Golden Gate Bridge

As much as we try to avoid big cities, we could not resist the opportunity to walk the Golden Gate Bridge.  We didn’t have to go into the city proper, just cross the bridge going south and park.  The only fee was the toll to cross the bridge (only charged one way going south).

As we left Santa Rosa, it was a beautiful clear day with stellar blue skies.  But as we all know it can get pretty foggy around the cold pacific waters.  Check out the fog banks rolling over the hills as we neared the bridge.

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The fog is interesting as it moves around.  Sometimes you could not see the city at all, and I don’t think that we ever got a look at the north tower.  The south tower was in and out of the fog during our visit.  I have to confess that we did not walk all the way across the bridge, we walked to the midway point and turned back.  You can walk the entire length and catch a bus back or walk back if you want.  IT was pretty crowded with bicycles and pedestrians.  Typically the western lane is for bicycles and the eastern is for pedestrains, but the west lane was closed so we all had to share!!!  The traffic also made it pretty noisy!!!

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When the bridge was built it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.  And although it is known as the Golden Gate, it is actually painted international orange, looks kind of red upclose.  From the bridge you get a very nice view of downtown and Alcatraz.  Not to mention the numerous water crafts from Coast Guard vessels, to large tankers, sightseeing tour boats and lots of private pleasure sailing and power boats.  Check out the tanker below the bridge for a perspective in size.

 

Also kinda nice to know you can’t throw a missile off the bridge just if-ing you were wondering.

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We drove the scenic route CA1 back up the coast to Point Reyes before heading back inland to home.  All in all a really nice day.  Peace Love and justice for all.

 

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Bodega Bay, CA

Bodega Bay is best known as the place Alfred Hitchcock filmed “The Birds” back in 1962.  It is a quaint little town, that appears to be mostly vacation homes and state park camping.  The bay is bordered on the south side by a sandy peninsula which is Doran state park and campground.  We did not enter due to the fee, still trying to limit our entertainment budget.  There is so much to do and see for free!!!

Our main goal for the day was getting Nellie out for a run on the beach.  First, we had to find a public beach and then one that was dog friendly.  The route north on CA1 had several public beaches and parking areas to take in the views.  School House Beach was the dog friendly one – we mistakenly thought it might be near the school house used in the Hitchcock movie.  Nellie had a blast running.

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The beach was small rocks not sand and was difficult to walk in, but it did not hinder Nellie.   There was a cute little waterfall (may have been from a storm drain) that just seeped into the ground.  And check out the colors on the cliffs, sooo beautiful.

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Here are some of the other views from this area.

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And Goat Rock where we had our picnic for the day with a view of the natural bridge.  Kinda looks like Morro rock with the top taken off…

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The highlight of the day was Bodega Point on the western side of the bay where we enjoyed a nice view and saw our first whale!!!  Sorry no pictures of the whale, we only saw it breach twice and both were just a blow and glimpse of its back as it rolled back under.  Heard one person talking about seeing about 20 here at one time, that would have been quite a sight, maybe somewhere else along the road!!!  This is the bay.

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Last but not least we drove by the school house used in the movie “The Birds.”  None of the other buildings remain and this one is a private residence so all we could do was a drive by.  The building Potters School was established in 1872 and housed a school on the first floor and a community center upstairs.  Not sure when the school was moved, but the condemned building was auctioned in 1961 to the highest bidder, was used in the movie in 1962 and the current owners purchased in 1966.  The property was restored and the 6,000 sq ft structure has been used as a private residence by the Taylors for three generations now.

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Peace love and Justice for all.

Point Reyes National Seashore, CA

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Point Reyes is geographically separated from the rest of Marin County by Tomales Bay creating a large peninsula in the northern portion of the park.  Pt Reyes is also separated from mainland Marin County by the San Andreas Fault which lies beneath Tomales Bay and puts the park on a different tectonic plate from the mainland.  Tectonic plates move in different directions and rub against each other as they move.  This movement and where they touch each other create fault lines like the San Andreas where volcanoes and earthquakes often occur.

The lighthouse at Pt. Reyes and the scenic drive and panoramic view from Mt. Vision were both closed for repairs during our visit.  There was also a lot of marine effect fog in the area so some of the views were not as spectacular as they could have been, but the wildflowers were so impressive that the other points of interest were not missed.

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Much of the park is commercially ranched with dairy cows.  Some of the ranches date back to the mid-1800s.  Also, the northern point of the peninsula is a preserve for tule elk.  All of the elk we saw were at a pretty good distance, but not the cows.

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The headlands where the lighthouse is and its fishhook of land creates Drakes Bay.  The afternoon was very windy, but on the bay the cliffs blocked much of the wind and we were able to take a very nice and enlightening walk.   You see warnings about not walking near the edge of cliffs since many are unstable and could give way at any time and about not walking below the cliffs for the same reason, but it became real on this walk.  Near the cliffs I heard a noise like it was raining almost, and after a closer look it became apparent that small rocks were constantly falling from the cliffs making the rain like noise.  You can see how they collect at the base between tides.

