, down in the sand," etc. ("Tell me more, tell me more...")
And of course The Bard himself
weighed in on the subject with
the immortal, almost intelligible lines:
Shall I compare thee to a summer''s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer''s lease hath all too short a date.
Oras the ancient Greek bisexual Asklepiades reminds us (according to Rexroth''s translation):
It is sweet in summer to slake
Your thirst with snow, and the spring breeze
Is sweet to the sailors after
The stormy winter, but sweetest
Of all when one blanket hides two
Lovers at the worship of Kypris.
(Wherein, of course, the "worship of Kypris" refers to the act which poets today universally call "knockin'' boots.")
Hot child in the city, runnin'' wild and lookin'' pretty. If her daddy''s rich, take her out for a meal; if her daddy''s poor, you can do what you feel. When we said our first hello, little did we know, love was just a glance away, a warm embracing dance away. Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove. The language is rich with references to love in the summer, and richer now, with the publication of the Weekly''s 2003 Summer Fun Guide.
Beach Love Sex Magic
A kiss by the water''s edge doesn''t have to be a romantic cliche. By Francesca Walker
His yellow bicycle was propped against the stone wall outside the cafe. He had ridden his bike from Marina to Monterey to meet me. He wore a pair of ratty Army green shorts, a long-sleeved T-shirt, and shoes that clipped into his bike pedals.
He asked me what I did in my free time. I said, challengingly, that I had two children. He half-blinked, then smiled slowly. What are their names? I had to go. He said, call me if you ever want to go hiking. I said goodbye and walked across the street for an appointment with my divorce lawyer. When I looked back, he was watching me.
At the gym, I told my friends about the cute young guy who had so many strikes against him. The look they gave me spelled it out. It''s August. You''re young too. He''s cute, you moron. Go...have...fun.
When I got home, I called him. He asked me out for the following night.
I tried on outfits for hours. It was my first date since a decade of a long-term relationship. The babysitter told me my butt looked fine in my flared black pants. He picked me up at my house at 8pm, after my kids had gone to sleep.
The windshield wipers on his old van switched back and forth continuously, scraping across the dry glass. He looked at me and smiled, a this-is-who-I-am smile. "Sorry," he said. "I can''t turn them off." But he wasn''t embarrassed. I liked that. Afterwards we drove through the Del Monte Forest into Monterey, the wipers still swishing, and shared a bowl of pasta at Lallapalooza. Then we drove the long way home along the water, stopping at Carmel River Beach. I took off my shoes. We ran down the steep sand hill into the darkness, toward the water. He took my hand for the first time. It was legitimate--I could barely balance. Then we sat down in the sand. It was an impossible situation: the gritty sand under my bare feet, the heavy fog creating a cocoon. And I knew it was coming, and it didn''t matter if I wanted it or not, or if I was ready or not.
His goatee scratched a bit. Our kisses echoed across the sand--almost too loudly. And I wasn''t sure if it was the man, or the beach, that I was falling for that night.
My first serious high school kisses, usually softened with a few beers, were on beaches. Sophomore boys would throw the girls into the ocean in a primal method of disrobing their prey. We''d duck away to sit on cliffs above a tar-covered stretch of beach, south of Santa Barbara, smoking cigarettes for hours. Often I''d go with a friend of mine, not a boyfriend at all, but still the ridiculous beauty of it all would inspire a connection, and I''d lie back into his arms, while we flicked our ashes onto the sand and shared 16-year-old secrets.
But somehow, even with readily accessed cliches, the moments themselves have never been cloying. And while lovely, the connection has always been much more about the beach itself than solely the other human being. The boy/man has almost served as a symbol, a place-holder on which to fix the emotions generated by the rush of water, the smells of old kelp, the sounds of hungry birds, the sadness of a dead seal.
I feel safe at the beach, even safe to be in love. Maybe it''s the ability to remain totally solitary within the context of the embrace, as the larger, watery world keeps me from getting lost inside another human being.
It''s the grounding, felt by digging my feet into the rough sand, the movement away from the lover, losing myself inside the shape-shifting eddies across the sand, that makes the connection important.
If I stare at the water enough, patterns emerge. Overlapping waves coming onshore resemble wide translucent jellyfish. A skin emerges on the hard sand, traced with webbed feet and small rocks rolling in with the tides. Clumps of mustard colored kelp and broken glass, rubbed soft and rounded, spot the sloppy earth.
