Tag Archive | California Coast

4 Chicks and a Little Bitch: Oregon to San Francisco

Day 2: Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Our day began at about 6:30 – Lelani is an early riser – curses!  She got up to take the dog for a walk, and I figured that since I was awake, I probably wasn’t going to get any more sleep and might as well get up too.  I grabbed my camera and followed Lelani and Shaka to the beach, where we did a bit of early morning exploring and relaxing.  It was misty and foggy, making for a pretty view down the beach, and a lot of condensation on the lens of my camera…

We headed back to camp and got things packed up and put into the car and were ready about 10 minutes before 9.  Off we went.  Lelani mentioned that she thought we would be pulling into Santa Rosa about 5 for happy hour with a friend of hers, and I checked the GPS and then let her know that if we made no stops at all (there were a couple planned), we would be rolling in about 6…  Oops.  Never mind – we would just play it by ear and see what the day brought!

The day brought a stop at the Devil’s Punchbowl a whirlpool rock formation on the coast where ocean water rushes in and swirls wildly in a rock formation that is shaped like a bowl.  The Heceta Head lighthouse is also there, so I was able to get photos of it as well.  What a cool quick stop – one day I would like to check it out more!

We stopped next at the West Coast Game Park Safari.  I wanted to like this place and was expecting it to be a drive through game farm where the animals have large open habitats.  Not so…  The animals were in cages and looked mostly sad to be there. Some of the animals they had, big cats and chimpanzees, are far too large and are not meant to be in cages like that. I did like the farm animal area, where the domestic animals can interact with visitors (and steal the ice cream cones full of pelleted food you can buy to feed them), but the wild animals were just heartbreaking to see.  I chalk this up to a tourist fail for me – I can’t in good conscience recommend a visit.  Laura, Brenna and I left disheartened…

We got back on the road and continued the journey south.  Our next stop was at Meyers Beach North.  We got out and took Shaka for a walk on the beach, and climbed on the rocks here.  It was so incredibly windy!  It was just a quick stop to stretch our legs and check out the view before continuing into California.

We drove on, stopping next at the Trees of Mystery.  If you don’t know, this is one of those iconic stops along the California Coast. I have been there before, to check out the giant 50 foot tall Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.  However, I have yet to go in and check out what is supposed to be a fairly cool boardwalk among the Redwoods.  One day – as we were now aware of how terribly late we were actually going to be, we made this a quick stop to use the restrooms and get some cheesy photos with Paul and Babe.  Onward!

Paul Bunyan and Babe

 

Proof that I have a hard time being appropriate…

 

At this point the drive began to get hard.  We knew that we were going to miss the happy hour wine tasting in Santa Rosa, so we made the decision to just continue on to San Francisco, in order to not miss our first night’s lodgings.  Yet, the road gets long and winding on this stretch between the coast and wine country, and every moment we spent slowing down for all those twists and turns put us into San Francisco later and later.

Shenanigans

 

Lelani and me – front seating

We stopped for dinner in a tiny town with two restaurant options; a bar that looked better left to Hell’s Angels types, and a Mexican restaurant.  The Mexican restaurant had the strangest, most apathetic server I had encountered in a while…  She honestly seemed completely unconcerned that she had customers in the restaurant.  And the food, while good, was not what I had ever experienced from a Mexican restaurant.  Lelani and I split an order of arroz con pollo, which is normally chicken and rice smothered in onions, peppers, cheese and sauce.  Here, it was simply chicken, rice and some finely chopped tomato – good, but not what I know as arroz con pollo.

It took forever to get dinner and then our check.  So long in fact that this is one of the few times that I have not left much of a tip.  Our server perked up as it came time to get paid, and all of a sudden started being really attentive, but it was already too late at that point.

We got back on the road, and more long, winding road stretched out ahead of us…  So much long, winding road…  It was long dark, and we were still driving, and I felt like we were going to drive forever…

We finally got into our AirBnB in San Francisco about 11:15 that night, exhausted.  We unpacked the car as quietly as we could, since we were in the heart of a residential neighborhood.  We got our things situated in our little apartment.  It had two queen beds, a bathroom, and a mini-fridge and microwave.  Our host had stocked it with sodas and some snacks for us too.  Once we had unpacked, we pretty much just brushed our teeth and climbed in bed, glad to not be driving anymore.  That was way too many hours in the car!

