Tag Archives: California

California and Highway 1

DSC_2432In the middle of August, Josh and I flew to California for a friend’s wedding and made a little bit of a vacation out of our trip after the wedding festivities.

The wedding was just outside of the San Francisco area, near Mount Diablo. On a free morning before the wedding, Josh and I drove up Mount Diablo and enjoyed the scenic views from the summit. It seemed like a popular mountain to bike on, and I was very impressed with all of those in-shape bicyclists. It looked like a really hard ride.

DSC_2439There were some enormous pine cones on some of the pine trees, you can see the size beside Josh’s hand.

DSC_2517After our friends were married, we spent a few days and drove down to Monterey on Highway 1. The weather was really foggy and rainy for most of the drive, unfortunately, but there was sun at the beginning and end of our trip.

We stopped at some sort of bunker, but we never figured out what it was. The views were very nice from there, though.

DSC_2513DSC_2530bwThe next time we stopped it was at a lighthouse on Pigeon Point. We didn’t see any pigeons, but we did see some seals on the rocks below the lighthouse.

And on we drove to Monterey. The sun was shining and beautiful in the bay, and the sun seekers were out in droves. We walked out onto the pier and had lunch at a seafood restaurant. Then we walked around for a little while before heading back to the car and to our hotel.

At our hotel, the parking lot was jammed full of fancy collectable cars. It was quite the car show, just trying to find a space. There was a car auction going on and the hotel stayed very busy while we were there.

DSC_2549The next day we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is a very nice aquarium. We enjoyed the different shows that they had for feedings. One that was especially fun to watch involved a whole school of sardines. They were very fast, swirling around and around until all the food was gone, then they returned to their hiding hole to avoid predators.

I hope you browse all of my pictures below. Enjoy!

San Francisco City Tour

Most of my time in the San Francisco area was spent outside of San Francisco, some of it in the glorious parks of the area. I did visit San Francisco as well, and I availed myself of the City Sightseeing bus tour. This was my first hop-on hop-off bus experience. It was enjoyable, but I didn’t find that it was very conducive to hopping on and off. Our bus, at least, did not actually stop at most of the stops. We did hop off in the shopping district and also found that it was difficult to get onboard again, since the other buses didn’t seem to stop at all the stops either.

We did get to see the city and learn about different areas briefly. Let me warn you: if you do this tour, go inside the bus before crossing the Golden Gate bridge. It is freezing outside on the top, not to mention windy.

Enjoy my photos!

 

Green Spaces of San Francisco

I was recently staying on the outskirts of San Francisco while my husband worked at the U.S. Open. I quickly found that driving around San Francisco was difficult, and parking in San Francisco almost impossible. I decided against going into the city very much and instead spent my time enjoying the beautiful parks and outdoor spaces in the San Francisco area.

California residents have created a lot of very beautiful and easy to enjoy natural spaces, and I enjoyed several of them on my visit: San Bruno Mountain, Golden Gate Park, and the Marin Headlands.

San Bruno Mountain State Park

San Bruno Mountain is a large state park with picnic facilities and hiking trails. There are various endangered species that this park protects, far off the trails to preserve their habitats. There were signs highlighting two of the butterfly species protected here. I walked a short 1.5 mile trail, and even this short trail was breathtaking and surprising. I walked through arid areas, wildflower fields, berry brambles, and finally into a full fledged forest. It was beautiful throughout the hike, and I was able to do it easily, even in flip-flops.

After my hike I drove to the top of the mountain to see the city of San Francisco, but you can also hike or bike up to the top, and many people were doing just that. The view was amazing, and I think it was the very best view of the whole area that can be had. The day I was there was a beautiful, clear day, and I could see the whole bay area, across to the other shores.

If you are traveling in the area, I would highly recommend San Bruno Mountain as a stop. It cost $6/car to enter when I visited, and it was both fun and beautiful.

Golden Gate Park

I drove through San Francisco, trying to follow the 49-Mile Scenic Drive, which was more difficult than I had anticipated. My favorite place along the drive was Golden Gate Park, which was what a huge city park should be: nature, gardens, trails, sports areas, playgrounds, and even museums. I walked through several parts of the park, and tried to drive through most of the road areas as well, just to see what it was like.

Marin Headlands

If you drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, you will arrive in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. We drove west and entered the Marin Headlands. We were astounded by how beautiful if was, so close to the city, but so removed and lonely. There were very few people around, and we enjoyed the beauty of the area and the isolation of the area.

We went on one hike, down towards the lighthouse. Unfortunately the lighthouse was not open the day we were there, but the walk was still beautiful and we were able to see the seals resting on the rocks below. We also stopped at the beach and drove through the headlands on a scenic road, finding beautiful views of San Francisco from the cliffs.