November 22, 2016: So we’re actually starting this post in Bend, OR, not in California, but we’ll get there soon enough.
Driven off the coast by high winds and rain, we rode out the mid-October storm in Bend. We did some work, some blogging and sampled the local beer offerings (none of which blew us away).
We were amused by the proximity of this liquor store and the DMV. It’s a short drive when the DMV drives you to drink.
Heading out of Bend, we made a stop at Lava Lands in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. We had no idea this place existed until we looked for national monuments and parks on the map. There were lava flows reminiscent of some that we saw in the past on Hawaii’s Big Island. We like the fact that the scientific community uses Hawaiian words to talk about lava, whether that lava is in Hawaii or not. [click to enlarge]
As it was more or less on our path south, we also decided to make a stop at Crater Lake National Park. Unfortunately, the same storm that drove us off the coast snowed in this park. We saw a lot of snow, but did not see the lake. [click to enlarge]
We were also looking at checking out Lassen Volcanic National Park on our way south as well, but, again, the storm had closed the high roads with snow.
Along the way south, we spent a night at a rest stop with quite a view:
As has been the case all along our path, the fall colors have been great.
We stopped in Redding, California.
There we crossed the Sundial Bridge, and thought it looked familiar.
Sure enough, the bridge was designed by Santiago Calatrava, who designed the Milwaukee Museum of Art we previously wrote about.
Redding is another city with a well-developed riverfront. We took a stroll.
Continuing south in California, we headed into wine country.
We’ve been to this area of California once before. It’s incredible, chock full of some of America’s best produce, cheese, wine and beer. Plus, obviously, scenery.
We did a little sampling, visiting Pedroncelli Vineyards in Sonoma, where the grape vines were also showing some fall color.
We also took in a few of the area’s famed (well-deservedly so) brewpubs, including one that was new to us, Third Street Aleworks, in Santa Rosa. [click to enlarge]
We told them we wanted to try one of everything they make. Above is the first flight. Maybe we should have asked first.
We decided to head further south, skipping San Francisco for the time being and seeing some of the area south of the city that we hadn’t seen before. We drove around the east side of San Francisco Bay, driving through Oakland.
Our next stop was Monterey. We took a walk along its famed Cannery Row. As you might recall from John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name, it was once home to several sardine canneries. Today, it’s largely a tourist trap. [click to enlarge]
We camped overnight in Monterey Veterans Memorial Park, in the hills overlooking the city. From the edge of the campground, we took a short but strenuously uphill hike into the surrounding forest. We weren’t expecting this kind of scenery right in town. On the way back, an unexpected view of the city and the bay. [click to enlarge]
The next morning we went back down to the water and took a walk along the harbor. It was filled with sunning birds and harbor seals.
Here’s a snippet of the harbor’s sounds on a Saturday morning, complete with barking seals:
Our harbor walk ended at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They have an amazing collection of sea life, including a huge display of jellyfish. Some of these must actually be aliens. [click to enlarge]
Or what about these – aliens or cuttlefish? [click to enlarge]
They’re actually called Flamboyant Cuttlefish.
Also sitting on Monterey’s harbor is this Old Customhouse. It was built by the Mexican Government in 1827 (California was part of Mexico from 1821 until 1848). It was the first site designated as a California Historical Landmark, in 1932.
Driving back north, the coast between Monterey and San Francisco is surprisingly undeveloped and beautifully rugged.
The coast was a really nice way into the city. There was little evidence that we were entering a giant metropolis. We stopped at Ocean Beach, on the west side of Golden Gate Park.
Walking into the park in the morning, we saw lots of Sunday morning tai chi.
This is a huge park, 20% larger by acreage than Central Park in NYC.
You know you’re in the Bay Area when the litter is made of computer parts.
We caught this hummingbird being still (mostly).
San Francisco doesn’t need any hype from us. It’s a beautiful city. [click to enlarge]
Leaving the city, we crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge.
We spent the night in a rest area just on the north side of the bridge, giving us nice views from our house.
This vista point provides a great view of San Francisco Bay, including the nearby bridge, the city, the new Bay Bridge (which is interestingly illuminated at night), and Alcatraz. As the sun went down, the views did not disappoint.
That’s it for now. Thanks for following!