One of my favorite times to be on the Charles River is in October, ideally when the fall foliage is at its peak. This has been a strange year — very very wet, and rainstorms most of the last several … Continue reading →
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.
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.
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.
I flew out of Boston this morning with my brother Brian and his two sons Matt and Michael to meet my other brother, Tom, in San Francisco. We’ll be here in San Francisco for three days, then shift south down the coast to wind up in Monterey.
The flight to San Francisco was long but uneventful. We ended up having to check our baggage, but baggage pickup was easy; the luggage was already on the carousel by the time we got there.
Once Tom arrived, we headed into the city. First stop: lunch. Locally, it was around noon, but for our stomachs, it was 2-ish, and we’d had breakfast around five. After lunch, we decided to head for Coit Tower, a big concrete tower on top a high hill.
My god, the hills. The hills are so steep around here. It’s like a bunch of natural roller coasters. We walked up a super steep hill to the base of the Coit Tower, and then climbed the thirteen stories (243 steps) to the top. The view was worth it, though. From one side, you could see the TransAmerica Pyramid; on another the Oakland Bridge, on another the Bay, on another Alcatraz Island, and in the distance, the Golden Gate Bridge.
After Coit Tower, we walked a few blocks to see the cable cars. The tracks have a slot running between them and the moving cable is running under the street. The car sends a grip down into the slot; and the grip grabs hold of the moving cable. To stop, the operator opens the grip. You can actually hear the cable running under the street. We saw a couple of cable cards, and got to ride one for a few blocks.
Once we got off the cable car, we walked through Chinatown, where they were having a car show of antique cars. There were cars from the 40s and 50s, as well as a bunch of Lamborghinis and Ferraris.
From there, we went back to the car. We were going to see Lombard Street, “The Curviest Street in the World”, but got stuck in traffic trying to get onto it, so we decided it wasn’t worth the wait. So instead, Brian, Tom and the boys decided to hit a couple of bars, and then head down to Pacifica where the rental house is. Along the way, we wound up getting on the Golden Gate Bridge by accident. It’s impressive, and we’ll get a better look at it tomorrow. From there, we headed to the rental house, which is really nice. Five bedrooms and a hot tub, way up in the hills.
Today is the last day of Daylight Savings Time for 2022. The trouble with the tail end of DST is that sunrise is really late – 7:24 this morning, It been really sucking on workdays for the past few weeks; I normally get up at 7 on days that I work from home, and 6:30 on days that I go into the office, and I hate having to get up in the dark.
This morning though, I figured… If I get up a little after six, I can be over at Castle Island before 7 and be there before the sun comes up. I did not set an alarm; if I blew the wake time I figured no big deal, but in fact I did wake up around six, and hauled myself out of bed and onto the road.
This has been a frustrating October. I came down with COVID the day after my niece’s wedding and even though I had a three day weekend the following weekend, and we had gorgeous weather, I still felt crummy enough, even after a week, to not want to do much of anything. It wasn’t a serious case; it just felt like a bad cold, but it hung on for about ten days. So last weekend, I moped around the house looking out at the gorgeous weather, and hoped that it would still be nice the next weekend, and that I’d finally be over the COVID enough to be able to do something fun.
One of the things the fall brings is shorter days. The earlier sunsets are the most noticeable, but sunrise is getting later too. In June, sunrise was around 4:30-ish, now it’s around 6:30, and will be getting later still over the next six weeks, until Daylight Savings Time ends.
This later sunrise makes it easier to haul my sorry behind out of bed to see the sunrise. I tend to wake up early anyway — 3:30 – 4:00 is not uncommon, but usually I just roll over and try to go back to sleep.
I decided this weekend to see if I could get up early enough to be on the Charles River for sunrise. It’s something I’ve been thinking of doing for a long time. Since downstream faces East, I figured I could get some decent pictures.
With the gales we were having today, I figured it was worth a trip down to Nantasket to see the ocean. As it turned out, the wind was from the west, so, while the tide was high, the ocean was pretty flat. On the other hand, the normally protected area to the west of the Hull peninsula was pretty stirred up. The clouds were dark and dramatic, with a squall line approaching from the west.
I enjoyed my trip to the Vineyard last year with Brian and Pam, and I’ve been thinking about getting a Jeep Wrangler for a while. Since the Vineyard is one of the places where you can rent a Wrangler, it made sense to me to kill two birds with one stone and go back and rent a Jeep to see how it felt.