Saturday, November 21, 2009

Muir Woods & Point Reyes Lighthouse

Tuesday - Nov. 17th

We drove to John Muir Woods (more redwoods) just north of San Francisco. We decided to take a 1.7 mile hike. Over two hours later and several questionable short cuts, we found our way back to the car. I think that was the third or fourth time we decided that we
need to get a compass and carry our cell phone with us when we leave the car. Not to mention food and water.

Leaving the woods, we pulled over at a view point and we could see Point Bonita Lighthouse from yesterday at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. This has all been in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, so far.

From here we drove to Olema, the little town near the epi-center of the 1906 earthquake. The epi-
center was originally believed to be at San Francisco. It took scientists three years to figure out where it actually was. The San Andreas Fault runs right along Hwy. 1

From here we drove to Point Reyes Lighthouse at Point Reyes National Seashore. It is 120 years old and there are 310 steps to go down to it. It is closed when the winds are over 40 mph. It so happens that it is closed Tuesdays. Given the number of steps and the awful windy, rainy day that it was, we were content to look from afar.
These trees were at the entrance into the lighthouse. They had grown over sideways from the constant winds off the ocean to the point where they were starting to grow into the side of the hill.

As we were leaving, we had to wait for cattle that were being moved across the road by two dairy farmers. We stopped to talk to one of them as we were getting ready to drive on. It turned out that she was an elderly woman in a rain slicker. The weather was especially miserable, but she said that she loves it here all the time, except when the winds
are over 60 mph, which is quite often in the winter.

This is Wednesday morning leaving our campsite at Bodega Bay. At San Francisco we took the Richmond Bridge to avoid some of the city traffic.

Crossing the bridge, I snapped a picture of the Oakland Bay Bridge. From here we drove three more hours to John's sister's in Hanford. We saw many orchards along the way. Mandarin, lemon, pomegranate, almond, pistachio, grapes, etc.

Hanford is near Corcoran where Charles Manson is incarcerated.

We plan to stay here for a few weeks and mooch water and electricity and relax. So there may not be many blog posts for the next couple of weeks.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Friday, November 20, 2009

Point Arena Lighthouse

Sun - Nov. 15th

Oops, I guess I missed a day, so I'll back track. We headed south from our campsite in Ft. Bragg to see Point Arena Lighthouse. This is a picture of the road ahead. We saw bikers several
times today. We have to wait for them to get around every curve before we pass them. There is no way we could pass them while meeting a car and we can't see ahead to know if a car is coming or not.

Point Arena Lighthouse is the western most point on the California coast. It is 115 feet tall with 145 steps. The original light was built in France, had 660 prisms and weighed 4,000 pounds. It was built in 1870 three miles from the San Andreas Fault. It was badly damaged in the earthquake
of 1906 that destroyed San Francisco. It was rebuilt in
1908. The light could be seen from almost 22 miles away where the curvature of the earth starts to interfere with the line of vision. It has been featured in several movies, including Forever Young with Mel Gibson in 1992. It is a working lighthouse, but it has a new light, radar, gps, etc.

We took a guided tour of this lighthouse for $7.50.
It was very interesting. Views are from the top.
After the tour we had a lunch break in our home and enjoyed the view from our living room window.
A heron hanging out by the lighthouse.
View from our campsite when we arrived in Bodega Bay the next day.
Time to kick back and watch a little TV.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

San Francisco

Mon - Nov. 16th

We drove into San Francisco for the day. This is Point Bonita Lighthouse. A walking bridge with a limit of two persons at a time is the only way to get over there.

There were harbor seals resting on the rocks below.

We have been to San Francisco twice many years ago. If you get there, you should ride the street cars, drive up Lombard Street (the most crooked street in the world), go to Golden Gate Park, eat some fresh crab at Fisherman's Wharf and take a tour of Alcatraz Island. Since we had already
done these things, we just walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and down to the pier. Views are of the bridge and from the bridge.

The walk was cool, but I wished I had brought my ear plugs. The traffic was very loud.

This is Alcatraz Island.

This is the city skyline and the pier that we walked down to and the Oakland Bay Bridge to the left,

These are brown pelicans at the pier.

Angel Island.

There were lots of people fishing and this fellow was throwing out crab pots. There were several seals swimming around and lots of birds.

A couple more views of the pier and Alcatraz.

Lots of bikers everywhere we go. Also, lots of bike routes and bike share lanes. When there are no lanes or shoulders, they just take the driving lane in all that traffic. I suppose you get used to it, but I would be afraid of imminent death.

This shows the size of the cables on the bridge.

Some surfers at Marin Headlands at end of day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ft. Bragg-Anderson Valley Wineries

Sat - 14th

The mushroom and wine fest is going on this week, so we set out for a day of wine tasting in the Anderson Valley wineries. That is, me tasting and John driving. The first seven pictures are of the Goldeneye
Vineyards where I only took
pictures. It was the last one of the day and it was very expensive. I had already had enough wine by then anyway, but they did have a very beautiful place.

We were told at one place that we were a week too late for the really good colors. She said a lot of the leaves had already fallen off. I
couldn't imagine it being
even better. I thought it was gorgeous. She also said the red on the vines was caused by a virus.

Navarro Vineyards was the third place I did some tasting at. They were serving a mushroom quiche with their wines and it was marvelous. I found a syrah
there that I really liked, so we bought two bottles. We had brought a picnic lunch with us, so we sat there and had our lunch surrounded by the beautiful vineyards.

The enclosed water tower is at Handley Vineyards and the quaint little wine tasting building is at Husch. We also stopped at Lazy Winery, Toulouse Winery,
Scharffenberger Cellars, Breggo Cellars where we
just bought a book (no tasting) and Roederer Estate, which is a branch of some big champagne place in France and does mostly sparkling wines.

On our way back to Ft. Bragg, we stopped at Van Damme State Park at the mouth of the Little River on the south edge of
Mendocino to watch the red abalone divers. It must be the season for it, because the cars have been parked along the shoulders of the road everywhere. They are carrying their wet suits and hiking thru cow pastures and everything to get to the ocean. I guess it's really a big deal around here. I don't really know what they are, but I'm told they are the biggest shell fish you can get. Maybe we will get a chance to try them somewhere.