This blog was for the trip/move/adventure…but we’re going to do our best to keep it up on future travels. Thanks again for watching.
As the trip wound down, so did posting. We arrived in Huntington Beach on Friday, had dinner, and then took off the next day to visit some of Brook’s family in San Diego. Now we’re back in HB, looking for work and getting more and more excited as to the upcoming possibilities. Now the road trip is over, and the real adventure begins.
Thanks to all for following along on our galavant, we enjoyed sharing, we hope you enjoyed reading.
I’d been keen on posting on each stop and each city on here, but we’ve done a lot since we left San Fransico, and with all fun and no work makes blog a dull toy. So, I am going to recap what we’ve done since we left San Fran.
First, The One, The 1, The PCH. It’s really amazing. I don’t just mean the constant view of the ocean, or the incredible mountain vistas, or the beautiful coastline…all of that is great, but I mean the actual road. It’s quite the engineering marvel. There are many places along the way that you just have to stop and think: “What? How…did they get that up there?” I realize humans have been cutting roads into mountains and building bridges over passes and rivers for literally thousands of years…but they didn’t do it for so far.
So. First stop: Half Moon Bay State Park. The State Parks (in fact, all camping parks we’ve seen so far) are pretty on top of each other. It’s not the end of the world, but I’d like to be more than 20 feet away than my fellow campers. No such luck. Anyway. Half Moon Bay is very cool, and we scored the best spot on site, with trees and bushes from privacy and a boom bang view of the Ocean.
Next up, we continued down the coast to the Most excellent Santa Cruz. Given time and money, and the possibility of a good job, I would have stayed there. Super fun town, and of course, it’s Surf City, USA. (And don’t let Huntington tell you different.)
From Santa Cruz we went to the other side of the bay, in Monterey, which also had lots of charm and fun stuff to do, and I’m told is the a great place to dive for abalone, something I really want to do. Also for spearfishing, sailing, fishing, and who knows what else. North for surf, south for surf and turf, I guess. There was a great farmers market going on, which is where we ended up getting dinner. (Some really, really excellent calamari from a stand.)
As we drove further south, the sun was setting on the Big Sur, and it was absolutely awesome. We probably stopped about 15 times because the sunset just kept getting better and better, and finally we just stopped and stayed until it had set all the way.
We rolled into Phiffer State Park around 8. This is inland, but still a very nice river running through it, and nice forested woods around. Again, a little cramped, and our next-door campers decided to chop wood until about 11, but, overall, still very pleasant. Nice clean campground, and a great host named Sharon, who pointed us to our next destination.
Cafe Kevah. I am not exaggerating when I say this is the best restaurant in the world. I don’t mean because of the food, because while the food was good, it could be the best food you’d ever eaten in your life, and it still wouldn’t compare to the view off the deck. The night before, we had seen what we thought was a storm rolling in, but it it was a fog bank…in the morning, the fog had settled on the ocean, and it was all you could see as far as you could see. So incredible.
We’re now in Santa Barbara, staying at a cute little motel (Blue Sands, dog friendly, and very reasonable, if you’re ever in town) for a shower and a break from the camp pads. There’s talk of staying another day, because SB looks preeeettty awesome. We’ll see.
I’ve been wanting to see San Fran since I saw Sneakers in 1994. However, since I only was there a couple hours, I got mixed impressions. This will happen.
First. The bridges are as cool as they seem. The “downtown” area is awesome, and I would love to go back. It seemed packed with culture centers, and cool things to do, and we only really took a cross section (Literally, we drove an “x” through the city. With the trailer. Not advised.) of the downtown area.
Fisherman’s Wharf epitomizes my mixed feelings. It’s part 100-year-old establishments, both fancy and dive, and a Rainforest Cafe, which I wish people would just stop going to, so it would go away.
It’s a mix of MOA and a real street market, and while I had good food at Boudin’s, even though it’s an old family, been there forever, and was still generally cool, it has that lack of patina I need to really love something in a place like that. There are definitely great places down there, old, old fish stands like Sabella & La Torre, where I had some great oysters, and a slew of others. If you go, wait. Walk around. Don’t just go straight to Boudin’s. (Albeit they had amazing clam chowder in a sourdough bowl and a very good crab cake sandwich.)
Then the kicker for me…as in “the pants” was when we were leaving the city going south. In the city, the buildings are abutted to each other, very, very well kept up, and its charming, even with the lack of greenspace. (There is an amazing park downtown though.) as you leave the city…for miles and miles…all you see is this:
It’s incredible, but much of it looks like a slum, and some of it will be nice house after nice house and then a completely dilapidated one. The picture can’t give you the scale. Stitch 20 exactly like it together, and you’d be getting there. There was something off putting about it. It made me think of the slums of Shanghai. Only dirtier.