But still he drags me away, taking my hand, leading me to rush back into the chattering world of conversation, bills, cars, inside. I turn my head back to the ocean, imprinting the colors in my mind''s eye, willing the negative ions and tempo of the ocean to vibrate through me.
So I try to escape to the beach by myself, walking through light showers in an old green raincoat, the sky''s grey melding with the upsurging waters, sheets of rain blending into spray off the ocean, while little birds dart and peck at tiny crabs and old driftwood logs roll in and out of the surf. I breathe in the wide expanse of sand when the tide is out, the horizontal band of sunlight mostly obscured by clouds, the chill finally penetrating my bones, until I''ve had enough in this moment, absorbed enough of the rhythm to carry it home with me.
And then I''m ready for him again.
Love Amid the Haystacks
For the junior high set, nothing is as romantic as the County Fair. By Cielle Taaffe-Johnson
You see it perfectly in Charlotte''s Web: the girl, meeting the boy, the courage to kiss finally finding itself amongst screams, and all those other animalistic sounds from, well, the animals.
There''s no doubt about it: the fair is romantic. It''s in the smell of dust, hay and sugar, the end-of-summer tan, the rush of turning upside down on the Gravitron without getting caught by the ride operator, the view from the Ferris wheel. There is something about the County Fair that gets a junior high student''s temperature rising, and it''s not just the August heat.
It seems to these 13-year-olds that the brightly colored metal contraptions, the Carnies in their teal and purple polo shirts, the booths of cotton candy and caramel apples have all come just to put an end to their summer-long crushes. The kids arrive in flocks, ditching tennis camp or the beach to--to what?
Perhaps only FFA and 4H kids know why the fair has really come to town. But for those who have not raised a piglet or sheep, or created a pastel drawing, or made a dress from scratch, the fair is just as exciting. Sure, those things on display in the various barns are worth visiting (to get a chance to giggle with friends about who you''re going to sit next to on the Zipper), but every one knows what the fair is really about.
They send teenagers'' blood curdling, make them hot, and the next thing you know, these undersized adults are kissing against the haystacks. What could be better?
As a young teenager, nothing was better. I preferred the fair to any other holiday, and long before it came, I''d be making plans. Never with boys, of course. No, as with all junior high rendezvous, the trick is to let your parents see you taking off with a troupe of girlfriends, so that they feel safe letting you stay out late. They would drop off a carload of us at the gate to the fairgrounds, and once inside, we''d meet the boys.
We would all get the All You Can Ride pass, the pink plastic wristband that we would wear for weeks into the beginning of school. The Pass was absolutely necessary, allowing us to stay on the run long after the summer night turned dark. The Pass was also allowed for a break from the scary rides. Though we''d never have paid for them individually, with The Pass, we could go to the Fun House or the Super Slide, rides generally reserved for little kids, but useful for us "big kids." While our other friends waited in line, we''d in turn snatch a boy and dash over to these rides, falling against him on the rocking bridge, or holding his hand as we raced another couple down the slide.
By dark, nearly every girl would be paired with a boy. It was all terribly romantic once night fell, the whirs and clanks of the rides mixing with classic rock, the bright lights from the game booths, the fireworks just at night''s end. Afterwards, we''d head back out to the designated meeting place to catch our ride and would regretfully part ways with our partner, "forgetting" to give back the flannel we''d earlier begged off his back, having "forgotten" our own at home.
This was our version of the Princess Ball, and really, to us, we had it better than any Cinderella. What better time to kiss a guy than hanging upside down in a metal box, the Rolling Stones blasting from the Maze of Mirrors, your friend in the car above you, laughing as you caught eyes spinning around? What better way to get that summer loving?
Fields of Dreams
Big Sur offers a wild place for an outdoor encounter with passion. By Phil McKenna
"McKenna," they said, "take that gal of
yours. You''ll need a blanket and a bottle of wine. Find a secluded spot and don''t come back ''til you have a story."
It was my final assignment as a Coast Weekly intern and I didn''t want to let the team down.
Still, it would not be easy. An early scouting expedition with my girlfriend Rach ended in catastrophe when we were busted by a Carmel police officer. The officer sternly reprimanded us; told us we should be ashamed of ourselves; threatened to lock us both up. He told us quite explicitly that there were better places to do what we were doing than in the front passenger seat of a Toyota Tercel in the Carmel Beach parking lot.