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We did not see any large rocks fall, but one about the size of a softball fell and the resulting slide of sand and smaller rocks lasted at least a minute or more.  Needless to say we walked closer to the water not up against the cliffs.

We have all heard of the plastic pollution in our waters and seen pictures on the news, but this was the first time we had witnessed first hand this large amount of small plastic pieces along the high-tide line.  Very sad and startling indeed!!  Protect our ocean and fish, not the plastic kind.

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Another sight that startled me was what I thought was a dead animal washed up on the beach.  But with a closer look, I realized that it was a seal, and not just one but a bunch of seals right there in front of us.  Nellie was not with us since many national park areas do not allow dogs, and I am glad, not sure how she would have reacted to the seals or them to her!!!  We turned back at this point not wanting to disturb the seals.

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I mentioned the wind that day and we were not the only ones using Drake Bay as a shelter, looking back from Chimney Rock to where we had been walking, we noticed several shrimp boats taking refuge in the bay.

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Our last stop in the park was at the tunnel of cypress trees.  Beautiful site and some very large cypresses!!

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Oh, and if you follow us you may remember the purple/blue cone shaped wildflowers from Morro Bay, well they have really grown.  Check these out…

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Peace and Love!!!

 

 

 

Santa Rosa and more of CA1

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Landed the Bird in Santa Rosa about 1 hour north of San Francisco.  Sonoma County/Napa Valley you know wine country so what do we do, but go to the beach the long way.  Took a drive up 101 and CA128 scenic mountain crossing.  Ending up on CA1 for the coastal drive back.

CA 128 was a nice mountain drive with lots of vineyards and our first real look at the majestic redwoods.  Nellie didn’t really like the curvy road (or my driving not sure which) she got car sick for the first time in a long while.  Did not find a place to pull off and explore the redwood forest on this curvy little road but will have plenty of opportunities as we move further north!!!  But here is a what we got for pictures.

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On CA1 we found a nice little point with a walk through a field of wildflowers and a break for Nellie.  Oh, my goddess, I was in heaven with all the flowers, not to mention the beautiful view and some seals.  The flowers were closer to the cliffs, further up they turned into black berry brambles unfortunately they were not ripe yet, but we will keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks.  Very nice stop at the end of 128 just a little north (less than a mile).

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The big thing we noticed on the ride down 1 here was that it was more residentially populated than where we had previously been.  South of Big Sur (the part we drove) to Morro had more scenic pullouts and photo ops, and a lot of the views up here are blocked by fences.   Very few if any pull offs.  This mainly applies to the area down to Jenner.  But we did get some nice shots.

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We did get to check out this lovely lighthouse at Point Arena and took a short walk to check out this natural bridge.

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Oh and calla lilies growing wild on the side of the road, what a treat.

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Nice first day in Santa Rosa with brilliant blue skies – always watching over us.  Peace Love and Justice for all!!!

 

Corning CA

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Not really much to say about Corning except it is the Olive City of CA!!! Yeah for them.  The above olive stature was located at least 4 miles outside of town has no parking but i guess is pretty cool especially if you like martinis??  It was a nice enough place to stay thru the Memorial Day holiday.  There are miles and miles of Olive groves most of which looked many years old.  Check out the trunk system on these trees.

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The olive trees did not have fruit this time of year or were just beginning.  But there were these other trees everywhere (everywhere that there were not olive trees or cows) that had fruit all over them.   Was not sure, but after investigation we believe they are almond trees. What do you think???

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One day we ventured south to Black Butte national Recreation Area, really nice area nice trails this time of year but little shade so would not suggest in the heat of summer.  Some of the camp sites had really cool flat rounded off patio areas overlooking the reservoir.   Not sure that we would take the bus out there, but anything ~30 or less this is a beautiful campground.  Must mention the campground and recreation area on the west side is nicer than the east.

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Even with ~60-degree weather, Nellie only wants the shade!!!

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We went to the farmers market in Chico, CA on Memorial Day weekend.  The market was very nice and we got veggies for a couple of days.  Chico is close to Paradise which was destroyed during the Camp Fire just 6-8 months ago so we decided not to visit this area (has been a long time, but know what it is like to be the victim being gawked at).  We did drive up the Butte Creek Canyon to see the Honey Run covered bridge.

Not thinking, just not thinking.  Fires like hurricanes effect a large surrounding area,  As we worked our way up the canyon one out of every 4 or 5 houses were burned to the ground.  Sometimes not even able to tell, you just notice a driveway without a house???  The covered bridge was also a victim of the Camp Fire.  But a very eye opening drive, we will do all we can to stay clear of FIRES.  No pictures, just letting you know.

Peace love and Justice for All!!!

