Beautiful Carmel Highlands and Big Sur

Here’s the post I actually started to write yesterday, got off on an iconoclastic tangent over the rather silly institution of marriage, went with a stream of consciousness on that, hit publish before I chickened out. The way things roll, sometimes. It’s a real blog, not made up to suit anyone’s particular fancy, not even my own, all the time.

For me, the true anniversary is the day Bea moved out of her apartment in 1998, and into mine.

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Anyway, got up to the beautiful Hyatt Highlands Inn Friday afternoon and enjoyed fabulous weather the whole time.

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Hung out, had a great dinner (steak frites for me, caesar salad for Bea), to bed early in a super nice suite. Breakfast Saturday morning was a splurge for both, things we almost never have.

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The view from the table is amazing (this one was taken two months ago, but same place).

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Then we had a quite amazing experience for several hours. We went out to Carmel Valley to a place called Refuge. This is off the web, as they don’t allow cameras or electronics.

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Anyway, there’s about 6 pools of varying temperatures from very warm to very hot, and what sold me on going there was the 4 cold pools. Two of them are kept at local Pacific Ocean temperature, about 55F, and two of them are at mountain stream runoff temperature, about 42F. It’s on 2 acres, and they also have a steam bath, huge sauna, and a relaxation room with the mood music softly playing, or whatever it’s called. It’s all co-ed.

What I’ve learned from cold therapy or thermogenesis via my own experience and Ray Cronise, is that the biggest bang is to stay in just long enough to feel the shivers coming on. Then you get out and warm up naturally in the sun or whatever, and fortunately there was plenty. Once you begin to shiver, your body is really turning on glycogen in order to fuel the shivers. You want to stay where it’s more likely to be accessing fat primarily.

But, you can cycle, which is what I did. Hot tub for a while, then into the cold. Initially, it took about 6 minutes for the shivers to start in the 55F pool, and about 4 in the 42F pool, submerged to the chin. After doing this cycle about a half dozen times over the 3 hours we were there, on my last cycle, it took over 6 minutes to bring on shivers in the 42F, and in the 55, I ended up timing out at 10 minutes without shivering, but we had to leave to make an appointment.

So, apparently, you can adapt very quickly and quite profoundly. Here’s another thing. After having a 150 gallon livestock watering tub in our backyard for two years, that I’d fill from the garden hose, I could never get Bea to try it even once. Well guess what? She did two cycles of 5-min each in the 55F pool, up to the neck. She came to realize how it’s addicting, and noted how when getting out of a hot tub, you start to feel cold right away but when getting out of the cold one, you feel warm.

I very highly recommend this place if you’re anywhere near the Bay Area, or traveling here. Coolest thing I’ve done in a long while.

Dinner was a ribeye at Rocky Point Restaurant.

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Then yesterday after checking out, we headed down there again for brunch, and snagged the best seat in the house.


All in all, a fantastic weekend. Beatrice arranged the whole thing, too. I popped up a whole bunch of additional photos in Flickr.

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  1. John on March 9, 2015 at 18:04

    Earlier I was going to post on your marriage is bs post, rethought it, and in fact chickened out. Essentially, I was going to say I’ve been getting pressure from my girlfriend, and saying I don’t believe in marriage isn’t really making her feel good.
    I enjoy knowing each day we choose to be together, with no ownership involved, and without the government sanctioning or relationship. Perhaps I’ll reevaluate when I’m ready for children.

    That place looks amazing. I’ve got about 400,000 Chase points convertible to Hyatt (often an outstanding value; 3+ cents/point is not uncommon) and I’ve been trying to decide where to go next.

    • John on March 9, 2015 at 18:10

      Just looked up the redemption – 25,000 points/night. Based on the $ rates I’m seeimy that’s better than 2 cents/point.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 9, 2015 at 18:22

      Ha, well, been at this long enough to know that had I not grit my teeth and hit publish, it probably wouldn’t have been, or I’d have edited it into submission.

      I don’t want to audaciously push buttons all the time. Just sometimes and sometimes, a rant just comes out of nowhere. Never planned, always spontaneous.

      Yea, it’s a fabulous place and I can’t imagine dissapointment at any price. We got a deal on the suite because I was there to check about buying 2 weeks for my vacation rental business. Turned out it was their model unit until just recently so it was immaculate in every way. Place has been there 100 years, but only the main building is the same building. All the units were rebuilt in the 80s, but they modernize them the first two weeks of every year.

      Very high end in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

  2. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on March 9, 2015 at 22:51

    you both look good & relaxed

    refuge sounds a great idea for those chickens (me XD)

  3. Phreebie on March 10, 2015 at 01:23

    I should really cease to be surprised by now at how uptight America is.

    “America’s first Co-Ed relaxation spa” push those limits USA lol. doG forbid it should be swim-suit optional.

    • John on March 10, 2015 at 07:52

      Is it reasonable to expect that there will be no men dressed as women in the women’s locker room?

      I’m fascinated by the majority voice on this being something along the lines of “good for her (transgendered woman) and shame on the complaining woman for making the transgendered woman feel bad.”

      Since Planet Fitness takes the stance that “gender identity” is key, I’m curious what their reaction would be to a man with a mullet wearing a wife beater, cargo pants, and boots, saying he identified as a masculine woman, doing the same thing. Plenty of women born with woman genitals dress this way.

      I cancelled my Planet Fitness membership years ago, despite it being $10/month, open 24 hours, and closest to my house.
      I did not like the hypocrisy of their slogan “Judgment Free Zone. No Bodybuilders.” I did not like the constant reminders over the sound system about bagel mornings and pizza evenings, or the giant bucket of candy they kept by the door. And I did not like the “lunk alarm” – a siren with spinning purple light they would activate if you made any noise working out such as grunting, or even set a dumbbell on the ground. I ultimately cancelled because one day I walked in and the squat rack was gone; when I asked why they said it was too dangerous. I would not have cancelled because of women in the men’s locker room, though.

      Their business, their rules – but I can understand why a woman or girl in a locker room may become uncomfortable if a man walked in, even if just to hang his purse.

    • John on March 10, 2015 at 08:34

      This guy makes an interesting point about Planet Fitness caring whether their customers are made uncomfortable by a man lifting weights, but not by a man in the women’s toilet.

  4. Jake Schuster on March 11, 2015 at 08:53

    This is great richard!

    I’m really keen to interview you for our podcast at

    Have tried to use your contact form several times…can you please email me at ? Thanks!


  5. Alesia on March 11, 2015 at 18:41

    That place, and the food looks amazing.

    I feel the same way about marriage. I’ve been engaged for three years, haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I’m not religious and I never plan to be.

    I just have to say that everytime you post a pic with Bea I think she looks beautiful, from the soul radiating outward. Good choice to try and keep her.

    • Alesia on March 11, 2015 at 19:14

      Oh and when I say “soul” I don’t really mean it in a religious sense. A thing that will fly to heaven or be damned to hell. I just mean that inexplicable thing, that makes someone who they are and not someone else, that thing that is difficult to describe any other way. “Brain” doesn’t have the same ring to it. It’s funny how religion is intertwined with our language.

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