California Road Trip: The Long Road Home

Sadly, any good vacation must come to an end, and we were at the end of our California Road Trip.  We loved the scenery, we loved the things we saw and experienced, and I think we managed to pack a lot into it!  The summary of what we did:

Other notable stats include:

  • seven different hotels
  • 2,492 miles driven
  • two times driving around the same blocks in San Francisco while trying to find the parking garage
  • one fight about the San Francisco traffic
  • one killer bike fell off a car in front of us on the freeway
  • ten bottles of wine made it home with us (I thought that showed a lot of restraint!)
  • 2,476,983 bugs lost their lives on our windshield, grille and mirrors
  • Six – the number of times I vomited, in two different towns
Mount Shasta From the Car Window

Mount Shasta From the Car Window

Jon and I had a fabulous time, and we managed to make the long, boring drive home from Sacramento in one long, boring, exhausting, marathon of a day.  The drive without any stops is about 11 hours – we only stopped for gas, food and bathroom breaks.  We did run into heavy traffic in all the usual places – Tacoma, Seattle and Everett (a complete stop in Everett due to a car accident) – but otherwise it was smooth sailing the whole way.  We made it in about 13 hours.  The non-stop drive made for some sore, stiff bodies the next day, but thankfully we had a day to do some laundry and get some rest before we had to go back to work!  And Oliver and Oscar were so happy to see us!

I Don't Condone This - But This Guy Did Look Like He Was Enjoying Himself!

I Don’t Condone This – But This Guy Did Look Like He Was Enjoying Himself!

If you want to go back and read from the beginning of the trip – of course you do!  I can’t wait for the next trip – for now we are saving and planning until we can make it happen!

Planning for the California Road Trip

Jon and I had some vacation scheduled for mid-March and of course, it fell to me to make a plan about where we should go.  Jon needed to take his vacation before the busy spring/summer season starts.  For those of you who have followed this blog, you know that I was also dealing with my sweet kitty Martini, who was undergoing chemo treatment for lymphoma.  I wanted to go to Virginia, but I was too anxious about flying somewhere and having something happen to Martini, so we decided on something within driving distance.  Sadly, we made the decision to euthanize Martini on March 1 – she was no longer holding her own against her lymphoma.

So, the idea of a California Road Trip was born.  I had been aching to get to San Francisco to see The Girl with a Pearl Earring, the famous painting by Johannes Vermeer.  The painting is currently on display at the DeYoung Museum until June, on loan from the Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery in the Netherlands.

Jon had been itching to visit Point Reyes again; he took a day trip there when he lived in California and really enjoyed the small town on the coast.  And what do you know?  Point Reyes National Seashore is there – an opportunity for me to get a stamp in my National Parks Passport!

We also wanted to visit the Northern California coast – we have seen most of the Oregon coast and the Southern California coast, so it seemed like it just had to be done.  There is also a National Park there – Redwood National Park.  Coast Redwoods are the world’s tallest and oldest trees.

And no trip to California would be complete without wine.  We have visited Napa, Sonoma, and the Santa Ynez Valley, and we wanted to add another wine-notch on our belt so to speak.  We had heard that the Anderson Valley is known for their Pinot Noirs, with cool night temperatures from the coastal fog that settles in the valley.  It sounded like a win!

To round out the trip, I planned visits to Monterey and Sacramento.  Monterey because I have heard nothing but good things about this little seaside community.  And Sacramento because Jon’s long-time friend lives there.  And I think Jon secretly wants to relive his memories of living there.  Or perhaps not so secretly.

So, just like that, we had a plan.  Who am I kidding?  I google-mapped distances, figured out where there were historical sites and national parks, tried to plot overnight stays in the most convenient, yet still affordable locations, and asked Jon 57,975 times for his input.  Which was answered each time with a “Yeah, I’ll look at it tonight.”  And finally I just planned what I wanted to do.  Because secretly (or not so secretly), I would rather just do what I want to do, and hey, if Jon isn’t going to provide input, then who cares!

And that is how the California Road Trip was born.  My series of posts will be coming over the next few weeks!