 

 

Lava Beds National Monument

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So, the Cascade mountain range is mostly dormant volcanoes.  This includes Lassen Volcanic NP which erupted last in 1915 and is not accessible at this time due to snow (in the middle of May).  The lava beds are a result of a half million years of eruptions from the Medicine Lake shield volcano.  The last eruption was over 20,000 years ago so this area is truly dormant unlike Lassen.

The main attraction at Lava Beds are the over 700 lava tube caves.  These caves were formed as molten lava flowed from a volcanic eruption.  As the lava on top was exposed to air and cooled the inner (below surface) flows continued to flow.  These tubes cooled slowly from the outside in and when the lava quite flowing the hot molten lava evacuated leaving tube caves.

The caves in the park are not lit you have to take a flashlight, and there were not many people while we were there.  Let me say first that after visiting Carlsbad Caverns just recently these caves are not Carlsbad.  They do not have the nice formations or LED lighting showing you the way.

We visited several of these caves, but to be truthful it was pretty creepy and very dark.  The caves were relatively small ducking and duck walking were involved in each.  There was even one Merrill Cave that they say they use to let visitors ice skate in on the ice floor with lantern light, but it was so small and deep that I wouldn’t even go that far in.  Randy said it was pretty small for skating.  Anyway, something new to learn and experience.  Here are some cave pictures.

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There was one cave called Sunshine.  The name is due to a couple of cave ins that allowed sunlight into the cave.  This is worrisome to me??

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There were a couple of areas we saw that appear to have been total cave collapses, not sure when or if this was an actual cave collapse, but it ended our caving for the day.  This plus the caves were pretty creepy.

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We also visited an actual volcanic crater.  This was pretty cool, it looked like if you fell in that it would be very difficult to climb out so we made sure not to fall.

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The area is high desert so there are not many trees etc, but I found it really interesting that these lava rock fields had not been overcome with vegetation after thousands of years.  And when I was reading about Lassen and the devastated area from the 1915 eruption, they say it is mostly returned to its original forested state only a hundred years later???  Why??? Forest vs desert… The darker areas are the lava rocks and the lighter (green??) areas are natural high desert landscape.

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One story that we learned here is of the Modoc Indians.  There was a small band of Modoc Indians in the 1870s that the US Army decided should not be here (this of course is a simplified version, if you want the whole story look it up).  The army outnumbered the Indians about 10 to 1 yet the Modoc were able to hold them off for several months.  Eventually the tribe lost and the remaining (approx.) 150 Modoc were overtaken.  After the conflict the US Army moved them to Oklahoma??  OKLAHOMA really, we civilized white people are not always so kind…  Why would you take indigenous people 2 thousand miles away for keeping except to be cruel???  And less than 200 people, Wow just Wow.

And right here in the same area is the Tule Lake segregation center where over 15,000 (of the total 120,000) Japanese AMERICANS were incarcerated during the 2nd WW.  The Japanese Americans were forcibly taken from their homes and kept in concentration camps, approximately 2/3 were American Citizens.  Informational tours are given on certain days but not the day we were there, check web site before going.

Imagine the indignity  – and they weren’t even BLACK!!!  (If you know us you know this is tongue in cheek).  Very thought-provoking quote on the signage outside of the “segregation camp” that we would like to share – THE TULE LAKE UNIT IS A REMINDER TO ALL AMERICANS THAT THE CONSTITUTION IS NO MORE THAN A PIECE OF PAPER UNLESS WE ARE WILLING TO DEFEND ITS PRINCIPLES.  Food for thought especially at this time in history.

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Peace Love and Justice for all!!!

Waterfalls

Near McArthur we found a couple of waterfalls to check out.  The upper, middle and lower McCloud river falls were within an hour and in the direction of Mt Shasta.  Mt Shasta is one of the things we wanted to see in the area, and since we now knew that it would be snow covered a good view would be nice.

Mt Shasta is a little over 14,000 ft and the second tallest mountain in the Cascade Range.  Also the 5th tallest in California so it should dominate the landscape, but as of yet we had not been able to see it due to weather.  We were hoping that getting closer would provide the view.

The waterfalls were very nice, upper was a pretty narrow gorge with worn circular whirlpool rings and a nice fall into a wider pool.

Lower was a nice cascade with a small drop into a round pool and lots of rocks for lounging on a warmer day.

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And middle was the grandest with an approximate 40 foot drop and one of the widest ledges in the state at 120 feet wide.

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At middle falls we got a really big surprise and quite a show.  There was a kayaker preparing to run the fall.  A 40 foot fall…  Not really sure what you call a person that does this, crazy, daring, foolish, brave, dumb but what ever you call him, he did it successfully and I guess we enjoyed the show.  Although I did not get the actual fall (he was too close to the bank on our side) you can see the before and after.

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There was also a nice river trail that connected the three waterfalls it was about 2 miles and would have been very nice if not on the verge of rain.  Here is another waterfall from the area.

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And we did not get to see Mt. Shasta, the weather was drizzly with low clouds.  Maybe on the way back south??  PEACE LOVE AND JUSTICE FOR ALL…..