Deep down I knew the officer was right. I knew if we wanted to make love in the out of doors, we must head further afield; somewhere far away, somewhere, at the very least, outside of Carmel.
With summer quickly approaching and the oppressive Coast Weekly editorial staff demanding a story, Rach and I had to act fast.
We packed up the Tercel and headed south, determined to find a more secluded spot. It was a chilly day but we came prepared: a bottle of Chardonnay, half a pound of smoked salmon, crackers, picnic basket, blanket, wool socks, travel size fantasy bondage set, and a half dozen chocolate, glow-in-the-dark, neon condoms, ribbed for her pleasure.
Just south of the entrance to Andrew Molera State Park on the west side of Highway 1, I caught a glimmer of an open meadow hidden by a row of trees. The stout oaks and robust redwoods stood erect that afternoon, strengthened by a cool breeze blowing down the fertile valley. Could this be it, the promised land of which the Carmel officer so authoritatively spoke?
We parked at the next pullout and quickly found a trailhead cutting through the trees into the meadow beyond. Clearing the trees, we stumbled upon a secret love garden; acres and acres of soft blue lupine hugging the Big Sur River, protected on all sides by ridges of the coast range.
Taking my love by her hand, we bedded down for an afternoon in the tall grass. Wine and salmon could wait. A primordial yearning overcame us. A heady intoxication took hold and we ripped off each other''s clothes. Wearing nothing but wool socks and a chocolate, glow-in-the-dark, neon condom, ribbed for her pleasure, I thrust myself into the heat of the moment.
She glistened in the mid-afternoon sun as she arched her length fully against me. I was seduced by her sweet perfume calling me back for more, and more. For hours our bodies writhed on the verge of total explosion, twisting, gyrating, grinding, and pounding; oh, the heights of passion we experienced, tangled and intoxicated in a natural Big Sur splendor!
She wrapped herself tightly around me and tossed me about like a limp rag doll. With a shift of my powerful thighs, I mounted her like a wild stallion. Preferring the wilder Western and Bronco styles, we rode each other bareback, dodging the poison oak at our heels, until Rach''s cries of ecstasy nearly drowned out the noise of nearby cars passing by.
Together we spent the afternoon making love in a field of lupine, kissing like butterflies, splashing through hidden pools of the Big Sur, and lying in each other''s arms, our journalistic mission accomplished, until the sun''s warm rays shone no more.
An auto-erotic tour of the best lovers'' lanes in the county. By Kate Folsom
I''ve always been the one who drives. Only one of my myriad boyfriends has ever had a nicer car than I do, and we only dated for a month. Two of the three men I''ve considered marrying didn''t even have cars, and the one who did--well, I spent the last three months of our relationship driving him around as he procrastinated having his brakes checked.
Fortunately for my auto-deprived lovers, they snagged themselves a girl with a fast Acura and blood racing in her veins--a girl who has taken high-performance driving lessons at Laguna Seca. A girl who gets off on driving fast. And more importantly, a girl who knows the backroads of the tri-county area like the back of her hand.
Anyone can pull the car off a road at an underused vista point or rest stop and take care of that special sort of primal itch, but it takes a backroad connoisseur to really know where to park. Moreover, backseat loving takes perseverance and preparation as well as a fair degree of agility and flexibility. Many times have I been caught miles from civilization with a hottie and an urge but no condoms. Car sex is not for the faint of heart or the stiff of leg.
Way out on Carmel Valley Road, after driving past countless cows, after winding through glades of trees and over hill and dale, suddenly a clearing emerges. To the right there''s a barn, and if you look carefully, a pond that is home to some ducks. The road reaches its summit, and if one pulls off the road (there''s a convenient spot) Carmel Valley stretches out to the west and east, rolling softly away in the sunlight. Fields unfold to either side. Best at four in the afternoon or sunrise in the morning.
The Big Sur Coast
Obviously, the fact that Hwy. 1 isn''t exactly a backroad comes into play. So you''ve got to turn onto a side street, but which one? Well, there''s no place better than the Old Coast Road, if your car can take it. Miles and miles of dirt road, cow pastures and breathtaking views make this a stunning and adventurous spot to pile up on the seat of your choice, with numerous convenient pullouts. Best in the middle of the night.
Tricky but doable. Cops do drive by, so this spot is best for a quickie, and not for practicing your tantra. Still, seeing Carmel Valley on one side and the city of Salinas all lit up on the other is about as romantic as you can get this close to town. Great after dark, but not past midnight.
