After packing up and checking out of our rental house, we headed over Point Lobos. It was a very pretty area, with lots of interesting rock formations. The morning had dawned foggy, but it pushed off-shore while we were there, though you could see the fog bank in the distance.
I spent most of today walking around two different towns, Pacific Grove and Carmel.
Brian and the guys were golfing today at Pacific Grove Golf Course, and they needed to be dropped off. So I took them down, noticing on the way there that there was a nice downtown area. After dropping them off, I drove down to the waterfront, took some pictures, and then drove back downtown, had a coffee, then took a walk through the downtown area. There were several real estate offices, a couple of banks, and a few stores. It didn’t seem super touristy. I walked down to the waterfront, saw the Lover’s Point complex, and walked back to the car.
The town seemed nice, and clean, and the a fair number of the cottages appeared to be Victorian.
I then drove back to the time share to see if Tom was up and about. He was, so we decided to head up to Carmel, hoping that the Weston Gallery would be open, as I knew it had some Ansel Adams photographs. This was not a surprise, as their website said they were only open by appointment. I’d not made an appointment as I figured if someone was coming specifically in to work for us, there would be more of an expectation we would buy. But I’d hoped they’d be open anyway.
Carmel is a very pretty town. Kind of self-consciously so. It’s a more upscale town than Pacific Grove, and caters more to tourists. Tom and I did find another gallery with a couple of Adams prints, and ended up spending a couple of hours there, before we had to pick the guys up.
The rest of the group decided they wanted to see Carmel as well, so we went back up. In hindsight, I should have gone kayaking, as they ended up doing wine-tasting and not much else.
We did try to get over to Point Lobos after Carmel, but didn’t make it in time, so hopefully tomorrow, on the way to Big Sur.
We spent Tuesday going down the coast from Pacifica to Santa Cruz. We stopped briefly at Half Moon Bay for a short ramble, took a detour to Cupertino to see the Apple Headquarters, went scootering in San Jose, got to see Tom’s place, then ended up in Santa Cruz for the end of the day.
We headed out of Pacifica, and started south. We took a side stop at Half Moon Bay, where there are walking paths through some woods and fields to the ocean.
Next stop was Apple Park in Cupertino. You can’t actually go into the Ring Building, but they have a Visitor Center where you can sort of see the Ring Building — enough to get a sense of the scale of it. It’s huge. The Visitor Center also has a diorama of the campus, and they have a virtual display with iPads showing a VR view of the various buildings. The top story is a really nice outdoor viewing area.
Typical Apple, the bathrooms in the visitor center are impeccably clean, sleek, and premium feeling, and you have to look carefully to figure out how to flush the damned toilet.
From Cupertino, it was a short trip to San Jose, where Brian wanted to give scootering a try. It didn’t last long; we scootering on the margins of the streets and the park, the park was full of homeless people.
From there, we stopped at Tom’s place. It was nice to get a sense of where he lives. We then checked in, and then headed for the coast.
Santa Cruz is sort of a coastal resort. There’s a big wharf, an amusement park, and it has the vibe of a blue-ish collar vacation town. Our first stop was Lighthouse Point, where there were a ton of surfers in the crashing waves. They were flying past the rocky point; it was amazing how good they were.
After watching the surfers for awhile, we then moved up the coast to the Natural Bridge beach. It’s small cove with a natural arch formation, and on the other side, some rock formations that the guys went climbing over
Our last stop was the Santa Cruz Wharf. This is a very long wharf jutting out about half a mile south into the Pacific. It has a bunch of touristy retail and restaurants on it. As I approached the end, I could hear sea lions barking — they were on the piles supporting the wharf. It was near sunset, so I got some sunset pictures, both of the sky, and of some boats anchored nearby. As dusk deepened, the lights came on at the amusement park across the water.
This morning was another foggy morning. Actually, that’s an understatement; it was more of a heavy mist when we went down to the coffee spot by the beach.
The fog and moisture ruled out the hike Mike and Brian wanted to do, so we decided to see Fisherman’s Pier in San Francisco.
The pier reminded me very much of Chatham or Provincetown, in that there is a lot of retail aimed at the tourist. There’s a wax museum, which we didn’t have time to see, and a ton of restaurants.
The pier faces to the North into San Francisco Bay; you can look to the North to Alcatraz, or to the East to the Oakland Bay Bridge. The road bordering the Pier has a historic streetcar line running PCC cars in historic livery. On one of the wharves, sea lions haul out of the water and sun themselves. Pelican are overhead and perched on the docks, and there’s a World War II submarine, the USS Pampanito, there.
The fog burned off briefly while we were there; by the time we’d had lunch, the sky had cleared, leaving a line of low clouds on the horizon.
We didn’t have much time to explore any of the shops or museums because we had reservations to go on a Segway tour of Golden Gate Park at two. Riding the Segway was cool, although I did have a spill once when I had trouble steering it, and by the time we were done, my feet were killing me. You’re basically just standing on it, not moving your feet, and I brought the wrong pair of sneakers out with me, so they have very little resilience left.
Golden Gate park itself is very cool — lots of different kinds of botanical displays, a Ferris wheel, a band stand, and an art museum. It’s also very very large. You could easily spend days here, exploring. As it was we got an overview of the whole thing. We weren’t able to take pictures during the tour, so I had to content myself with some pictures when the other guys first tried it out, and a picture at one of our brief stops, and an overview picture when we were done.
After we were done, we headed for the Beach Chalet, a restaurant across from the beach on the western side of San Francisco. The service was great, and we had great view of sunset.
Today dawned foggy. A thick pea fog, with only a hundred feet or so of visibility. Here in Pacifica, it was foggy around 8 when we did a coffee run, but had burned off by 10 or so when we decided to head into San Francisco to get a closer look at the Golden Gate Bridge.
As we got closer to the bridge, though, the fog closed in again. By the time we got to the bridge overlook, the fog was blowing hard, and you could only see the first hundred feet or so of it.
With the bridge invisible, it didn’t make much sense to hang around, so Tom suggested we visit the Point Bonita Lighthouse.
The lighthouse is on a small craggy island, connected to another craggy cliff by a pedestrian suspension bridge. To get to it, you walk along a path, past rocky outcrops, and through a hand-hewn tunnel through a tall cliff.
Walking there in the fog, I was struck by the sounds — the crash of the surf, and the foghorns in the distance. There were cormorants on the rocks surrounding the lighthouse.
After the lighthouse, we wanted to visit Muir Woods, but as we started to get close, we realized reservations were needed for admission — and we didn’t have one. So we turned around, and visited the Sausalito Harbor. By this time the fog had burned off, and it was bright and sunny. The harbor is very pretty, and there are a ton of shops and restaurants along the waterfront.
After lunch, we wanted to see if the fog had burned off at the Golden Gate, but no luck. It was definitely less foggy than the morning, but visibility was pretty poor, so we decided to skip it.
The one thing Matt really wanted to do today was watch the Florida State football game, so we headed back to Pacifica. Matt got settled in for the game, and Tom ran some errands. Once he got back, Mike, Brian, Tom and I headed over to nearby Rockaway Beach for sunset. There was a big cliff next to the beach, and we climbed up to get a better view.
Despite the treacherous footing, the view was awesome. Once the sun set, I looked back to the east, where I could see the fog clouds once again start to flow over the mountains.