I don’t want to leave you with the impression I had a terrible impression. I did not. I would love to go back to SF and really take the time to explore the real city, not the tourist spots. Time didn’t allow for that this trip, but it will eventually. I’d even like to take a jaunt into the above picture, because I guarantee you that’s more “real” San Fran than Fisherman’s Wharf. Just like how you shouldn’t judge Minneapolis by MOA or the crap that Uptown has become, or by the Crack Stacks over on Cedar, I won’t do that to San Francisco.
There will definitely be a “next time.”
Sacramento gets a bad rap. I had heard from several people that it was dirty and sucked and didn’t even deserve a look, but upon first look, I have to disagree completely.
First of all, the way we came in from
the coast, through Mendocino County and wine country was unreal. I nearly stopped the trip in Nice, CA and went to work at a vineyard. It was beautiful.
Went to see an old friend who lives in Sacramento now, that was great, had some beer and cake, and then were just going to swing by the Capitol at night, take a picture, and then head towards San Fran, but it looked so cool, we stayed the night for a good run on the Capitol by day. I am so glad we did. It was incredible.
There is so much to see and do, incredible historical displays, collage displays for every county in the state, and of course, in my favor, a huge bear outside the Gov’s office.
We didn’t get to see as much of the city as I’d have liked to, but what I did see was clean, interesting, and definitely worth going back to. It looks like they have great museums, restaurants, and just generally fun shit to see and do.
“The Sac” is a generally unfriendly term for Sacramento, and I am sure, like every city, it has it’s bad hoods and it’s dirty bums and it’s dark alleys. But I’ll be back. That kinda thing has never stopped me before. (Chicago, I’m looking at you.)
“Eureka” means “I’ve found it!”For me, what I found was the pier where I lost the biggest fish of my life. Among other things, sure, but after you’ve battled something for three and a half hours, and the the line snaps, disappointment doesn’t quite cover it. Some of the locals were telling me it was a bat ray because of the way it was moving, and for some odd reason, I really hope that is what it was. Catching a ray, no matter how big, just doesn’t really excite me as much mentally for some reason. Had it been a shark, or some other holy terror from the deep…anyway, oh well, as they say, there are more fish in the sea.
Eureka itself is a fun little burg, surrounded by easily some of the most beautiful areas in California, The Redwoods, and the Humbolt Bay Area. It has everything you need, not to mention a college campus that brings in great acts from all over the world.
Always awesome to hang with any number of TKs, from one to all four, although it does get exponentially better as the number goes up. Many thanks to TK3 and B for the hospitality.
I’ll be back for sure.
We spent 5 days and 5 nights with the likes of these three mutts. Leo made two good beach buds. He explored three different dog beaches and LOVED the ocean water.
Many thanks to Sully, Max and their humans for the fun and hospitality.
We left Eureka, CA this morning and are still making our way to Sacramento to see the Capitol building in the morning (yeah we are still hitting all the capitols). Tomorrow is San Francisco!
Our first stop in california was a snack for me and then into the Redwood Forest.
It’s hard to imagine the size of these trees and the density of this forest. I was in awe of it’s splendor. Images on tv, print or web of this place, could not have prepared me for the beauty as we drove the 101 through this forest. The trees are massive and tall. Majestic does not even come close to their strength and beauty. I felt small in their shadows and my lifetime insignificant to what they have seen.
We arrived at, “Big Tree”. How big could a tree be, compared to the others I thought? Big. Really big, is the answer.
As we walked up to the tree it felt like a dream. The thickness of the forest blocked any sounds from the outside world. I heard a small stream lapping over rocks and funneling it’s way through the forest. I heard the sticks under my feet and birds perched not too far away. High above; the tree branches swayed and let the sunshine in and out through their bows. It was magnificent. Sheer tranquility. And then. We saw…. This huge and massive expanse. Big Tree. Just touching it makes you feel connected to something bigger, stronger and more powerful. I am aware that I sound like some cliche hippie, but it really is like that. If you go during high tourism season, you may get a different feeling. But this was just us and our dog.
Our evening ended in Eureka, CA with a few of the Tesnow siblings.
Today we have been to the dog beach, the pet store and the pier for some fishing. Hoping for fresh crab tonight!
There she is! The Pacific Ocean. It’s a bit chilly on the Pacific Northwest Coast, but none the less beautiful.
I threw off the boots and jumped in the water. Leo had his first wild run on a beach…. He of course loved it! He made friends with a bird and they played chase.
Pacific. You’re going to be my home for a bit.