Moss Landing, baby. It''s not just for fishermen and the power plant anymore. Let''s say you''re driving back from Santa Cruz and the traffic going into Castroville looks sorta bad. You see a tall tree next to a veggie stand, and a road going off to the right in the general direction of Hwy. 1. It looks like a shortcut. It indeed is a shortcut. But it''s also a good place for some midday nookie on a weekend, if there aren''t any tractors around. Just pull over and try to be quick about it. The view is nothing special, unless you like artichokes, but it''s fun. And maybe a little dangerous. Probably safest at night, but not as exciting.
Carmel High Parking Lot
Okay, so this one allows getting out of the car--but nothing says lovin'' like using the hood of your vehicle as a ladder to help boost yourself onto the flat, gravelly roof with your partner of choice. For the love of God, bring a blanket. (Particularly fun for CHS alum like this reporter.)
Elkhorn Slough Tours
10am and 1pm. Walk with a docent by tidal creeks and freshwater marshes in this 1,400-acre reserve. Tours are every Saturday and Sunday at 10am and 1pm. Meet at the Elkhorn Slough Visitor Center, 1700 Elkhorn Rd., Watsonville, CA. Call 728-2822 for more information.
Point Sur Lightstation Walking Tour
10am and 2pm. Learn about Big Sur''s past while hiking to the top of Point Sur on this three-hour tour. Special tours are available on full moons during the summer season. The tours start at the base of Point Sur Lightstation, located 19 miles south of Carmel, every Wednesday and Saturday at 10am and 2pm and Sundays at 10am. Call 625-4419 for more information.
Blomquist Ranch Hike
Join the Sierra Club for an easy walk past wildflowers and oaks in this seldom-visited preserve in Carmel Valley. Contact Joyce at 624-3149.
Senior Slough Saunter
View egrets, blue herons and hawks on this easy four-mile walk with the Sierra Club. Meet at 9:30am behind the Big Sur Land Trust office at 3785 Via Nona Marie in Carmel. Call Joanna at 685-1824.
Garland Ranch Hike
Join trained docent Andrea Weiss on a three-hour hike connecting the Waterfall Trail, the Oak View Trail and the Garzas Canyon Trail. Meet at the Garland Ranch Visitor Center at 9am and bring plenty of water. Call Andrea at 620-6017.
23rd Annual Sunshine Freestyle Surfabout
Hit the surf to compete in this surfing, bodyboarding and skimboarding competition that is only open to county residents, or watch the action from scenic Carmel Beach. Carmel Beach, CA. Call 375-5015 for more information.
Glen Deven Ranch Hike
Hike past this preserve''s resident burros on the way to Garrapata Ridge, where hikers will be rewarded with incredible views of the coast. Meet at the Big Sur Land Trust office, located at 3785 Via Nona Marie, at 9am. Reserve a space by calling 625-5523.
East Molera Hike
Hike to sensational views of Andrew Molera State Park and nearby Pico Blanco. This strenuous six-mile roundtrip walk with the Sierra Club gains 2,000 feet of elevation. Contact Andrea at 884-9705.
3rd Annual Army Birthday Run
Compete in the 5K run/walk or the 10K run through the historic Presidio of Monterey. Save $5 by registering before June 13. Call Julie Webster at at 649-1414 ext. 117 or Susan Kastner at 384-4777.
54th Annual Monterey City Golf Championship
Watch as more than 120 contestants compete in one of the longest running city championships in the state. The action takes place at the Del Monte Golf Course, which is the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi. Call 373-2700 for more information.
July 22-August 3
Pebble Beach Equestrian Classic
This two-week-long, A-rated horse show has been thrilling audiences since 1947. Competitors from all over the western United States will compete to win the coveted Grand Prix, which is worth $25,000.
Monterey Highland Games & Celtic Festival
Scottish athletic competitions like the famous Caber Toss will likely be the big draws at this festival featuring all sorts of entertain- ment and family fun. Call 647-6311 for information.
Pacific Grove Triathlon
Prove your strength by swimming, biking and running in this exhausting event.
Big Sur Run, 9am
Compete in another Big Sur marathon, or take it easy and try the half marathon or five-mile run. This event was featured in the March 2003 issue of Men''s Journal. Start/finish line area is at Andrew Molera State Park, located 22 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1. Contact Envirosports at (415) 868-1829.