California Dreamin’

Since it’s Labor Day weekend, a travel related post is very apropos.  Normally, Susie and I wouldn’t even be in town.  But we were in St. Augustine for July 4th weekend, so it’s too soon to go back there.  We were in Panama City Beach for Memorial Day weekend and that’s starting to wear too.  Plus, I’m exhausted from a lot of something I dislike – lots of manual labor at work.  (That’s an upcoming post so I won’t elaborate now.)

Since I’m not traveling this weekend, the least I can do is think about traveling.  And there is something to think about: where to go for our Fall trip, probably Thanksgiving week.  I’ve got a free Southwest ticket that expires in December.

After Vegas, which is in a category of its own, our favorite city in the U.S. is San Francisco.  We’ve been there many times, often in conjunction with a reunion of my high school group.  Our last visit was in 2007.

Since we were in Vegas in May, that’s not a contender.  So, California is looking very good.  Because we’ve been to San Francisco over a half dozen times, I’m looking for something “new” to visit in the Golden State.

On one of our trips, we drove from San Francisco into the wine country and then down the Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur.  But we’ve never been down the northern California coast.   That’s what I’m planning for.

At this point, the itinerary appears to be to fly into Sacramento.  Next day, we head north on I-5 to Redding.  That will  be our jump off point to then head east to Lassen Volcanic National Park and then west to the coast, ending up at Eureka in redwood country.  From Eureka, we’ll drive the coast all the way south to San Francisco, Big Sur and end in San Luis Obispo.  Then we can fly back to Florida through either San Jose or San Francisco.

It’s a good thing I like driving trips.  Just from Eureka to San Luis Obispo is 500 miles. We’ll probably easily put 800 miles on the rental car on this trip.

Although I have a travel photo website, I have many photos which are not on it because the trips were before I owned a digital camera. After our early trips to San Francisco, I didn’t take photos on subsequent trips.  But when I realized how “ancient” my San Francisco photos were, I decided to take my digital camera on the last two trips.  I’ll probably combine those with our northern California coast trip photos for the website.

Until then, here’s a few of my favorite San Francisco photos (which you can view “full size” by clicking on the photo):

This photo is a classic example of the “new” and “old” in San Francisco.  I’ve no idea what the “old” building is, but the “new” is of course the iconic Transamerica Tower.

The Pier 39 shopping center, a short walk east from Fisherman’s Wharf, is our favorite hang out. Less touristy, and without the tacky souvenir stores that are found in the Wharf area.

The sea lions which have overtaken both Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf are a big tourist draw.  But they are noisy and smelly! And protected, so they cannot be shooed away.

Alcatraz is a huge attraction which often sells out of tickets and so you need to make advance reservations.  We went years ago, before it was renovated.  We’ve not been interested in going again to see the “updates.” In the foreground are historic ships at Hyde Pier which, for a fee, you can visit.

These are the streets San Francisco is famous for.  This is in the Russian Hill area, where the “World’s Crookedest Street” is.

I’ve visited the New York City Chinatown and San Francisco wins hands down. We always have one lunch here, usually a “take out” of “lechon” (roasted pig) from a butcher and some sweet rice cakes from a bakery for dessert.

This was taken in 2007, at a park in Chinatown where we had lunch.  (Our roast pig lunch and sweet rice cake dessert are in that plastic bag I’m holding.)

I’ll leave you with the Mamas and Papas….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4vVf6vqMOA

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4 responses to “California Dreamin’

  1. Planning is half the fun! But I’ve had some spectacular Fail moments in the planning department. Forgive me if I’ve already mentioned this, but there was the trip through the former Yugoslavia where we took the coast road rather than the straight road through the middle of that (godforsaken) country. The coast road was really a coast road. It wasn’t like A1A, which straightens out the coastline, so to speak. It followed every single nook and cranny. What was supposed to take a day took three.
    Then there was the trip to the Canadian Maritimes. Up through New England, into New Brunswick, across the bridge to PEI, from PEI into Nova Scotia. Went about 2/3 of the way down Nova Scotia where (according to my plan) we would take a ferry across the Bay of Fundy and be back in the southern part of New Brunswick. Except the night before catching the ferry, we found out you had to have a reservation–at least a week in advance. Uh oh. So back up NS and across the land bridge to NB (at least we got to skip PEI). This is when you learn to do the Zen thing and just enjoy the trip, lol.

  2. > Planning is half the fun!

    Yes it is. And with the Internet, avoiding many mistakes is a lot easier!

  3. http://www.mossbeachdistillery.com

    This is one of the coolest spots, about 45 minutes South of SF. One of my friends swears he saw the ghost. But even if you don’t sitting in the chilly deck chairs overlooking the Pacific wrapped in a blanket waiting for dinner time is a memorable experience, particularly with the one you love.

    Also Yosemite is my favorite place of all the National Parks I have visited. The Fresno Airport is 45 minutes down the mountain.

    • We missed Moss Bay because from SF airport, it was circuitous to get to the coastal highway. We took 92 west and picked up the coast at Half Moon Bay. Maybe this trip…

      We’ve been to Yosemite. I climbed the Vernal Falls trail all the way! There’s a spot where a sign says that only about 1/3 make it all the way to the top from that point. I almost didn’t – I was gasping for breath after each step and you have to hold a chain on the side of the cliff. (Susie didn’t make it.)

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